God purposefully made the moon.

God purposefully made the moon.

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Genesis1.16-PPT-ruleGod made the moon to rule the nighttime, just as is clearly reported in Genesis. (See Genesis 1:14-18; Psalm 104:19 & 136:9; Ezekiel 32:7.)  But how and why did God make the moon, such as how does it “rule” the nighttime?  By His own command By His own command, on Day #4, God made the moon to give light, especially light to help us (and to help animals) to see, during nighttime on Earth.  Moon-rules-Earth.PPT-gravitational-tides

Also, the moon “rules” many activities on Earth due to the moon’s gravitational pull (in combination with the sun’s similar gravitational pull) on the earth and on its inhabitants, such as animals and people, and even on the waters of the oceans — producing the repeating and rhythmic movements of the oceans that we call “tides”. Moon-ocean-tides.PPT-governor-rulesThis action of “ruling” can be compared to a speed-limiting “governor” installed on a truck’s engine; the truck engine’s “governor” is not a person but it forcefully and controls the behavior of the engine in a way that limits the speed of the truck, to accomplish the intentions of the clever inventor who designed the truck engine’s “governor”.  Governor-rules.PPT-CanadaDry-truck

In a similar (yet much superior) way, God cleverly invented the moon’s gravitational traits, with the intention that the moon’s gravity limits various activities on Earth, via the moon’s complicated movements and their related gravitational attractions on the earth (in relation to interrelated and complicated motions of the sun and earth), from different directions at different times — resulting in an ongoing choreography of gravitational attractions between those heavenly bodies. The moon’s periodic movements, as the moon moves around the earth, in a regular cycle (called lunar phases), also affect how all plants grow and how all animals behave. ChristmasIsland-RedCrabs.PPT-moon-tidesExamples of animal behavior being affected by moonlight (or its absence) include the timing of Pacific salmon going downstream to the ocean, the timing of Christmas Island red crabs going to the ocean to dump baby crabs into the water, and the tidewater movements that bring floating food particles unto filter-feeding oysters.  [For more about how the moon “rules”, see my article “The Moon Rules”, ACTS & FACTS,  44(9):21 (September 2015), posted at http://www.icr.org/article/moon-rules  .]oysters-filterfeeders.PPT-need-moon-tidesThanks, God, for making the moon!


 

WHEN GALILEO WAS PUT ON TRIAL, WHO WAS RIGHT?

When Galileo was Put on Trial, Who was Right?

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

solar-system-heliocentric

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. (Psalm 19:1)

Galileo Galilei, in AD1633, faced hostile Inquisitors who threateningly opposed his astronomical discoveries.  Galileo taught that Earth moves around the sun, while the sun stays “stationary”, but his opponents taught vice versa, and put Galileo on trial for “heresy”.(1) This historic confrontation is often labeled as a “religion-versus-science” trial, because it involved a disagreement about what Psalm 93:1 teaches — and it came close to getting him killed!  (Yet, as shown below, the odd conflict was a display of both sloppy religion and sloppy science.)

The Lord reigneth, He is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith He hath girded Himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.

The latter part of Psalm 93:1 allegedly clashed with Galileo’s analysis of our solar system. Why? Galileo’s telescopic measurements of movements in the heavens (i.e., sun, moon, planets, etc.) “proved” that it was Earth that “moved” (i.e., regularly cycled) around the stationary sun, not vice versa! However, Roman Catholic interpretations of Scripture, during AD1633 (in Italy, where Galileo lived), disagreed with Galileo’s astronomic analysis.(1)

Actually both sides were part wrong, because both sides relied on errors:

(a) both the sun and Earth are moving, in very predictable orbits, yet when described contextually, both are moving in relation to one another (and to the Milky Way galaxy, as well!)—plus all motion must be described with respect to a frame-of-reference (i.e., relative motion), anyway, so it is most practical for observers to use their own positons as the standard locational indices;(1),(2) and

(b) the Hebrew phrase translated “it cannot be moved”, in Psalm 93:1, means that Earth cannot be yanked away from its divinely prescribed (“established”) program of movements—as opposed to describing a state of absolute motionlessness.(2)

The lesson? When “religion” clashes with “science”, expect to see examples of sloppy religion (inaccurate Bible interpretations), or sloppy science (inaccurate scientific observations and/or analysis), or both.(3)

But this is not new. During the heyday (AD1700s-AD1800s) of the so-called “Enlightenment”, there flourished a fad called deism. Deism was—and still is—an “free-thinking”-dominated theism that exalts human reason (ignoring how fallen reason really is) while keeping the Bible closed whenever “science” is discussed.

Prioritizing popularity with secular culture, deists strive to retain some (sometimes many) aspects of Biblical Christianity—but the ecumenical deists’ fondness for unbiblical compromise unbalances and over-tips their epistemological boat, eventually sinking their ship under an ocean of self-contradictions.

Accordingly, deism was (and is today) artificially “cherry-picking” fashionable Bible teachings, while ignoring and discarding other (undesirable or inconvenient) Biblical teachings.(1)  How so?

Modern-day deists (e.g., so-called “Intelligent Design Movement” proponents) often react to apparent “religion-versus-science” conflicts by siding with “science” over whatever the Bible teaches.  (For example, IDM deists routinely refuse to affirm the Biblical details of Genesis Flood history, IDM deists routinely imagine an evolutionary  “Big Bang”  cosmogony that includes imagined billions of years, and most IDM deists favor the Darwinian genes-in-magic animism called “natural selection”, etc.).

Consequently, in their reckless haste, to favor humanistic “science” over the authoritatively accurate and relevant Scriptures, deists (including IDM deists of today) illegitimately employ straw-man caricatures of Biblical truth, erring — like Sadducees — because they ignorantly under-value both the holy Scriptures and the power of God (Matthew 22:29).

Dembski justifies his Scriptura sub scientia approach (i.e. Scripture [ranked] under science) by raising the tired old canard about geocentrism. …

        Dembski: Yet, during that time [of Galileo’s trial, for teaching heretical science], church teaching also held that the earth was stationary.

Unfortunately, this [ecclesiastical error] is because they kowtowed to the prevailing Aristotelian science of the day, which included the Ptolemaic cosmology. …

        Dembski: Psalm 93 [verse 1] states that the earth is established forever and cannot be moved. … A literal interpretation of Psalm 93 seems to require geocentrism.(4)

 Pity Galileo. If only he had today’s Newtonian astrophysics (and geokinetics), a good Bible concordance, and a Bible in his own language!  Galileo could have seen that the  Bible’s descriptions of God’s choreographed heavens are corroborated—not opposed—by true science.

References

(1) Russell Grigg, “The Galileo ‘Twist’”, CREATION EX NIHILO, 19(4):30-32 (September 1997); Jonathan Sarfati, “ID Theorist Blunders on Bible:  Reply to Dr William Dembski”, posted February 7, 2005 at http://creation.com/id-theorist-blunders-on-bible-response-to-dembski (accessed March 2, 2017); Jonathan Sarfati, “The Sun:  Our Special Star”, CREATION EX NIHILO, 22(1):27-31 (December 1999); Robert Carter & Jonathan Sarfati, “Why the Universe Does Not Revolve Around the Earth (Refuting Absolute Geocentrism)”, posted February 12, 2015 at http://creation.com/refuting-absolute-geocentrism/  .  Galileo’s writings were controversial and public—he wrote in Italian, not scholarly Latin. Galileo was stigmatized by his own church (i.e., the Roman Catholic church) as a “heretic”, sentenced to prison/house arrest, and his publications were censored—a very lenient punishment by Roman Catholic Inquisition standards!  Ironically, Lutherans (e.g., the astronomer-genius Johannes Kepler) — whom Galileo opposed — were not theologically opposed to Galileo’s astronomical theories.

(2) The Hebrew verb môṭ appears often in contexts that portray a pulling-away motion (e.g., Proverbs 24:11; Psalm 82:5 [“foundations of the earth are out of course”]; Isaiah 54:10); also, the related noun môṭâh is routinely translated as “yoke” (e.g., Leviticus 26:13 [“the bands of your yoke”]; Jeremiah 27:2 [“bonds and yokes”]). See George V. Wigram, The Englishman’s Hebrew Concordance to the Old Testament. Peabody, MA: Hendricksen Publishers (2001 reprint of 1874 3rd edition), page 670.  Regarding interrelated positons and predictable motions of the sun and earth, see also Psalm 19:1-6 (19:2-7 BH); Psalm 104:2-5; Ecclesiastes 1:5; & Isaiah 40:22.

(3) For another example of how sloppy theology and sloppy science can easily lead to a misunderstanding of both Scripture and nature, see James J. S. Johnson, “A Hart for God”, ACTS & FACTS, 43(7):17 (July 2014), posted at http://www.icr.org/article/8184 .

(4) Quoting Jonathan Sarfati (see note #1 above).


Solar System (fair use) image credit:  ScienceABC.com

GENESIS 1:16 & 8:22 — Yes, the World Is Looney-Tuned

Genesis 1:16 & 8:22 — Yes, the World is Looney-Tuned

or “Looney Tunes and Looney Rhythms

moon-phases-nasa-diagram

by James J. S. Johnson

Reading about Jewish feasts reminds me how Genesis reports on looney tunes and looney rhythms. As shown below, even the motions of plants and animals are “tuned in” to lunar rhythms, confirming Genesis 1:16 & 8:22.

These lunar influences are not optional:  the moon really “rules” the night. Likewise, the interplay of sun and moon regulate yearly seasons.

Consider ripe barley and ready-to-harvest wheat.  Think also of reproducing red crabs crawling to the beach, barnacles glued to tidewater-splashed pier posts, or sneaky salmon smolts swimming downstream to sea, or confused adult salmon in artificially lit Norwegian Sea netpens.  How do the rhythms of day and night – or of cyclical lunar phases – affect these various creatures? Are all of these animals being ruled by extraterrestrials?

Yes, each is forcefully regulated by lunar gravity, diurnal moonlight, and the “monthly” lunar cycle.  (Of course, they are also “ruled” by sun, too, as noted below.)  In other words, each of God’s creatures, described below, is “tuned in” to the moon’s regulation of night life.  But to understand how this is true, the ecological concept of “phenology” must first be appreciated.

Phenology” is an ecological term that covers how plant and animal activities are synchronized to physical environment rhythms (such as periods of sunlight, lunar phases, and yearly seasons), especially the timing of biological developments and motions that are fine-tuned to photoperiodicity and tidal cycles – such as bird migrations, mammal hibernations, plant flowering, shedding leaves, etc.(1)

moon-phases-mosaic

When it comes to life on Earth, who “rules”, biophysically speaking?  Before we look to Genesis for answers, regarding the impact of sunlight and moonlight, consider this ecologist’s empirical perspective on the regulation of life on earth:

No physical factor is of greater interest to the ecologist than light.  It is, first, a source of energy; second, a limiting factor (since too little or too much kills); and third, an extremely important regulator of daily and seasonal activities for a great many organisms, both plant and animal.  … One of the most dependable environmental cues by which organisms time their [developmental and periodic] activities in temperate zones is the day-length period, or photoperiod.  …  Photoperiod [can regulate] a physiological sequence that brings about molting, fat deposition, migration, and breeding in temperate-zone birds.  … However, one can produce out-of-season fat deposition, migratory restlessness, and an increase in size of reproductive organs in midwinter in the laboratory by an artificial increase in the light period.(2)

So truly the moon and the sun, together, “rule” all life living in Earth’s diverse ecosystems, by complex patterns of differing light intensities, wavelengths, and durations.

And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. (Genesis 1:16)

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. (Genesis 8:22)

moonsun-gravity-tides-cycle-diagram

But there is more, because the moon (in dynamic equilibrium with the sun) also uses its gravitational force, pulling on Earth and its inhabitants, ruling the tides.(3)

Tidewater-dependent creatures – like red crabs(4) and tidewater-washed barnacles(4) – depend on the moon’s gravitational pulling, as well as how the moon varies its moonlight, diurnally and in lunar phases, and in the annual seasons (that vary the daylight/moonlight ratio from equinox to equinox).

Such phenological rhythms illustrate the recognizable reliability of Genesis 1:16 and Genesis 8:22 in action, as the moon regulates life on earth, by ruling the ocean tidewaters. But it’s not just the tides that are “looney-tuned”.

For example, Pacific salmon smolts routinely time their downstream migration (to the ocean) for a night with little or no moonlight, so they are inconspicuous to piscivorous predators hunting for midnight snacks.(5)  Artificial lighting, however, can confuse phenological development of adult salmons, retarding their sexual development – because their photoperiodicity-sensitive receptors interpret the artificial lighting as the “midnight sun” of summer.(6)

In fact, even the timing of the Jewish feasts (of Leviticus 23) depends upon the “monthly” lunar cycle, because those holy feasts link to sowing-and-reaping harvest cycles (of barley and wheat), which in turn depend upon the moon’s gravitational regulation of crops on earth:

The four stages of the moon are important to raising crops:  new moon, second quarter, full moon, and fourth quarter.

When I studied forestry in college, I learned that the new moon gravitationally pulls water up through the soil and causes seeds to swell and burst.  This makes it the best time to plant grain crops and other plants that are grown for above-ground produce.  The increasing moonlight also causes a good balance between the root development and leaf growth.

The second quarter produces less gravitational pull, but provides vibrant moonlight.  This is very beneficial to leaf growth.

On the other hand, after the full moon, the moonlight is waning, but the gravitational pull is strong again.  This combination makes it best for planting root crops.

The fourth quarter provides less gravitational pull and moonlight.  This is more of a resting period, which makes it an opportune time for cultivating and harvesting. …

The harvesting times in Israel occur primarily during the fourth quarter of the moon.  Since the feasts of God in Leviticus synchronize with the harvests, they also synchronize with the stages of the moon.(7)

There are many more examples – but these few illustrate how the moon “rules”.

Since only animals and humans are living, how should we understand the motions, gravitational force, and physical effects of the inanimate moon, which “rules” the earth by night, as a result of its photoperiodicity and its gravitational attractions?  Without personifying the moon (as animists do), how does the moon forcefully “rule” objects on Earth?

The moon’s mechanical “rule” can be compared to a mechanical device, installed on some trucks, called a “governor” (a/k/a “speed limiter”), which mechanically limits the truck engine’s top speed capacity, by imposing a mechanically forced “speed limit” on vehicles, preventing truck-drivers from recklessly driving at speeds beyond the governor’s set “ceiling”.(8)

This comparison illustrates how to give credit where it is due (Romans 1:19-25 & 13:7). Just as the truck’s inanimate “governor” shows a human inventor’s engineering genius, the inanimate moon’s “rule” over Earth shows the  engineering genius of God, the moon’s maker.

Accordingly, we should use exacting care to appreciate and praise God for what we learn about His creation, including how He has arranged interacting systems of living and nonliving things — providentially interfacing cosmic engineering with phenological bioengineering, to produce a living world “ruled” at day by the sun and at night by the moon.

So God was not being “poetical” when He reported to us, via his prophet Moses (in Genesis 1:16-18, as supplemented by Genesis 8:22), that the moon “rules” the night, by regularly exerting physical force (by gravitation) and by reflecting electromagnetic light energy (in diurnal and seasonal rhythms).  The predictable results physically limit, control, regulate, and otherwise – directly and indirectly — the behavior and activities of things on Earth, including living things like ourselves.

As Genesis indicates, the world is looney-tuned, ruled by looney rhythms.

References

1.Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary (Springfield, MA: Merriam, 1981), page 853. See also Norah Ruden, Dictionary of Modern Biology (Barron’s Educational Service, Inc., 1997), page 283 (“study of periodicity in organisms, particularly in relation to the local climate and environment … such as flowering, migration, and metamorphosis”).

2.Quoting Eugene P. Odum, Ecology: The Link Between the Natural and the Social Sciences, 2nd edition (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1975), pages 113-114.

3.Regarding the moon’s forceful regulation of oceanic tides, see William H. Amos & Stephen H. Amos, Atlantic and Gulf Coasts (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1989), pages 27-28 (“The part of the earth that is closest to the moon at any given moment will feel the moon’s gravitational pull most strongly … this pull is experienced as high tide”).

4.Regarding red crab phenology, see James J. S. Johnson, “A Christmas Carol in Four-Part Harmony”, Acts & Facts, 40(12):8-10 (December 2011). Regarding filter-feeding barnacles, dependent upon moon-ruled tidewaters for planktonic food, see Amos & Amos, Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, pages 454-455.

5.See Reginald J. F. Smith, The Control of Fish Migration (NY: Springer-Verlag/Springer Science & Business Media, 2012 Zoophysiology series reprint, saying “The 29.5-day cycle of moonlight does have a timing function in some fish behaviour”).

6.See Connie Stultz & Carol B. Eckmann’s “Salmon Thrive on Electric Lighting”, The Research Council of Norway (updated August 2007, posted at http://www.forskningsradet.no/en/Newsarticle/Salmon+thrive+on+electric+lighting/1236685398877 ), as translated by Anne Ditlefsen.

7.Michael Norten, Unlocking the Secrets of the Feasts: The Prophecies in the Feasts of Leviticus (Thomas Nelson 2015 reprint edition), pages 38-39.

8.Truck engine “governors” were empirically tested by this writer, years ago, while employed by Canada Dry Potomac Corporation.