Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Intelligent Bacteria: Cells are Incredibly Smart

(Video frame is too large, editing its size does nothing. See link below.)

For years I just sort of assumed that cells were self-reproducing blobs of protein. Maybe you did too. Turns out they’re way smarter than that. You will be amazed at this video. Dr. Bonnie Bassler from Princeton University presents a beautiful TED talk on how bacteria communicate with each other by forming words out of simple molecules.
She also explains…
  • How bacteria strategize together on how to ‘take down’ their host
  • Elegant systems of bioluminescence
  • Symbiotic relationships between organisms
  • Cells speak multiple languages
Enjoy this remarkable presentation. And a sincere thanks to Patrik Beno for sharing it with me.
Perry Marshall

This is really incredible. Where did the proposed bacterial molecular codes come from?

Labels: ,

Regarding Angelic Direction

Jehovah's Witnesses believe in angelic direction in their ministry per Revelation 14:6, 7, and have stories to back it up. It looks like Mormons do too, only it seems to focus more on the spirit guiding them to searching individuals.[1] Obviously, angels and the holy spirit cannot be guiding searching individuals both to two radically different belief systems.[2] Instead, perhaps we could visualize two agents observing searching individuals. God and Satan. God and his son Jesus send forth their angels to guide their evangelizers, and Satan sends forth his demons to guide his evangelizers. (2 Corinthians 11:14-15) This is very sobering. Are we in a race to reach searching people before Satan's evangelizers do?
Eye art by M. C. Escher

[1] Based on an inquiry to Mormons on Yahoo! Answers: "Mormons, do you believe your missionaries have angelic direction?"

[2] Mormonism unwittingly denies Christ's ransom, as it inevitably holds, by logical deduction, that his blood is the product of Adam's transgression in Eden. Therefore, angels and the holy spirit cannot be guiding searching individuals to this anathematic religion.

Labels: ,

Is Satan Lucifer?

From True Peace and Security (1986) page 51

How can this be, since Lucifer is Latin? This linguistic paradox comes from the King James Version (KJV) and the Douay-Rheims translation (DR) of Isaiah 14:12, which reads:
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! [how] art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! (KJV)
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, who didst rise in the morning? how art thou fallen to the earth, that didst wound the nations? (DR)
Lucifer is the translation of the Hebrew word helel, "shining one." Helel refers to the "boastful position taken by Babylon's dynasty of kings of the line of Nebuchadnezzar [the Neo-Babylonian dynasty]. (Isa 14:4-21)"[1] Isaiah 14:4 confirms this, introducing this section as a "taunt" against "the king of Babylon," meaning that verse 12 in this "taunt" refers to "the king of Babylon," not Satan. Even the DR above acknowledges this in a footnote, which reads:
"O Lucifer"... O day star. All this, according to the letter, is spoken of the king of Babylon. It may also be applied, in a spiritual sense, to Lucifer the prince of devils, who was created a bright angel, but fell by pride and rebellion against God.
(It seems it would have been more logical to not use "Lucifer" as the name for the "prince of devils," but to use the more common name Satan, as the footnote identifies Lucifer as the historical king of Babylon and as a "day star," not a name.)

A number of Bible translations now though translate the Hebrew word more literally, breaking from the KJV. For instance:

New World Translation (NWT):
How you have fallen from heaven, O shining one, son of the dawn! How you have been cut down to the earth, You who vanquished nations!

New English Translation (NET):
Look how you have fallen from the sky, O shining one, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the ground, O conqueror of the nations!
The footnote for "shining one, son of the dawn" reads in part: "This whole section (vv. 4b-21) is directed to the king of Babylon, who is clearly depicted as a human ruler."

New International Version (NIV):
How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!

New American Standard Bible (NASB):
How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations!

There are a few other Bible translations that do the same in accords with progressive Bible scholarship and more-focused reading comprehension. The name Lucifer must die, and these more accurate translations have helped the cause of truth in this regard.

Likewise, any religion that stubbornly maintains the name Lucifer for Satan is not helping the cause of truth in this regard. For instance, groups that maintain fossilized doctrines like the Bible Students are guilty of this indiscretion.[2]

Additionally, it should be noted that "this error is compounded in Mormon theology, with Lucifer appearing as a character in the endowment ceremony in the Mormon temple."[3] Indeed, it should also be noted that the LDS or Mormon scriptures have "Lucifer," once in the Book of Mormon at 2 Nephi 24:12, which derives from Isaiah 14:12 KJV: "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! Art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!" (The Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible reads the same.) The last occurrence is in the Doctrine and Covenants 76:26: "And was called Perdition, for the heavens wept over him—he was Lucifer, a son of the morning." Lastly, the LDS Church version of the KJV has this footnote for Isaiah 14:12 regarding "Lucifer": "HEB morning star, son of dawn. The ruler of the wicked world (Babylon) is spoken of as Lucifer, the ruler of all wickedness." Then it has a "Topical Guide" reference to "Devil."[4] So this is not just a translation issue with the LDS, it is fossilized in their scriptures as divine revelation that Satan has a Latin name Lucifer.[5] The justification for this connection seen in the footnote fails to take into account that Isaiah 14:4-21 refers to "Babylon's dynasty of kings" 'which is clearly depicted as human rulers.' This is not referring to a spiritual Babylon, but to the literal, historical Babylon. A true latter-day revelation from God would not continue a translation mistake and breath life into centuries-old confusion. As Jesus said about God's word: "your word is truth." (John 17:17; Psalm 119:160) It does not preserve mistaken notions. This is more serious than the LDS realize, for it is a devestating problem for Mormonism. How can it not be? Instead of "Truth Restored" as they declare, this amounts to "Error Sustained." What a sad, pathetic situation this truly is, for it cannot be corrected without serious ramifications.

Satan surrounds himself in a web of lies.

Can it be said though that Isaiah 14:12 has a spiritual application to Satan? Yes. "Since Babylon was a tool of Satan, its 'king' reflected Satan's own ambitious desire."[1] The subject of Isaiah 14:12 reflected Satan's ambitious desire, but was not Satan. The subject of Isaiah 14:12 is the Neo-Babylonian dynasty. It's that simple.

[1] Insight on the Scriptures-2, "Satan" p. 868. It must be noted that even though names of spirit beings predate human language, that the essence of these names was cast into Hebrew for the benefit of the Hebrew-speaking recipients of divine revelation. Latin as a language is geographically far-removed from these recipients and therefore is irrelevant for the use of names in the Hebrew Bible.

[2] The "Bible Students" religion splintered off of the original Bible Students in 1917 (renamed Jehovah's Witnesses in 1931 and who discarded "Lucifer" mid-20th century)[*], and have maintained the belief about Lucifer being Satan, as have other splinter groups from Jehovah's Witnesses who split-off before Lucifer was discarded. Thus, this issue has become sort of a litmus test for sincere Bible scholarship. Failing in this regard by stubbornly maintaining the erroneous "Lucifer=Satan" doctrine can only result in alienation from God for maintaining a stagnant paradigm or mindset. God cannot bless stubborn stagnation.
[*] Their doctrinal journal, The Watchtower of October 15, 1949 page 313 "The Taunt-Song Against Satan The Devil" first discussed its origin, then the Questions From Readers series in the March 1, 1957 page 159 and January 15, 1965 page 63 issues laid it to rest.

[3] Mormon Think. "Joseph's Translation of the Bible: The name Lucifer."
See also: Packham, Richard. "Notes on linguistics problems in Mormonism."


[5] Ironically, the author of the Book of Mormon said there was no Latin in the original manuscripts he allegedly translated from, but "reformed Egyptian." While "Lucifer" could have been written in this alleged "reformed Egyptian," it is impossible that this later Latin translation of helel would have been known by the scribes in the Book of Mormon story.Smith, Joseph. "Times and Seasons." "Correspondence," Vol. 4, No. 13 [May 15, 1843]: 194. Refer to this scanned page for verification:

(A less-comprehensive version of this was posted on Yahoo! Answers on Tuesday, October 26, 2010, but it was deemed too abusive "per" the terms of use and deleted the same day. Who took exception to this? Was it Mormons? I don't know. I just wanted some feedback on this issue. Other more offensive questions survive there just fine.)

Related blog entry:

Labels: ,

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Laws of Physics, Scripture, and Things that are Impossible for God.

“All things are possible with God” said Jesus. (Mark 10:27; Matthew 19:26) At the same time, it is “impossible for God to lie.” (Hebrews 6:18; see also Romans 3:4) Clearly then, Jesus meant this hyperbolically. For instance, not only is it impossible for God to lie, and by extension create lies and deceptions, it is also impossible for him to create a god that is more almighty than he is. That is absurd and laughable, yet it illustrates that Jesus’ declaration has reasonable limits to its application. Considering how he used a certain phrase and his descriptions of nature will demonstrate this.

The phrase “flesh and blood” is found three times in the Christian Greek Scriptures. The first use of it is by Jesus in Matthew 16:17, where he said: “Happy you are, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal [it] to you, but my Father who is in the heavens did.” By this contrast, we learn that “flesh and blood” refers to human nature, which is not found in heaven. If his Father, God, was flesh and blood as well, that would make his contrast quite defective. This observation would refute the Mormon position that God has a physical body and spirit blood, for such a doctrine would dilute the force of Jesus’ contrast and consequently make him a very poor teacher.

The other two occurrences of this phrase are used by Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:50 and in Galatians 1:16. Both are used in the same sense, referring to human nature. Notice how this is applied in 1 Corinthians 15:50: “flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s kingdom, neither does corruption inherit incorruption.” Regarding this contrast and the meaning of the phrase “flesh and blood,” Adam Clarke’s Commentary states:

This is a Hebrew periphrasis for man, and man in his present state of infirmity and decay. Man, in his present state, cannot inherit the kingdom of God; his nature is not suited to that place; he could not, in his present weak state, endure an exceeding great and eternal weight of glory. Therefore, it is necessary that he should die, or be changed; that he should have a celestial body suited to the celestial state. The apostle is certainly not speaking of flesh and blood in a moral sense, to signify corruption of mind and heart; but in a natural sense; as such, flesh and blood cannot inherit glory, for the reasons already assigned. (italics original)

This agrees well with another description of Jesus, found in John 8:21, 23: “I am going away. … Where I am going YOU cannot come. YOU are from the realms below; I am from the realms above. YOU are from this world; I am not from this world.” Or, as the Bible in Basic English renders the last part: “You are of the earth; I am from heaven: you are of this world; I am not of this world.” Thus, Jesus here was declaring the same principle Paul later declared in 1 Corinthians 15:50, human nature is restricted to the earthly realm. Consequently, when he said “I,” he was referring to his being, his soul, not his physical body.[1] After his resurrection when he appeared with a human body, he was now being controlled by his spirit being, his physical body being a manifestation for teaching. This is seen in the account where he appeared suddenly in a room without entering through a door, which was locked. (John 20:19) During his ascension when “a cloud caught him up from their vision” (Acts 1:9), his physical body was then discarded, like he had done before entering the room.[2]

Regarding Jesus’ human body, Jesus himself explained to his disciples what would happen to it. This account is recorded at Matthew 16:21-23 and at Mark 8:31-33. Without going into detail as to what he said exactly, both versions of this event merely say that Jesus would die and then be raised three days later. Matthew’s version though quotes Peter rebuking Jesus, saying in verse 22: “Be kind to yourself, Lord; you will not have this [destiny] at all.” With that, both versions have Jesus responding with a swift, stinging counter-rebuke, “Get behind me, Satan, because you think, not God’s thoughts, but those of men.” (Mark 8:33) Now, did Jesus believe that his human, physical body would be retained after his ascension? Since Jesus said his physical body belonged to the lower earthly realm, he must have known such a thing is impossible. (See also Psalm 115:16, which Jesus must have read, that declares that human nature can only live on earth, not in the spirit realm.) This agrees with Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 15:50, and Adam Clarke’s comment that ‘human nature is not suited to that place.’ God cannot create contradictions and lies. He cannot create square circles or freezing infernos. He cannot make a physical body inhabit the spirit realm. This axiomatic observation refutes the Trinitarian Hypostatic Union and the Catholic Assumption of Mary[3] doctrines. Regarding the former, a very embarrassing and negative situation exists. Trinitarianism is like Peter rebuking Jesus, “Be kind to yourself, Lord; you will not have this destiny at all: you will retain your handsome physical body and it will not be forever mangled or executed!” Jesus’ counter-rebuke would be the same: “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, because you think, not God’s thoughts, but those of men.” (Matthew 16:23) This rebuke from Jesus to Trintarianism is unavoidable.

Thus, in review, we can clearly see that both Mormon and Trinitarian theology, along with the Catholic doctrine of the Assumption of Mary, runs counter to the Laws of Physics that Scripture agrees with. These (the Laws of Physics and Scripture) are two witnesses that rise and refute those doctrines. A third witness is Jesus, who reveals them to be stumbling blocks and thoughts of men alienated from God.—2 Corinthians 13:1.

[1] In the Bible, the soul is the person, as Adam was a soul and did not have a soul. (Genesis 2:7; 1 Corinthians 15:45) Since Jesus however was from heaven and after his resurrection existed as a spirit creature, his soul is more expanded than with ours in that his life or being was not restricted to physical human life. Simply stated, our body is our soul because this is our life.

[2] To assert that Jesus retained his physical human body would be to contradict his earlier teaching in John 8:21, 23. It would also introduce an absurdity and an abstraction, like a two-dimensional being ascending to three-dimensional space and retaining his two-dimensional body. It is absurd and impossible.

[3] This doctrine teaches that after Mary “completed the course of her earthly life, [she] was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.” (Apostolic Constitution of Pope Pius XII Defining the Dogma of the Assumption, Munificentissimus Deus. November 1, 1950. Paragraph 44. Again, this is analogous to a two-dimensional being ascending to three-dimensional space and retaining his two-dimensional body. It is absurd and impossible.

See also:

Labels: , , ,