(An excerpt from the book, EnDvironment)
Dante nudged the thermometer downward to restore the line of sight between them, his dark eyes hard and fixed.
“John had a hunch about weight transfer. Moving a lot of weight around might affect earthquakes. So he studied all kinds of technology––mining, oil production, construction––and the massive amounts of weight each industry moves. Maybe moving lots of weight from here to there could reach a certain ‘degree’ of balance.” Dante borrowed the thermometer from Jonathan’s hand, tapping his finger at the end of its red line. “Like this thirty-two degree mark that no one used to know about. Could there be a ‘degree’ to balance…a natural line of departure? One that could change the entire Earth?”
Jonathan felt a smirk tug his face. “Really? Like what, the mother-of-all earthquakes?”
Dante nodded and placed the thermometer on the table between them.
Jonathan shook his head and flung his arms to his sides. “But Dante, the earth is huge!” He lowered his arms and clenched the edge of the table. Crazy stuff. “Sure. We have new high-tech gadgets––but nothing we can do would change the whole Earth!” He grabbed up the thermometer turning it over and over shaking his head. “Too bad Grandpa isn’t around now. He could have seen that NASA photo of Earth. It’s big.” He tapped the thermometer against his palm and looked at Dante. “Big!”
Dante sighed. “Yes, Jonathan, you said the Earth is big.” Dante’s hand moved up to his shirt, his searching fingers exploring through its right pocket. “In a way you’re big. Probably 220 pounds. Your bottle of beer there holds 12 ounces of liquid.” His fingers switched to the other pocket and pulled out a tiny vial of fluid. “And this vial is a lot bigger than just one drop of what’s inside it.”
Dante handed him the vial, about the size of Andrea’s tiny finger. The fluid looked clear, maybe a bit amber in color. “So, what’s this?”
“Liquid arsenic.” Dante nudged Jonathan’s beer bottle closer. “Put just one tiny drop in your beer. Swish it a little to dilute the arsenic. Then take just one tiny sip. Swallow it. Let your little sip of diluted arsenic wander around inside your 200 pound body. Let’s just see what happens.” A dagger gleamed through his voice, cutting narrow slits through his eyelids.
Jonathan set the vial down in the middle of the table. “Dante, you’re either nuts, or it’s some kind of trick!” No way would he do what Dante said. More crazy stuff. “Hey, wait a minute, Dante. It’s not really arsenic, is it?” More illusions. “So, what is it, really?”
“It’s arsenic. To control the mice around here, I put out rabbit pellets and sprinkle some of that on them. The mice eat the rabbit food.” Dante picked up the vial and rolled it between his fingers, gazing through the vial. “Fewer mice.”
“I don’t believe you. Put some in your own beer. Let’s see you do that!”
“All right.” Dante opened the vial, nursed a single drop from its rim and watched it drip into his own beer bottle. He closed the vial, swished the concoction and raised the bottle. “Cheers, Jonathan.” He took a long drink and with a small burp, set his bottle back on the table. Holding his arms out to his sides, he gave a slight shrug as if nothing had happened.
“If that’s real arsenic, you wouldn’t have done that.” Another trick. Another lie.
“Well,” Dante burped again, followed by a half smile, “it is real arsenic, Jonathan. But I know the difference between a little poison and a lot of poison. Since you refused my little challenge I’d say you don’t really know what’s ‘big.’ Or what’s ‘small.’ You don’t know which actions have a consequence and which ones don’t.” Dante shook his head. “You’re confusing size with severity. Those are two very different things.”
Jonathan’s hand pressed across his lips to release the right words. “Look, Dante. There’s smart and dumb, too. I did the smart thing by not doing it. If it’s really arsenic, and it didn’t kill me, it could make me sick, or—”
“Sick?” Dante interupted. “Oh, that’s right. Sickness. That disruption to our health caused by some tiny virus or bacteria in these big huge bodies.” Dante pointed to himself and then to Jonathan. “Sick, from all those teeny tiny microscopic aliens we didn’t know we shared Earth with, until just a hundred years ago. Tiny things, huh? Too small to see with the naked eye but strong enough to kill you. And me. And a million others. That kind of sick?”
Dante slowed. “Think about it, Jonathan. It is possible for something very small to affect something very big. How about a mosquito? Just this big.” He pinched a bit of air between thumb and forefinger. “One little bite and big guys like you or me get malaria and die. How can that be? Mosquitoes aren’t poisonous. No venom. Mosquitoes are small compared to us but they’re huge compared to those tiny parasites they deliver. Those microscopic single-cell parasites that make a home in your liver for starters.” He leaned back. “Size doesn’t always relate to severity.”
Jonathan could feel his jaw tighten. Size, severity. Okay, but this was still––
Dante started to rub his hands together as if washing them. “How about plain old germs? In the 1930’s, surgeons argued about whether or not they should wash their hands between surgeries. These were smart people. College educated. Well trained. But ignorant of truth yet to be learned. There was this one surgeon, who did wash his hands, he noticed how well his patients did as a result. So he tells other surgeons. Did it change their minds? Nope. The other surgeons, intelligent, who passed tough medical exams of their day, they said washing hands is a big waste of time. They even smoked during surgery.” Dante took a puff on a make-believe cigarette. “Here nurse, hold my cigarette and pass me that scalpel.”
Jonathan chuckled. “Yeah, seems pretty dumb these days.”
Dante nodded. “Later on, with enough facts, surgeons stopped arguing about whether or not to wash hands.” He leaned forward. “Did they get smarter? No. They finally learned that size doesn’t always relate to severity. They learned that tiny unseen life forms can damage the health of a big, huge patient.” He leaned back again and rested one hand over the other on the table. “Doctors had practiced healing for thousands of years completely ignorant of one of the most important ways to help their patients heal––until just 50 years ago. Today it’s in the books. Everyone agrees. So now do they know it all? Or do you think there’s more they could learn?”
Jonathan shrugged. “I was married to a nurse and heard medical people say there’s more to learn. Always more to learn, I guess.” Strange. Linda always seemed to know it all. “Dante, I’m not going swallow arsenic.”
Dante’s eyes roamed across his, looking for something. “Do a majority of people have to agree for a thing to be true? Or is a thing true, regardless of how many people agree about it?”
Jonathan took his time to answer. Don’t get sucker punched. “Well, if something’s true, it’s true. What people think about it … doesn’t really matter.”
“Hmm,” Dante gave a slight nod, picked up the vial and rolled it between his fingers. “Scientists have studied this natural poison. Arsenic. Odorless. Tasteless. There’s a tiny dose that won’t hurt most people. But combine enough tiny drops and it reaches a degree where it’s lethal. So you see, Jonathan, something small can affect something big.”
Dante again offered the vial to him. “Go ahead.”
Jonathan leaned backward, away from the poison in Dante’s hand. “Okay, Dante, okay. You made your point.”
Dante hesitated. “Something else to think about, Jonathan. You went out to your car, earlier. Well, you don’t really know…whether or not I already put a drop in your beer, do you?”
A hammer-like thud echoed in Jonathan’s head. The room spun. Dante was a lunatic. Why had he stayed? Get out now. He sprang from his chair but sudden dizziness weakened him, forcing him to grab the back of his chair to steady himself, stealing deep breaths through thumping heart beats in his chest. Was this just fear? Or was it the arsenic? Would he see his kids again? The room stopped spinning. It was easier to breathe. Dizziness passed.
Dante started to chuckle and was soon laughing out loud. “Son, sit down.” Laughter sprouted between his words. “Please, sit … I’d never poison John’s grandson … I wouldn’t … poison you …” His fingertips fluttered downward, motioning for Jonathan to sit.
# # #
I was about 8 years old. We went to church every Sunday morning, but I also had to go to Sunday school after church. Yuck. Spending five days a week at public school should be enough prison time for any kid. And those nuns, dressed like giant black and white penguins who told us about God, church and sin, were kind of mean, too. “You better do what God wants…or else you’ll go to hell…to HELL!” She struck the top of her desk with the yardstick gripped in her bony hand. Its loud deathly crack echoed through our classroom, out the doorway and down the hall stairs.
With each Sunday school session, we learned about all the bad things we had done––lies, disrespecting parents, other stuff. All sins. Some sins were really bad and sent you straight to hell. But others would just send you to the principal’s office or something, unless they added up to a certain number. Confusing. But all kids were definitely sinners and with every Sunday it looked worse and worse for me. I looked around the classroom. Tears, quivering lips, seat squirming. At least I wasn’t alone. The sooner we became grown-ups, the sooner we wouldn’t sin anymore!
One Sunday, it happened. The safety valve plan! We were told to get ready to confess our sins. Here’s the drill: march here, stand there, go into that dark closet, kneel and wait for a little door to slide open in front of you. On the other side of the screened partition will be a man who will listen to everything bad you’ve ever done since you were born. That man tells God. If you’re honest and tell the man everything, everything, you won’t go to hell. So, you better be honest or ELSE! Crack went the yardstick!
We rehearsed for weeks, with one of the nuns pretending to be the man. We learned our lines, reciting this and that, but we were not supposed to say our actual sins. That list was reserved for the actual man to hear, otherwise, God could get confused…or something like that. I don’t know.
Finally, we were ready. I couldn’t wait to tell the man all my bad things, then he could tell God and I wouldn’t go to—you know where. I could hear yardstick cracking in my head as my turn came to come clean. I stumbled my way into the closet and the guard nun closed the door behind me. I knelt down in the dark and waited, still rehearsing my opening speech in my head. This was it. No secrets. Don’t mess up. Spill it all. Every little bit. I could hear a deep mumbling from behind the little sliding door, then nothing. Mumble, mumble, nothing. Whoosh, the little door slid open and its loud clunk shook the partition between me and the man. My fingers trembled. I searched for another breath.
“Well?” the deep scary voice behind the laced curtain asked.
Men have such deeper voices than women. Wonder why God gives men different voices than women and ––
“Well?” the man asked again, louder. Was he getting mad?
“Uh, uh, bless me father, this, this, this is––“
“Speak up, speak up.”
“Uh…my first confession…and uh…uh…” I was shaking. Get to the sins! Tell him the sins, the sins! Or else YOU’LL GO TO HELL!
The man’s voice softened a bit. “Just tell me what you want God to forgive, my son.”
“Uh, uh, I dis-dis-respected my mom and dad six times…and uh, uh, I lied over a million times, and––”
The man’s chuckle turned to laughter from behind the lace curtain. “Son, I’m sure it wasn’t that many times…”
Oh, no, no, NO! He wasn’t going to tell God what I said!!! No-o-o-o-o…..now I have to go to HELL!!!
The man then told me to say certain prayers we’d learned in Sunday school. Repeat one of those prayers three times, repeat the other prayer five times. Or was it the other way around? At this point what difference would it make? With another chuckle the man slammed the little door shut. My heart sank as my fingers gripped the edge of the little counter propping me up. God would never know how many times I had lied…God would never know that I tried to be honest…God would send me to hell, and I’d––
The closet door flew open, flooding light into my squinting tearful eyes. “You’re done, get out.” The silhouette of a giant penguin motioned for me to stand up and leave. “Time to say your penance (penalty prayers),” she ordered as she pointed to one of the nearby pews. Blurry-eyed, I struggled to my feet, felt my way across the aisle to a cold wooden pew, and knelt to say those prayers assigned to me. This might be the last time I’ll be able to pray. Better pray them really loud. If God could hear them, maybe he’d cut me some slack and I wouldn’t have to be in hell for very long.
“OUR FATHER, WHO–”
“SHHH!” From the pew in front of me, another penguin turned around, putting a finger to her lips. “Say your prayers to God, son, not to all of us.”
“But I don’t want to GO TO H––“
“SHHH!” Her look told me that she could send me there any moment.
Okay, okay but, wait. Did I hear that right? She said, say my prayers to God. Say my prayers to God? I looked over my shoulder toward the closet box that still had the man inside. A long line of girls stood on that side, a long line of boys stood squirming on the other side, all waiting their turn with the man in the closet box. I studied the black-tented hulk of the shushing nun in front of me and wondered––if God can hear my prayers, he must be able to hear other things, too. Why depend on the middleman, some guy in a dark closet who laughs at me? Plenty of classmates laugh at me already.
My fingers intertwined with super-duper strength and I prayed as hard as the permitted silence allowed. God, I want to know more about you. Please forgive me. I lied a million times and don’t want to go to hell. If you let me live and be a grownup, I promise not to lie anymore, or steal, or do any bad sin stuff.
No answer. Or was there?
Life went on. I did grow up. I studied the Bible and learned that I had developed into quite an experienced sinner as an adult. Sin isn’t complicated with layers of torts, misdemeanors and felonies. Here’s a verse that helped me understand: 1 John 3:4,5 (Living Bible) But those who keep on sinning are against God, for every sin is done against the will of God. And you know that he(Jesus)became a man so that he could take away our sins, and that there is no sin in him, no missing of God’s will at any time in any way.
Sin is the missing of God’s will. Simple. I’m thankful the Bible includes these verses, too (English Standard Version):
1 Timothy 2:5,6 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all…
1 John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
I learned to be very thankful, indeed. Let’s all be thankful that God gives every one of us so much loving forgiveness. Forgiveness that includes second and third chances…or in my case, millions.
# # #
Did you choose to be born? No, you had nothing to do with it. Your mom chose to give birth to you. She may have been married or not, young or old, rich or poor, healthy or sick. Regardless of any details, your life here on Earth started as the result of choices that your mom and others made.
But the older you get, you make more and more of your own choices to affect your life. At first, you choose milk or more milk. Later, you choose to pet the cat or yank its tail. You start school and choose to study or to watch more tv. Before long, you choose to step on the gas or on the brake. You choose who to ask for a date. You choose to marry, stay single, have kids, or not. You choose tea or coffee, salad or a cupcake. Someday, you may choose chemotherapy or some other treatment for cancer.
Do we choose because we want to get something, or avoid something? Both. You choose to step on the gas because you want to get ahead of that truck––or you choose not to step on the gas because you want to avoid a speeding ticket. Stairs or elevator? If small crowded spaces make you nervous, you may choose to avoid elevators. Want more cardio exercise? Choose the stairs. Want to get to the 11th floor fast? Elevator. Want to avoid working up a sweat? Still the elevator. Every moment is filled with choices based on our wants and needs.
With every choice something happens. Some choices affect us only a short time. You choose to sip a hot cup of coffee and burn your mouth. Or you choose a movie and get a few laughs. Some choices affect us much longer. You choose to sign a 30-year mortgage. Or you choose to have sex and pregnancy follows.
There’s another kind of choice that we make, all the time. Choosing to believe. Wait. Can you really choose to believe? Of course. Your friend tells you something, but did you see it happen? Where you there? No. At that point, you choose to believe your friend’s story––or you choose not to believe it. Our courts are full of people telling other people things, hoping a jury will choose to believe them. What about evidence? You still have to choose to believe the presented evidence or choose not to believe it. Either way, you first have to choose to believe the people who present the evidence.
We all live by choosing to believe moment-to-moment, all day, every day. Choosing to believe, is also called trust. Before you get in your car, you choose to believe (trust) that you will arrive at your destination safely. If you chose to believe (trust) that you’ll be in a wreck, you wouldn’t leave the driveway. Each time you get into your car and start driving, you put your chosen belief (trust) into action. Your belief, plus your action on that belief, is faith.
How about that elevator again? You choose to believe (trust) it’s working correctly before you get on. If you choose to believe (trust) it would crash into the basement, you’d never get on. When you do get on and push the button to the 11th floor, you put your chosen belief (trust) into action. Your belief, plus your action on that belief, is faith.
The choice to believe is yours alone. No one else has the power to make any choice to believe for you. And of all the choices to believe that we make in this life, there is one choice to believe that affects us more than all the other choices we make combined. Here it is: do you choose to believe God––or do you choose not to believe God. Either way, your choice to believe affects your life today and for eternity.
Choosing to believe God, Jesus put his belief into action. With faith, Jesus came to Earth teaching about God’s love and demonstrating God’s power. He even allowed himself to be killed to show that God had the power to bring him back to life––and bring any of us back to life provided we choose to believe (trust) God’s promises. The teachings of Jesus and events of his death and resurrection were witnessed firsthand by many and are recorded in the Bible. Do I choose to believe those accounts? Absolutely. But it’s not up to me to choose your belief for you, or to prove anything to you regarding God’s love and promises. Jesus did it once and for all, for me and for you.
I’m simply choosing to ask you this question––do you want to live? Only you can answer. It’s a choice that only you can make. If you do want to live, then choose to believe (trust) that God loves you so much that he sent Jesus (as evidence) to help you choose to believe God. When you choose to believe God, your belief will affect your actions and become faith. Choose to read the Bible and you’ll learn more about God and the eternal life he offers you. He’ll strengthen your understanding, hope, love and your faith.
You and I live on Earth because we were born through the choice of others. We grow to experience the power of choice for ourselves. We choose to apply for a job, or not. We choose to get married, or not. We choose to be generous, or not. We choose to say ‘hello’ to someone, or not. We choose to order coffee or coke at this drive-thru or that one and choose to believe (trust) it’s safe to drink.
Why do you think we make so many choices about so many things, big or small? Because God made us in his image, with a free will––the ability to choose––including, your ability to choose to believe God, or not.
Do you want to live? I hope so. Choose to believe God, our Father, our creator, the one who knew you in your mother’s womb. You can be spiritually reborn into a life of fullness here and for all eternity, enjoying the love and peace that only God our Father can give.
# # #
At Easter we celebrate Jesus’s resurrection from the dead. The Bible teaches that Jesus came to fix a problem that started with Adam and Eve generations beforehand. Jesus came to demonstrate the difference between believing there is a God –– and believing God.
Which kind of believer are you?
Long before Jesus came, Adam and Eve turned against God. They didn’t believe God was telling them the truth. You know the story: God warned Adam and Eve about the fatal fruit, Adam and Eve were influenced by Satan and his lies. They ate it. But Satan didn’t forcethem to eat it. Adam and Eve decided God was a liar. Only at that point, when they didn’t believe God, were they able to grab and eat the fatal fruit.
The original sin wasn’t their eating. Their sin was choosing to believe God was a liar. That’s what shattered their relationship with God, just as your relationship with your wife or husband would shatter if they suddenly believed you to be a liar. How would you feel if your wife, your husband, your kids suddenlybelieved you to be a liar, even though you had been completely honest? What would happen? You may still love them, but how would that affect your relationship?
It wasn’t any different with God. How could God maintain a two-way relationship with Adam and Eve? They believed he was a liar. Adam and Eve suddenly became spiritual mutants, breaking the bond of trust and the ability to co-exist with an honest God. Not only had Adam and Eve ruined their own relationship with God, they ruined generations of offspring who would now inherit their spiritual mutation––with weakened genetic patterns, trying to live without God or his input.
We have five senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. Maybe Adam and Eve had eight senses and God limited them to five when he made them leave the Garden. Maybe God reduced their number of chromosomes, changed their DNA, so they would no longer live forever. Jesus changed the molecular composition of water when he turned it to wine. God and Jesus created Adam and Eve. So it seems an easy thing that God and Jesus could tweak Adam and Eve’s DNA before they left the Garden of Eden.
Maybe what we now label “spiritual” things used to be part of our original DNA. Maybe spiritual things really belong to a part of the high-tech biology that God designed us to have. Maybe “believing” is the first of several gateway senses that begin to restore us and let us have a more loving, productive relationship with God.
God loves us so much, he sent Jesus to help us realize the benefits of “believing.” He sent Jesus to Israel when the Roman government, the most influential in history, controlled Israel. Since Romans kept excellent records, accounts of Jesus’s death and life-giving ministry would be preserved along with the disciple’s accounts.
Jesus was eventually murdered by the Hebrew mafia and the Romans. But because Jesus believed God and trusted him, he came back to life. He remained on Earth for about a month while doing impromptu visits here and there, eventually leaving Israel and his growing numbers of believers by floating upward out of sight. By agreeing to die and by his resurrection afterward, Jesus demonstrated the ultimate life-giving benefit of believingGod. Jesus restored the pathway to trusting God. The same one that Adam and Eve had corrupted.
Thankfully, if we believe, we can follow Jesus on that rebuilt pathway to an eternal and blessed relationship with our loving Father, God.
There are many things here on Earth that we don’t fully understand. Some think that if you can’t see, hear, taste, smell or touch something, it doesn’t exist––even though radio waves remain unseen, natural gas is odorless, and love has no height or width. Our five senses are hardly the end-all of learning and gaining knowledge.
Why must our infant science and technology be separate from spirit? Maybe spirit is advanced science and biology on a grander scale than we’re able to understand––and through earthly death we shed our prideful ambition and limitations gleaned from having only five senses inherited from Adam and Eve. Spiritual matters and believing exist beyond physics, beyond chemistry and are taught by The Spirit of Truth, a comforting intelligence who can teach us even more.
When Pontius Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?” Jesus remained silent and didn’t answer. How could he? It was a stupid question based on a prideful limitation of having only five senses. Pilate should have asked, “Whois Truth?”
We have an enemy, called Satan who wants to keep us from Truth. He wants us to avoid God. He wants to convince us that we evolved from pond scum, argue that earth is a billion years old, and fight with each other about big bangs. Satan’s most deceitful trick, the same one he used on Adam and Eve, is that he will let us believe in God, but not believe God.
Jesus believed in Satan’s existence but did not believe Satan. Jesus defeated Satan and the pattern of death inherited from Adam and Eve. Jesus had ultimate reliance on God our Father, was obedient through death, burial and resurrection, and proved it to the entire world. We can follow Jesus to eternal life by believing God instead of believing Satan. Jesus showed us that we can experience a life beyond the limitations of our eyes, ears, nose, tongue, or fingers.
This Easter, instead of just believing that there is a God, may we follow Jesus and truly celebrate the love God has for us by actually “believing” him.
John 3:16. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only son, so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Would you rather have someone greet you with a smile or a frown? I prefer a smile. Whether it’s my wife, my kids, my boss, or the cashier at Wal-Mart, I always prefer being greeted with a smile. A smile is comforting, inviting, non-threatening. It says that there’s no trouble here and it’s just plain nice to see a person smiling––any person––man, woman, or child.
Isn’t it remarkable that when any person smiles or laughs, young or old, Swedes, Australians, Chinese, Africans or Mexicans––it looks the same. It feels the same––happy. If it showcases laughter, it sounds pretty much the same. Why don’t different people from different countries and cultures have different kinds of smiles? Or different meanings for laughing? No matter where we’re from in this world, or what language we speak, or what color our skin, we’re born knowing how to laugh and how to smile the same way as everyone else.
What does this mean? It means that while we may be different on the outside, we’re very much the same on the inside. We share the same red color of blood no matter our skin shade, our country or culture. Smiling and laughing show how similar we are under our skin, sharing the same emotional triggers. This means we’re connected in a spiritual way.
Wait, spiritual? Yes, we’re connected by a common spirit that flows through us, uniting us emotionally to one another. Deep down, spiritually and emotionally, we’re the same.
What about tears? Crying is also the same through all mankind. It looks the same on everyone, everywhere. It feels the same no matter where we live, or what schools we attend.
We had a common beginning from a spiritual source, not from pond scum. Our spiritual ancestors were Adam and Eve, who, according to the Bible, were made by God. Genesis 1:26––Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” There was a physical and a spiritual blueprint, a design, a plan, a formula, a recipe, a method to how we were made. That’s why we share so much in common––like two eyes, one mouth, smiles and tears.
Laughter looks the same on each of us. Crying and tears look the same on each of us. Both come from something deep inside. A soul.
Ridiculous, some would say. Our tears and our smiles simply evolved along with our physical traits. Oh, my. Some still choose to replace God in their lives by believing the constantly disproven theory of evolution. Evolution becomes their faith, their religion. They kneel at the altar of pond scum, praising opinions ignorant of actual science, willing to argue that we and everything we see evolved merely by chance.
To pond scummers I say, consider this: why do we laugh? Is laughter the same as other survival traits that they believe developed over time…like running? Does laughing at an erupting volcano or at a charging lion help our survival fitness? Maybe tears would be better. Oh, I know. Our tears probably evolved to protect us whenever we came face to face with a hungry lion. The more tears an ape-type-caveman could muster, the better his chances for survival. Why? Because that hungry lion would smell the increased salt content flowing down his face and avoid it. Everyone knows that too much salt in your diet can be bad for your health––and during this time of evolution, lions were probably becoming health conscious, so they, too, could survive. Of course, we have to consider this: if lions kept eating cavemen before our tear ducts were fully evolved for human survival, then how did humans survive long enough for tears to evolve?
Imagine how laughing started. Some chimps in a tree notice a strange-looking ape on the ground underneath them. Weird. This ape is walking more upright than they can. One of the chimps throws a banana peel and it lands in the path of the strange-looking ape. The strange ape steps on it, slips, feet flying out from under and slams onto its backside with a loud, “Ughh!” Onlooking chimps start bobbing up and down, making funny noises through their teeth, and nearly fall off the limbs of the tree. This episode was probably the catalyst for the evolution of laughter as a survival mechanism of the fittest. Without laughter as a release, we might explode. Don’t believe it? Try to stifle a laugh during your next business meeting or some solemn occasion.
The truth is, we are high-tech bio organisms designed to have an eternal future if we faithfully choose to understand our beginnings and prepare accordingly. Psalms 139:14–– I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. The psalmist recognizes God, his power and creativity. The psalmist also recognizes a part of us that exists deep under our skin––our soul, the spiritual part that connects us to our maker, God, the inventor of laughter and sunshine.
Too bad Adam and Eve were fooled by Satan into thinking they could exist forever without God. That’s where crying tears come from. We inherit spritual mutation from Adam and Eve––born into this life as dried up twigs snapped from the life-giving branches of our loving creator, God.
Did I say loving? Yes. God set sunshine in place to support life and also sent his son, Jesus, to graft our brittle twig-type lives back into the vibrant tree of life. He gives us the chance to laugh at that inherited death sentence, courtesy of Adam and Eve. Revelation 21:4––He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
May we all cherish God’s wisdom and faithfully prepare for joyous times ahead.
(An excerpt from the book, EnDvironment)
Dante nudged the thermometer downward to restore the line of sight between them, his dark eyes hard and fixed.
“John had a hunch about weight transfer, and how moving a lot of weight around might affect earthquakes. He studied all kinds of technology––mining, oil production, construction––and the massive amounts of weight that each industry moves. Maybe our moving so much weight from here to there could reach that certain ‘degree’ that affects balance…” Dante borrowed the thermometer from Jonathan’s hand, and tapped his finger at the end of the red line, “…like this thirty-two degree mark that no one used to know about … could there be a ‘degree,’ a natural line of departure that would change the entire Earth?”
Jonathan felt a smirk lift one side of his face. “Really? Like what, the mother-of-all earthquakes, or something like that?”
Dante nodded. He placed the thermometer on the table between them.
“But Dante,” Jonathan shook his head and flung his arms out, “the earth is so huge!” He lowered his arms and clenched the edge of the table. Crazy stuff. He leaned back. “Okay, we have some new high-tech gadgets––but nothing we do would change the whole Earth!” He picked up the thermometer, and looked at it, turning it over and over then tapped it against his palm. “Too bad Grandpa isn’t around now to see that NASA photo of Earth. It’s big.”
Dante sighed. “Yes, you could say the Earth is big.” Wandering fingers reached into his right shirt pocket, searching for something. “Think of it this way––you’re a big fellow, probably weigh 220 pounds and that bottle of beer holds 12 ounces of liquid, and this…” Dante’s fingers switched to his left shirt pocket and pulled out a tiny vial of fluid, “…this vial is a lot bigger than just one drop of what’s inside it.”
Dante handed the vial to him. It was about the size of Andrea’s tiny finger. The fluid looked mostly clear, maybe a little amber-colored.
“So, what’s this?”
“Liquid arsenic.” Dante scooted Jonathan’s beer bottle toward him. “Put a drop, just one tiny drop, of that arsenic in your beer. Swish it a little to dilute the arsenic. Then take just one tiny sip of your beer and swallow it. Let that little sip of diluted arsenic wander around your 200 pound body.” A dagger gleamed in his voice, cutting narrow slits through his eyelids. “Let’s just see what happens.”
“Dante, you’re either nuts, or it’s some kind of trick!” He set the vial down in the middle of the table. No way. More crazy stuff and–– “Wait a minute, Dante. It’s not really arsenic, is it?” More illusions. “So, what is it, really?”
“Arsenic. I sprinkle some on the rabbit pellets I put out to control the mice. They eat the rabbit food and …” he snapped his fingers, picked up the vial and rolled it between his fingers. “… fewer mice.”
“I don’t believe you. Put some in your own beer. Let’s see you do that!”
“All right.” Dante opened the vial, nursed a single drop letting it fall into his bottle, closed the vial, swished the concoction and raised the bottle. “Cheers, Jonathan.” Not just a sip. He took a long drink. Jonathan lost count of how many swallows. With a small burp, Dante set the bottle back on the table, held his arms out to his sides and gave a slight shrug as if nothing had happened.
“If it’s real, you wouldn’t have done that.” Another trick. Another lie.
“Well,” he burped again, followed with a half smile, “it is real arsenic, Jonathan. But I know the difference between a little poison, and a lot of poison. Since you refused my little challenge, I’d say that you don’t really know what’s ‘big’, what’s ‘small’, which actions have no consequence, and which ones do. Big? Small?” Dante shook his head. “You’re confusing size with severity. Those are two very different things.”
Two different things, huh? Jonathan’s left hand pressed across his lips, trying to release the right words. “Look, Dante. There’s smart and dumb, too. I did the smart thing by not doing it. If it’s really arsenic and it didn’t kill me, it could make me sick, or—”
“Sick? Oh, that’s right. Sickness. Like the disruption to our health that a tiny virus or bacteria can cause in these big huge bodies.” Dante pointed to himself and to Jonathan. “Sick, from all those teeny tiny microscopic aliens we didn’t know we shared Earth with, until just a hundred years ago. Tiny things, huh? Too small to see with the naked eye––but strong enough to kill you, me and a million others. That kind of sick?”
Dante slowed. “Think about it. Maybe it is possible for something very small to affect something very big. How about a mosquito? Just this big.” He pinched a bit of air between thumb and forefinger. “One little bite, and big guys like you or me get malaria and die! Does the mosquito kill us? No, mosquitoes aren’t poisonous. They have no venom. But mosquitoes are huge things compared to the tiny parasites they deliver—microscopic single-cell parasites that make a home in your liver, for starters. Size doesn’t always relate to severity.”
Jonathan could feel his jaw tighten. Size, severity. Okay, but this was still––
Dante rubbed hands together as if he was washing them. “How about plain old germs? In the 1930’s, surgeons argued about whether or not they should wash their hands between surgeries. Hey, they were smart intelligent people. College educated. Not stupid. But they were ignorant of facts yet to be learned. One surgeon, who did wash his hands, noticed that his patients did better and tells other doctors. Did that change their minds? No. Other surgeons, who had passed tough medical exams of their day, didn’t believe it. They said washing hands is a big waste of time! And they even smoked during surgery! Here nurse, hold my cigarette and pass me that scalpel.” Dante took a puff on a make-believe cigarette.
Jonathan chuckled. “Yeah, seems pretty dumb these days.”
Dante nodded. “Finally, with enough facts, surgeons stopped arguing about whether or not to wash hands.” He leaned forward. “Did these surgeons get smarter? No, they simply learned that size doesn’t always relate to severity. They learned how tiny life forms, unseen, can damage the health of a big, huge patient.” He leaned back, resting one hand over the other on the table. “Doctors had practiced healing for thousands of years, completely ignorant of one of the most important ways to help their patients heal––until just 50 years ago. So now it’s in the books. Everyone agrees. Now, do they know it all? Or do you think there’s more for them to learn?”
Jonathan shrugged. “I’ve heard medical people say there’s more to learn. Always more to learn, I guess.” Although Linda, being a nurse, seemed to know it all. Still wasn’t going swallow arsenic.
Dante eyes roamed his, looking for something. “Do a majority of people have to agree for a thing to be true? Or is a thing true, regardless of how many people agree about it?”
Jonathan took his time. Don’t get sucker punched. “Well, if something’s true, it’s true. What people think about it … doesn’t really matter.”
“Hmm,” Dante gave a slight nod, picked up the vial and studied it between his fingers. “Scientists have studied the lethal qualities of this natural poison.” Dante gave a quick glance to him. “Arsenic is odorless, tasteless, and there’s a tiny dose that won’t hurt most people. But there is a point––combine enough tiny droplets, and this will kill. So you see, Jonathan, something small can affect something big.”
Dante offered the vial to him. “Go ahead.”
No way. Jonathan leaned back, away from the poison in Dante’s hand. “Okay, Dante, okay. You made your point.”
Dante hesitated. “Here’s something else to think about, Jonathan. When you went out to your car earlier … well … you don’t really know whether or not I had already put a drop in your beer, do you?”
A hammer-like thud echoed in his head and the room spun. Dante was a lunatic. Why had he stayed? He sprung out of his chair but sudden dizziness tried to rock him off his feet. Jonathan grabbed the back of his chair to steady himself, waiting for the worst. Would he see his kids again? The dizziness passed. He caught his breath through the parade of heart beats against his chest. Was this just fear? Or arsenic?
Dante started to chuckle. Soon he laughed out loud and pointed. “Son, sit … down….” Laughter sprouted between his words. “Please, sit … I’d never poison John’s grandson … I wouldn’t poison you …” Fingertips fluttered downward, motioning for Jonathan to sit.
# # #
The notion of evolution requires ‘creation.’ Creation of half-baked ideas, all of which ignore today’s science. To believe that mankind evolved also requires us to ignore all life surrounding us. Must we argue about man’s evolution any longer? No. Just look around at world in which we live. There are three main reasons evolution can not explain where we came from.
Reason number 1
Mankind has no constructive purpose for being here.
Our lifetime, singly or as an entire species, contributes nothing useful to the successful operation of this planet or to our environment. We’re not an integral part of the chain of life that surrounds us. Earth doesn’t need us to spin it, animals don’t need us to teach them how to survive, plants don’t need us to cultivate or water them. If we evolved along with everything else that shares this planet, we’d have a useful part to play in the chain of life like grass and trees, lions and gazelle, whales and fish, insects and bacteria.
As it is, we need them. They don’t need us.
If we evolved, other life forms on Earth would rely on us in some mutually beneficial way and we’d have our slot, our purpose, our membership here in club Earth. But no. We’re not integrated. Earth and its abundant forms of life do not need us at all. In fact, they’d be better off without us and our ability to damage the environment and obliterate another species with every chance we get.
Our being here at all should fill you with a disturbing sense of wonder.
Reason number 2
We’re always changing how we do things.
For as long as anyone knows, plants and animals have always done things the same way. Birds build the same kind of nests, beavers build the same kind of dams, bees the same kind of honeycomb. They have a method that works and it doesn’t change.
But not us. Even though we share the same air and water as birds, beavers and bees, we change and do things differently today than we did yesterday. We burned wood for warmth, later coal and now gas, which is flow controlled by electrical circuits powered by nuclear reactions. This is just one example of thousands of ways we’ve changed how we do things––taking its place among countless methods changed by ancestors so dissatisfied with their life of position, power and economics that they plotted and killed in excess of what was needed––and considered it justified. It continues this way.
Why don’t we do things the same way as generations before us, like birds and bees and bears and beavers? Why aren’t we settled on our methods of doing things like all the plants and animals around us, flowing along with our environment as an extension of our natural surroundings––instead of trying to change it, change ourselves, and change those around us?
Because we’re not on the same frequency.
Reason number 3
We have no genetic knowledge.
A robin doesn’t need another robin to teach it how to build a nest, they just know. If they and other life forms evolved with that kind of inborn genetic knowledge that gets passed along, why didn’t mankind? If we’re so highly evolved, why are we completely ignorant at birth, having to learn everything from scratch––from using our first spoon to burying our dead?
With our superior brains and vast intellect, shouldn’t we be far ahead of the lowly animals, each child born knowing at least something from a previous generation? Some inherited constructive point of reference that evolved in our brains to help us survive?
But no. Infants are helpless for years and years. Our species operates so differently from everything else living here on Earth, it boggles the mind.
Reason number 4?
We’re unhooked from our beginnings. (Evolutionists have trouble with this.)
Evolutionists preach that all life came from the same pond scum, and that we remain hooked to that beginning, that source. But mankind suddenly bursts forth and does everything differently than the cradle of life around us. Crusaders of evolution then “create” new religious paragraphs about a “missing link” to maintain their belief system devoid of science and even history. As is, Saint Darwin teaches more ‘creation’ in his church of evolution than his congregation realizes.
Here’s a quote from the original “Creation” Bible, Genesis Chapter 1, verse 26: Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
We were put here. We were made. A premeditated engineering decision. One that would make mankind very distinct from other life forms on this planet.
You may think the Bible is hocus-pocus and requires blind belief, however, there are more indications of DNA replication science in the Bible than have ever been a part of Darwinian religion. Charles Darwin, the spoiled rich kid and whimsical thinker from 1859, offers only outdated fairytales in the face of today’s actual genetic research.
There used to be a theory that the sun traveled around earth. Wrong. There used to be a theory that if you could’t see germs, they didn’t exist. Wrong. Some very smart surgeons thought that washing germs off their hands was hocus-pocus well into the 1930’s. It just goes to show that being smart about some things, does not mean you understand every thing. Our misguided loyalty to falsehoods, nurtured by pride, is another difference between us and other life.
Seems to me that the Bible of creation had it right all along.
Today marks a celebration of Jesus’s resurrection from the dead. Worth noting if you’d like to live beyond this earthly life.
Now I know that what I just wrote could sound foolish to many readers. Live beyond this life? What’s he talking about? Doesn’t he know that we evolved from pond scum, apes and that there is no God?
There are many things here on Earth that we don’t fully understand. Some of us think that if you can’t see, hear, taste, smell or touch something, it doesn’t exist, even though radio waves remain unseen, natural gas is odorless and love has no height or width.
Could it be that there is a part of us that goes beyond the five senses? Maybe we have eight, but for some reason, we only use five. Maybe we’re evolving toward using the full eight, and that is what some people call the spiritual realm.
Spirit does not have to be separate from technology and science, does it? Why can’t spiritual things simply be highly advanced technology that we’re not equipped to operate? Maybe spirit is bio-tech on a whole different level, where through death, we shed the limitations of our five senses and graduate to the university of spirit.
I didn’t make the rules. But I have discovered through many experiences that believing is a key part of “graduating” to the next level. And, that’s why Jesus came. To teach those around him that there’s more to life than what you think. He was murdered by the Hebrew mafia and the big-time Romans (who kept excellent records). Then, he came back to life and hung out here on Earth for about a month before he left Israel in that form.
Could “believing” be an added sense that we can tap into here in this life––a sense that helps us cross into the extended life promised us by God? Could this life be the beta version, sperm-egg genesis of our intellectual choices, which then launches our 2.0 and beyond?
Spirit is really high tech bio that’s way beyond our five senses. God, the master of technology, made us to evolve to the point where we can finally shed the deadly weight of pride in thinking that we know everything—based on only five senses. Spirit is high-tech bio, part of our Father’s great plan.
Speaking of plans, it’s too bad Adam and Eve thought God was a liar. God had to switch plans. Can’t have much of relationship with someone who thinks you’re a liar, can you? At the start, maybe Adam and Eve had eight senses and then God “grounded” them. Kind of like children who misbehave.
No matter male, female or whatever race a baby may happen to be, not one infant born into today’s life of five senses knows what a spoon is for or how to use one. We’re equally ignorant. It’s pure equality at its bio-engineered form. Then we learn our favorite ways to become different.
My prayer is that we all learn to “believe” what Jesus demonstrated to his disciples and followers, in order to help them get it, grasp it, and hang on to it–instead of trusting information that is only gleaned from five senses. There’s more to trusting God than meets the eye—or ear, or nose, or tongue, or fingers.
God bless you this Easter. And may you “believe” that Jesus loved us enough to do what he did, so he and our Father God could spoon feed enough trust into our infant intellects to evolve beyond pride.
“I see bacteria on your hand,” the old beggar pointed, staggering toward me on the sidewalk.
Crap, not another one of these guys. Had a meeting to get to. I adjusted my sunglasses and reached for my wallet. His eyes danced over my wrist to the fold of brown leather as I hurried to fish out some money.
“In fact, I see bacteria on both your hands,” he added, slurring his words.
“No, you can’t.” I shook my head.
“Are you calling me a liar?” He leaned toward me.
“I just don’t believe it, that’s all.” His breath smelled of sour grapes rotting in the noon sun. I took a step back.
He struggled to balance himself as if the broad sidewalk had narrowed to a tightrope under his mismatched shoes. “So, because you can’t see bacteria on your hands, you think I can’t.”
“You need a microscope to see bacteria.” I pulled out a ten.
“So, you think everyone is exactly the same as you?”
“No, everyone is different, but we have limitations.”
His crusty hand reached toward the ten bucks, fingers jittering with expectation as he asked, “So, people are different … but our limitations are exactly the same?”
“No, we have different limitations, too, and–” What a double-talking con. I gave him the ten. “We’re done, here.”
“Thank you, sir. God bless you.” His head bobbed with gratitude under his dirty green ball cap. Scabby teeth offered a smile through his overgrown wasteland of whiskers.
“Yeah, okay. You’re welcome.” I took another step back, wallet in place, safe from pick-pockets. “And, uh … God bless you, too.” Guess that’s what you’re supposed to say.
“You know, there’s no bacteria on me. None at all.” Wobbling, he held his arms straight out from his sides.
Poor guy is nuts. I shook my head, knowing everyone has b––
He stared at me, finishing my private thought. Clever trick. I knew he wanted more money. “Look, I have to get to a meeting.” I pushed my slipping sunglasses back up again.
“Can you see bacteria on me?”
This was all so dumb. I shook my head.
“Well, how do you know if they’re reallyhere … eh?” He chuckled, wiggling stubby fingers toward my face like hypnotic serpents, my ten jammed between them.
“If I had a microscope, I’d show you. Look, I have t––”
“I’ll wait.” He teetered backward and slumped onto the concrete bench, belched, then folded arms covered in brown tattered flannel across his chest.
“I have to go.” Maybe this bum had all day, but not me. I started to walk away.
“No faith, huh?” he asked.
“What?” I stopped and turned.
“You don’t have enough faith that you’re right, and I’m wrong.” His thumb poked at his chest.
“Hey, I have plenty of faith,” I emphasized, “but no time!”
“Maybe you say bacteria isn’t real, just because youcan’t see ’em.” He studied the back of his trembling hand.
“What? I didn’t say they weren’t real. They’re real!” This guy was getting even more goofy. “People can see them, but only with a microscope.”
“God’s real, too.” He closed his eyes. Grimy hands gripped his seat on either side, keeping him from tipping over.
“God’s not real. It’s just a story, like a fairy tale.” Didn’t expect this guy to be religious…didn’t look like those glittery religious types on tv. “Listen! Bacteria is real. God, not so much.”
“I can see God, too.” He tilted his head, squinting.
“No, you can’t! No one can!” Super nut ball, this guy.
“No one? So … everyone is the same?” His squint faded as he wiped at his nose.
“God’s not real. That’s all there is to it.”
“Yep,” he said with drawn-out tones, “that’s what they used to say about bacteria––’not real.’ Surgeons didn’t wash their hands. Argued about germs all the time…’wash’…’don’t wash!” He thrust his right arm forward, waving it back and forth then back to the bench to steady himself.
“That may be, but then the microscope got invented. Now there’s proof because they can all see bacteria.” I checked my watch. Can’t be late to my meeting.
“So then, you believe all those bacteria and germs were real … right there … the whole time all these smart medical folks argued about it?” He stuffed the ten into his shirt pocket.
“Of course!” I nodded. “Bacteria were always there, whether they argued or not!”
He stood, steadied himself, then approached me and placed his hand on my shoulder with heavy concern, the way I sometimes imagined my father might have, had he stayed with Mom and us.
“So, bacteria were there the whole time these brilliant scientists were arguing whether or not bacteria existed?”
“Yes, the whole time!” I snapped. “They used microscopes, then they could see!” This guy would never understand. Too much booze.
“Son, you should invent a Godscope. You’d see more than bacteria. You’d see someone… who’s been here this whole time, too.” Bushy eyebrows rose above his sudden wink. “Believe. Have faith. Trust the Lord. Then you’ll be washing germs from your hands … and from your soul.”
He lowered his hand from my shoulder, his posture and balance now perfect. Like a young soldier, he turned about with a brisk spin then walked with precise strides down the sidewalk, around the corner grocery and out of sight.
Weird. How does somebody…so drunk…get sober just like that? Come to think of it, no more stinky breath, either. Really weird. I pushed my sunglasses back up and checked my watch. My meeting!
KJB – Hebrews 13:2, Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
NIV – 1 John 4:12, No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
KJB – Matthew 25:35-36, For I was hungry and you gave …
Cushing, Oklahoma is home to many storage tanks full of oil. Put that oil into semi-tanker trucks parked bumper to bumper, and you have a convoy stretching from Cushing, across the Atlantic, past Berlin, Germany. Seems like a lot of weight being stored in one little area.
Does concentrating that kind of weight on a few square miles have any significant geologic effect? Could anyone really know for sure?
I read several sources about Oklahoma earthquakes. The central U.S. used to be so calm. No earthquakes to speak of. But now the ground is vibrating its citizens into a lifestyle of cracked walls and shattered glass. Some accept it, but not all.
Energy industries accept it. They’re busy seeking resources from under the feet of Oklahoma residents and explain it in two ways: the local increase in earthquakes is simply an innocent byproduct of their industry (nothing to worry about), or that the local increase of quakes has nothing at all to do with their drilling, fracking or waste-water injections…just a coincidence. Sounds similar to the coincidence in the 1960’s with Colorado’s waste-water injections (when the injections stopped, so did their quakes).
The fact remains that we don’t really know what’s under our feet in the sense of how our planet is knit together or how it all works. When experts tell us their industrial activities have no consequence, we should note that the deepest hole ever drilled is reported to be about seven miles––not very deep, considering Earth is 8,000 miles across. So if we can’t get down under (nothing to do with Australia) to truly examine things, how can anyone above ground really know where they stand?
I’m not against the energy companies. I like flipping a switch for light and heat instead of having to kindle a fire. But conveniences of technology bring certain tradeoffs. Some people trade opinion for fact, while others trade fact for opinion. And with a shortage of knowledge, opinions can thrive for years, concealing the true tradeoffs.
Right now, our study of geology overflows with opinion. Especially about earthquakes and what causes them.