This online institute is designed to give a brief analysis and discussion of all scientific disciplines through the lens of a biblical world view. +++ SDG +++

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Biology wing Lessons # 18 - # 28

            Welcome to the biology wing of the institute.  These lessons #18 through #28 will give you an amazing tour through much of what Biological evidence has to say about the validity of Scripture

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #18
"The History of Biology"
So here we are in the biology lab with our lab coats on and our Bunsen burners blazing. We are going to talk about biology and in order to do this, I will need to speak with scientific jargon. I am not a professional scientist, but I do love science and have been a student of science since introduced to it in grammar school.  So please have patience as I get into my scientific geek mode.  And if I cause more questions than I answer, please feel free to send your questions in and I will do my best to answer them or we can seek the answers together.    

We are going to talk about biology in the coming months and how it proclaims the Creator.  But first I would like to briefly discuss the type of science biology is.  It is one of the historical sciences along with archaeology (which we spent most of last year discussing), geology, paleontology, astronomy, cosmology, philology, and history.  We will explore some of those other “ologies” in later issues. The aim of these sciences is to describe phenomena of the past and reconstruct their causes.  They therefore differ from experimental science based on repeatable empirical evidence.  Much of biology functions in the empirical area as well, but biology is primarily a historical science.  This type of science has three main elements: description of a phenomenon; developing a general theory about its cause; and applying this theory to specific observable facts.

On that list above was paleontology: the study of prehistoric life.  Paleontology is very interesting and valuable when it speaks of things that have taken place in the past 6000 years.  When we think of paleontology we often think fossils.  However the study of ancient life spends most of its time and effort on the identity, origin, environment, and evolution of life and because of this, expends most of its energy on “millions of years” and eras like Cenozoic, Mesozoic, Paleozoic, Precambrian or Proterozoic.  The issues of time and the fossil record are issues that I will address in future articles.  I feel it very important for anyone who studies any of these sciences to be well educated in the theories and hypotheses and all of the accepted rules for collecting and categorizing specimens for this field of study which should be followed.  I will also point out that speaking of evolution and millions of years as fact is a position of faith that I choose not to hold.  Whatever else I have to say about paleontology is either covered in other sciences, or is, in my humble estimation, fictitious speculation about a nonexistent ancient past that is, as I said, a position of faith.  The evidence can also be evaluated through a biblical worldview that holds to a divine 6-day creation that took place a little over 6000 years ago.  This too is a position of faith but we, unlike those who hold to scientism, acknowledge our bias.

Now that I have said all I plan to say about paleontology, let’s jump to biology.  The concept of biology as a single coherent field arose in the early 1800's when the term biology in its modern sense starts to appear in numerous scientific publications.  The word was coined in 1800 by Karl Friedrich Burdachthe.  The biological sciences emerged from traditions of medicine and natural history.  We could go as far back as 50 AD when Pliny the Elder published his 37 volume "Historia Naturalis."  We could also point to the work of many early philosophers like Alcmaeon of Croton who in 520 BC distinguished veins from arteries and discovered the optic nerve, or to ancient Egyptian medicine which included dentistry, and to the works of Aristotle of the Greeks, and Galen in the ancient Greco-Roman world.  This ancient work was further developed in the Middle Ages by Muslim physicians and scholars such as Avicenna 980-1037 AD.

So what is modern day biology? Simply put, it is the study of life.  From the smallest microbe to the largest whale, life is a miraculous thing. In order to study life we must define what is living and what is not.
Life can respond; life is organized; it works, grows, reproduces, responds to stimuli and adapts. These characteristics form the basis of the study of biology.  The study of the miracle of life, in both plant and animal forms, reveal an astounding amount of genetic information that point not to a common ancestor, but to a common Creator.  As we discuss biology, we will need to touch on the topics of cosmology (the origin of life), time and dating methods, mathematics and chemistry, as well as genetics, botany, zoology, and anthropology. your test tubes.  I realize this may be a bit more than you bargained for. Don’t worry, I will try to keep the jargon to a minimum and will do my best to explain it when I use it.  Have a blessed 2011 and we will see you next month as we examine cosmology, chemistry and thermodynamics in our discussion about biology.

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #19
" The Tools of Biology"

Welcome back to the lab; put on your lab coat; take a seat and get comfortable.  We are going to talk about biology and to do this we need to examine and define cosmogony (the study of origins), math & logic, thermodynamics and chemistry.  This is just like if we were studying automobiles, we would be addressing auto parts, methods of propulsion, tools and transportation.

So let’s start with cosmogony, as defined by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).  “Cosmology is the study of the structure and changes in the present universe, while the scientific field of cosmogony is concerned with the origin of the universe. Observations about our present universe may not only allow predictions to be made about the future, but they also provide clues to events that happened long ago when...the cosmos began. So—the work of cosmologists and cosmogonists overlaps.”  And because of this, I often incorrectly say cosmology when I mean cosmogony…..what fun!  When studying origins (which includes biology), we have an eye witness account in Genesis.  However we can also examine all the observable evidence and see how it proclaims its creator.

Psalm 139 verse 14 tells us that we are “Fearfully and wonderfully made.” When we examine God’s creation and see how vastly and irreducibly complex life is, it becomes illogical and irrational to believe that something so complex could exist by accident and without purpose.  Here are some examples:

Mathematics & Logic: We will discuss logic in more detail when we address the topic of philosophy.  Something cannot be both true and false at the same time and the field of mathematics is bound by the rules of logic.  Mathematics gives us a way to measure and understand how everything in the universe functions.  This order allows us to develop fields such as chemistry, physics, geometry, and algebra—fields that are imperative in understanding and defining life.  This is a simple basic example of how the benevolent Creator has organized His creation in a way that is logical and understandable so that we can explore and learn from it to see just how amazing He is.  It also allows us to live in a universe with some predictable norms, giving us time to enjoy His great creation as well.  We can also use mathematics to estimate the statistical impossibility that life might spontaneously generate from non-life, resulting in a number so infinitesimally small, that to believe it, is an act of faith.

Chemistry: We all remember the periodic table of elements from high school chemistry which gives us all the base elements of creation.  This science explains mathematically how matter changes and explains how different elements on the periodic table interact with each other.  Chemistry explains the composition, behavior, structure, and properties of all matter, as well as the changes it undergoes during chemical reactions.  It is because of this science that we can understand with great complexity how living things function.  Here is one simple example of a layman’s description (me) of how a white blood cell works within our immune system.  First the body produces them in our bone marrow. Then these cells actually kind of roll along the walls of our veins, waiting for a chemical signal from the vein wall to tell it to stop where it is needed to fight infection.  When it gets this signal the cell latches on to the vein wall and completely reconfigures itself to pass through the vein wall and go to the infected area and absorb the infectious material.  It then returns to the blood stream to be disposed of through our kidneys and our bladder or leaves through the wound.  I know this is basic high school science, but this is one of thousands of complex systems that function automatically, in perfect harmony within our bodies and everything about how it works can be explained with complex chemical reactions.  How something so complex could function so well, giving bodies the ability to heal themselves, is miraculous.  To believe this to be the result of millions of years of accidents, happenstance and mutations would be so hard to believe it would take an act of faith.  And here is another twist: since there was no death, disease or infection before sin, if we had white blood cells before sin came into the world, they had a different function all together. That is something to ponder as we contemplate on how fearfully and wonderfully we are made.

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #20
Meaning & Logic
Welcome back to the lab; put on your lab coat; take a seat and get comfortable.  We are going to talk about biology and to do this, we will start with thermodynamics today, and if we have some time, we will take some time, to address the topic of time.

What is thermodynamics and what does it have to do with biology?  Well, all living things convert matter into energy to survive and the concept of thermodynamics is about that very process.  The science of energy conversion involving heat and other forms of energy is typically used in the study of machines.  However, studies on the relations and interactions between variables, such as temperaturevolume, and pressure, can also be used when discussing how living things convert matter (food) into energy.

The principle of thermodynamics that is most intriguing for this discussion is its second law.  To understand this law, we must first define entropy which is in essence the observed universal process of decay, or the idea that, over time, things break down.  So the Second Law of Thermodynamics declares that isolated systems will eventually achieve equilibrium, or break down to their base elements until there is not enough heat or energy to continue the process.  This explains what we observe in all of nature: simply stated—the process of transitioning matter to energy and vice versa causes a loss of heat energy.  Over time these heat transfers become decreasingly efficient to the point that they theoretically come to a complete stop.  I say theoretically because while we have a measurement for absolute zero, 0°K on the Kelvin scale, −273.15°C or −459.67°F, we have not yet been able to observe that temperature, although I hear we have come very close. 

What has any of this got to do with biology? Well, on the surface it appears that life runs counter to this law that over time things break down.  But on closer examination, this is not the case.  Even at the point of conception, we all have genetic clocks within our DNA called telomerase that limit how long we can continue to reproduce healthy cells. Telomerase and ultraviolet rays are the two main causes of human aging.  So while all life has a period of growth and regeneration—still, over time, every living thing dies.  This is important for three reasons.
1. Gen 3:19b ... “for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” All life on earth must obey this law of thermodynamics because it is part of the curse that sin brought into the world.
2. Gen 6:3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” There is debate over the meaning of this text, but I am among those who hold that human life was limited to 120 years by God after the flood some 4300 years ago, and if we examine the genealogies from Noah—in only 8 to 12 generations, human life spans are at or below 120 years. 
3. Molecules-to-man evolution holds to a position that over time simple life develops into complex life.  This is not observed anywhere in the biological or fossil record.  There is not one scientific example of a "transitional specie" because none exist.  If you research transitional species you will find long lists of related species but each falls within a created kind.  My bias allows me to see this as evidence of a common Creator who put within each created kind amazing diversity that is often triggered by genetic adaptation to the environment.  For example all dogs are descendants of one proto dog kind and genetic evidence bears this out.  Our evolutionary friends have no nice for them. ;-)

I have often shared with many of you that I am a young earth creationist, and as such, believe the universe to be just a little over 6010 years old give or take a few years or even a century of two based on the possibility of cumulative genealogical overlap.  Because of this, I assert that the idea of tens of thousands of years is incorrect, however, I can legitimately debate with like-minded creationists who hold to slightly older ages in the tens of thousands of years range.

However, I feel the position that the world is 4.7 billion years old and that the universe is over 13 billion years old or that millions of years is even a possibility, is a position of faith with little or no basis in observable or verifiable empirical data.  It seems I have run out of time to talk about time, so I will have to give time to the topic of time next month.  We will talk about dating methods next month: C14, radiometric, and isochron dating methods.                                
Have a blessed day and take time to enjoy the beauty of God’s amazingly complex biological creation.

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #21
Time #1
Welcome back to the lab; put on your lab coat; take a seat and get comfortable.  We are going to talk about biology again today and we will do this as always from the prospective of a biblical Christian worldview.  Last time we did not have time, to take the time, to address the topic of time.  As a matter of fact, we will probably not have enough time to fully treat the topic of time this time, but we will take all the time it takes!

So for those of you who "believe" the world to be approximately 4.7 billion years old and that the universe is over 13 billion years old or that millions of years are even a possibility—I would say that this is a position of faith in human deductive powers based on observable or verifiable empirical data.  As most of us defer to the experts in their respective fields, it would seem to make sense to defer to them in this area as well. However the experts in most scientific disciplines are not in lockstep agreement on this topic, as many in the education community would have you believe.  So let’s open-mindedly examine some simple empirical data and examine some basic assumptions to determine for ourselves how currently accepted dating methods can support relatively young earth concepts that are in full harmony with scripture’s historical narrative. While at the same time, it calls into question the commonly held old-earth concepts based on those same methods and taught as fact.

We will have to take a short detour from the topic of biology and touch on a number of disciplines to give time a thorough treatment here.  Carbon 14, radiometric, and isochron dating methods are all relatively new in the world of science, all of them having been invented and refined only in the past century. 

While I will treat each of these dating methods and some others individually, I would first like to address the topic of dating method assumptions.  There are three clear "assumptions." These are:
#1: A known initial quantity of whatever is being measured, in order to apply the formulas that turn the decay of one substance into any other substance, making that a reliable clock to measure time. These assumptions are made based on sound scientific computations, but they are still "assumptions" based on computations—not known observable fact.
#2: A constant rate of decay which assumes that what we have been able to observe and measure over the past decades and in a few cases over a century can be projected through time to get back to the assumed known initial quantity. So now we have one assumption on top of another.
#3: A closed system and this is the weakest of the three.  It assumes that over time no event of any kind has influenced the constant rate of decay.  We can observe in known world history great catastrophes, some that can be shown to affect elements within some of these dating methods.  This would include occurrences such as exposure to extreme temperatures or the introduction or even commingling of other elements into the tested sample. This then puts a third assumption on a stack of assumptions that call into question the dependability of these methods.  I do not argue that these are bad methods of determining the age of things. I simply argue that the numeric assumed values call into question the validity of the conclusions.  So to say that trust in those doing the calculations based on these assumptions is not a position of faith is intellectually dishonest.

Why is the issue of time so important? You can make a direct correlation between the realizations in the scientific community that studies life, "Biology" in the late 1800 to early 1900's.  As they began to understand the complexity of life, they saw that many evolutionary change assumptions, especially those that transitioned from one species to another, could not have happened in thousands of years.  So they needed greater amount of time and those sympathetic to their plight in the fields of chemistry and geology were all too happy to use the assumptions of greater periods of time when approaching their calculations.  In short, evolution needs millions of years to be even remotely plausible, so that in the last 100 years the estimated age of the earth has slowly climbed from some untold millions to its current estimated age of over 4.7 billion years.  It seems the assumptions listed above would not work on the age of the earth because in the time span of less than 100 years the earth has aged over 3 billion.
Have a great Summer and don't age to quickly in the sun!  More on time next time.    

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #22
Time #2
Welcome back to the lab; Time, time and more time, we will continue our short detour from the topic of biology and touch on chemistry and geology to give time a thorough treatment here.  We will examine some radiometric dating methods like the Carbon 14, and Isochron.  We will also examine some others like Dendrochronology (tree rings) and some methods that give much younger dates for the age of the earth.

So lets examine Carbon 14 Dating (14C), also referred to as radiocarbon, this method claims to be a reliable for determining the age of fossils up to 60,000 years.  Carbon-14 is primarily used to date once-living things (organic material).  It can also be used to put time constraints on some inorganic material such as diamonds.  Because of the rapid rate of decay of 14C, it can only give dates in the thousands-of-year range. 

            There are three different naturally occurring varieties (isotopes) of carbon: 12C, 13C, and 14C.  Carbon-14 is used for dating because it is unstable (radioactive), while 12C and 13C are stable. Because it is Radioactive 14C will decay (emit radiation) over time and become a different element, nitrogen-14 14N.  Carbon-14 is constantly being added to the atmosphere by cosmic rays from outer space, which contain high levels of energy.  These rays bombard the earth’s upper atmosphere and collide with atoms in the atmosphere and can cause them to come apart. Neutrons that come from these fragmented atoms collide with 14N atoms (the atmosphere is made mostly of nitrogen and oxygen) and convert them into 14C atoms.  Once 14C is produced, it combines with oxygen in the atmosphere to form carbon dioxide (CO2). Because CO2 gets incorporated into plants, this means the food we eat contains 14C , this is how living things get 14C in them.

            Living things stop taking in 14C when they die and their radioactive 14C  decays into 14N.  The amount of 14C in a dead organism gets less and less over time while the stable 12C remains the same. Therefore, part of the dating process involves measuring the amount of 14C, Scientists use a device called an “Accelerator Mass Spectrometer” (AMS) to determine the ratio of 14C to 12C, giving the test a currently accepted accuracy rate of about 80,000 years. The half-life of 14C is 5,730 years (based on currently observed rates of decay) For example, a jar starting with all 14C atoms at time zero will contain half 14C atoms and half 14N atoms at the end of 5,730 years (one half-life).

            A core assumption in this dating method invented by Dr. Willard Libby has to do with the ratio of 14C to 12C.  It is assumed that the ratio of 14C to 12C in the atmosphere has always been the same as it is today (1 to 1 trillion). However the amount of 14C being produced in the atmosphere must equal the amount being removed to be in a steady state (also called “equilibrium”). If this is not true, the ratio of 14C to 12C is not a constant, which would make knowing the starting amount of 14C in a specimen difficult if not impossible to accurately determine.  As I mentioned last month assumptions are extremely important. If the starting assumption is false, all the calculations based on that assumption might be correct but still give a wrong conclusion.  In Dr. Libby’s original work, he noted that the atmosphere did not appear to be in equilibrium. This was a troubling idea for him since he believed the world was billions of years old and more than enough time had passed to achieve equilibrium. Dr. Libby’s calculations showed that if the earth started with no 14C in the atmosphere, it would take about 30,000 years to build up to a steady state (equilibrium).  Dr. Libby chose to ignore this discrepancy (nonequilibrium state), and he attributed it to experimental error. However, the discrepancy has turned out to be very real and confirmed to exist today by much better instruments. The ratio of 14C /12C is not constant.  The Specific Production Rate (SPR) of C-14 is known to be 18.8 atoms per gram of total carbon per minute. The Specific Decay Rate (SDR) is known to be only 16.1 disintegrations per gram per minute. What this means is If it takes about 30,000 years to reach equilibrium and 14C is still out of equilibrium, then the earth is not yet 30,000 years old.

            Another interesting note  14C  is found in diamonds and coal samples that are supposedly millions and billions of years old.  How can something with a half life of only 5730 years be found in things that are "supposedly" that old?  I would submit that they are much younger than commonly believed. 

     A team of scientist called the  RATE group (Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth). put together some good research on this topic. they started in 1997 and worked for eight years investigating the age of the earth, and challenging many commonly held old earth assumptions. 

That is enough about Carbon 14,  If you want to read more on the subject I suggest you visit the Answers in Genesis website that was the primary source for much of this article.  Next month a little on Isochron dating methods which has much in common with C14 just assumptions of much greater age.  We may also start on Dendrochronology or some other methods that give much younger age of the earth.

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #23
Time #3
Welcome back to the lab. Time, time and more time—we will continue our short detour from the topic of biology and touch on chemistry and geology for the next couple of lessons relating to time.  There are a large number of dating methods and they produce greatly varying dates.  We will discuss one more radiometric dating method and then move on to some dating methods that provide much younger earth results before concluding our detour on time. 
To perform radiometric dating, a rock is crushed to a fine powder and the minerals are separated.  Each mineral has different ratios between its parent and daughter concentrations. This topic is much too complicated to be dealt with in a single lesson, not to mention it carries great potential for painful boredom.  I will therefore try to condense this into one lesson that describes the concepts without becoming too scientific and complicated.  Isochron dating is a common radiometric dating technique applied to date natural events like the crystallization of minerals as they cool, changes in rocks by metamorphism, or what are essentially naturally occurring shock events like meteor strikes. Minerals present in these events contain various radioactive elements which decay and the resulting daughter elements can then be used to deduce the age of the mineral through an isochron. So what is an isochron? In the mathematical theory of dynamic systems, an isochron is a set of initial conditions for the system that all lead to the same long-term behavior.  Translation:  a mathematical method of determining the initial condition of something based on its current composition.  This is interesting because as we mentioned last month, assumptions are the thorn in the side of all dating methods.  So the appeal of isochron dating is that it does not presuppose the initial amount of the daughter element in the decay sequence.  This method is used to determine the initial amount.  If I seem to be talking in circles it is because old earth dating methods must talk in circles to achieve their goal using naturalistic explanations that illogically exclude the possibility of the supernatural. 

Isochron dating began when scientists recognized difficulties with the assumptions of radiometric dating, especially how much of the daughter products might have been present when the mineral first formed. Isochron dating was developed in an attempt to solve that problem, but in so doing created different assumptions and problems of its own.  Isochron dating is primarily used in determining the age of igneous rocks, metamorphic rocks and even shock events like asteroid impacts.  Some of the more commonly used parent/daughter isotope pairs used for isochron dating are rubidium/strontiumsamarium/neodymium, and uranium/lead.  Translation: the parent isotope over time decays into the daughter isotope (for example—uranium decays into lead).

            All isochron dating assumes that the source of the rock or rocks contained unknown amounts of both radiogenic and non-radiogenic isotopes of the daughter element, along with some amount of the parent nuclide. Thus, at the moment of crystallization, the ratio of the concentration of the radiogenic isotope of the daughter element to that of the non-radiogenic isotope is some value independent of the concentration of the parent. As time goes on, some amount of the parent decays into the radiogenic isotope of the daughter, increasing the ratio of the concentration of the radiogenic isotope to that of the daughter.  No matter how many times you read this paragraph, it will still be hard to see how scientists do not see this as a mathematical estimate of the initial amount of specific elements in the rock that is being tested; read “assumption”!   

Not to mention that in this method, outside contamination can form good-looking isochron data and uniformitarian geologists know it. The real way a "true" isochron is distinguished from a false isochron is by how well it agrees with how old the fossils in that layer are considered to be; read "circular logic".  Isochron dating is also unreliable because it assumes that the samples are congenic, assuming that they form at the same time from a reasonably homogeneous common pool. This assumption is also invalid. In particular, mixing two sources with different isotopic compositions gives meaningless but apparently valid isochron plots.  One more real problem with this dating method is disconcordant dates.  In most cases when you test different chemicals in the same rock, you get great variations in the dates on the order of millions and billions of years.  If the methods were dependable should they not all come up with similar dates?

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #24
Time #4
Welcome back to the lab.  Time, time and more time!  We will complete our short detour from the topic of biology and touch on a few more dating methods.  I think we have sufficiently demonstrated that assumptions within dating methods lead to conclusions that support an old or young world view depending on which assumptions you employ.  Let’s finish this timely discussion by examining some dating methods that lead to the conclusion of a young earth. These are all dismissed by old-earthers as junk science, but read and decide for yourself.  The assumptions are clearly biased but the methods are just as scientific as old earth claims about radioactive decay and the more recently invented genetic marker clocks.

            There are a number of dating methods that suggest a young earth.  (Yes, they too have assumptions.)
Common young-earth "dating methods" give upper limits to the age of the Earth that are much lower than the more commonly accepted ages of millions and billions of years.  The upper limits of these methods are usually in thousands of years.  Here are some of the more commonly used dating methods employed by young-earth scientists: Dendrochronology; Accumulation of helium in the atmosphere; Decay of the Earth's magnetic field;
Accumulation of meteoritic dust on the Moon; Disintegration of comets; Accumulation of metals into the oceans; Population of the earth; and Io—the still-volcanic moon of Jupiter.  This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are over 70 young earth dating methods, but I will try to briefly explain the few I can squeeze into this article.

Dendrochronology: Tree rings can be of great assistance in determining when a piece of wood was cut down and put to use because of observable patterns in the rings that correspond with weather patterns.  The bristlecone pine is the oldest living thing on the earth. Native to the mountains of California and Nevada, the oldest tree has been dated at 4,600 years old.  By correlating the rings with dead wood found near the trees and beams from local buildings, a chronology of 11,300 rings has been suggested. However, this does not necessarily correlate to years because multiple rings can grow in one year.  This is one of many dendro-chronological examples.  The 4,600 year age of the oldest tree, named Methuselah, corresponds to the date of the Flood calculated by Ussher (the early church bishop, not the rap star) and others. Is it just a coincidence or did this tree begin growing shortly after the Flood?

Decaying magnetic field of the earth: We know that the earth's magnetic field has been decaying since the time it was first measured in 1835. Given the most plausible model of magnetism being generated by circulating electric currents that are decaying within the earth, and projecting these numbers backwards, we discover that 10,000 years ago, the earth would have a field as strong as a magnetic star which utilizes thermonuclear processes to maintain a field of that strength.

Population of the earth: Today the population grows at 2% per year. If we set the population growth rate at just 0.5% per year, then total population reduces to zero at about 4500 years ago. Strangely close to the time of the Flood again, Hmmmm? If the first humans lived over a million years ago, then at this 0.5% growth rate, we would have 10 to the two thousand, one hundredth power, (that is a ten with 2100 zeros following it) people right now. If the present population was a result of over a million years of human history, then several trillion people must have lived and died since the emergence of our species. Where are all the bones? And where is the evidence of Ancient civilizations?  Written history and archaeological evidence of ancient civilizations dates back to several thousand years. Beyond that, all traces of civilization disappear. This is not consistent with a species which is supposed to be at least hundreds of thousands of years old.

            There are many other dating methods I did not even mention that produced young earth conclusions. If you would like to study this further, I suggest the following websites; Answers in Genesis, (, Institute for Creation Research (, and on this topic you will also find a good summary in an article at   Next month—back to biology.

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #25
            Welcome back to the lab; I have already spent way too much time talking about time so lets get back to Biology.  Since the beginning of the year we have briefly examined the history of biology, how mathematics and chemistry are an integral part of understanding the study of life. We also took a little side path through the dating methodology; old earth assumptions & methods and young earth assumptions & methods along with some of their flaws, and limitations of dating methods.

            I would like to touch on the topic of Botany this month. On the third day God created all plant life (Genesis 1:11).  In this text the words literally translate Grass, Herb, & Tree, you may think this a week description of the vast variety of plant life on earth.  However when you consider that the first two terms in Hebrew really imply the fresh sprouting plant, in the beginning almost all plant life looks like little green shoots coming out of the soil. Not to mention if you with the exception of waterborne plant life, you could fit all known plant life into the categories of, low lying grasses, middle sized herbs & bushes, and all sizes of fruit and seed bearing trees.  What about those water born plants? well most of them anchor in soil and those that don't only thrive in still waters that are rich in minerals from the surrounding soil.  What about fungus? well I like sautéed mushrooms as much as the next guy but consider this.  If there was no death in God's original creation that may have applied to plant life as well, if there is no decaying dead plant life (biomass) for fungus to grow was there mushrooms in the pre-sin earth? it is possible that there weren't, maybe mushrooms and all forms of fungi came in with the curse, thorns, blood sucking insects and all things that grow only on decay because there was possibly no decay.  These suppositions can not be proven or disproven I am just carrying some of these thought to their logical extreme.

            The molecules to man evolutionary world view holds that plants evolved just like all life. an over simplified explanation is that it started with the simplest microscopic one celled algae progressing to nonvascular and finally vascular plant life. On the surface this small and simple to large and complex approach makes sense to us, however when we look at the complexity of even the simplest life form we discover quiet another reality.  Wile the vascular qualities of plants and trees is clearly a complex mechanisms, Most mature trees drink about 50 gallons of water a day.  It is also true that the complex genetic mechanisms if micro plant organisms are equally and in some cases more complex that those of larger plant life. so size does not necessarily dictate complexity.

            We have already addressed the issue of time with regard to a biblical world view verses an evolutionary worldview.  However another point that need to be addressed when discussing life is its homogeneous nature.  What does this mean? well All life is composed of similar or identical parts or elements.  We make comparisons and find that all life shares many similar characteristics and while we can compare many, organs, tissues, exoskeletons, endoskeletons, hair, scales, or feathers.  The easy place to make comparisons is in the realm of genetic material, because all life has this for of information to tell elements and the chemistry what to do for the organism to live.  50 to 60 percent of our DNA is identical to that of a Banana, we share a 90 percent similarity with all mammals, and there is only a 2 percent difference between humans and chimpanzees, And all human beings are 99.9% genetically identical. When you consider that the fullness of human diversity is wrapped up in less that .01% of our genetic make up.  This shows you how far apart genetically 2 percent really is when comparing humans and chimps. Depending on your world view you can draw one of two conclusion from this information.

            1. The evolutionary worldview; there is no real purpose or meaning to any of this it all follows basic naturalistic laws that just exist, so you can see in the homogeneous nature of all life that we all over time evolved form a common ancestor in a primordial soup some exact number of millions of years.

            2. The Biblical worldview; there is real purpose or meaning in all if this and it follows basic laws that God put in place, so you can see in the homogeneous nature of all life that we all have a common creator who loves and cares for His creation.
Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #26
Kinds vs Specie
            Welcome back to the lab. The subject matter at hand is biology and today I would like to venture into the branch of biology called zoology.  We have discussed the building blocks of life and the laws that concern how they function. We briefly visited the botany lab in a discussion on plant life. We also took a little side path through the dating methodology: old earth assumptions & methods, young earth assumptions & methods, and some of the flaws and limitations of these dating methods.

            After discussing the life God created on the third day, it seems only logical to address the life he created on the fifth day (swimmers and flyers), and the sixth day (every thing else). We will reserve Homo Sapiens for a separate discussion on anthropology.  Zoology is the branch of biology that relates to the animal kingdom, including the structure, embryology, classificationhabits, and distribution of all animals, both living and extinct.  While the ancient category of natural history is where zoology has its roots, this field of study as we know it today developed in the early 1700's.  As part of the biological classification system, animalia is one of what are now six categories or kingdoms of life. When we discuss biblical kinds, it is a little bit different than the broad spectrum of biological classifications from kingdom down to species.  Biblical kinds would fall somewhere between Genus and Subfamily, the kinds of which there are currently thousands of categories.  This becomes an important point of discussion in connection with the biblical narrative because there are currently over 8.7 million identified species on earth, with estimates that there are quite possibly as many as 100 million species on earth, but they have just not all been discovered yet.  This large number is pointed to as evidence that Noah could never have fit all those species on the ark.

            However, a simple rational analysis of the animal kinds created on the 5th and 6th day will logically show that Noah could have easily fit (with room to spare) the required living genetic material in fertile pairs sent to him by God.  First, let’s eliminate the obvious non-passengers—the swimmers including fish, sea mammals, some flightless birds, and a number of other things that can live in very wet conditions for extended periods of time. Next, we can reduce the remaining animal population to about 2000 kinds of land animals using taxonomy and syngameon relationships.  Taxonomy: the science which deals with the study of identifying, grouping, and naming organisms according to their established natural relationships, placing them within the biological classification system. After they have been put into these similar groupings, the number of groups is further reduced by determining their syngameon group. Syngameon: a grouping determined by  identifying genetically related organisms that may or may not be morphologically similar, and that may even belong to different genera, but they are interfertile.  For example, most species of dogs are interfertile. We also see this in horses, turtles, and many types of birds. Even though you can use these two simple tools to reduce the number to 2000, to give the benefit of the doubt in all questionable cases, you could expand the grouping to 16,000 animals on the ark and still have room left over because so many of the species groups would be so small, weighing less than 10 grams. Only about 250 animals would have been over that weight.  A full feasibility study was done on Noah's Ark regarding this subject by John Woodmorappe and published by the Institute for Creation Research in El Cajon, California.

            The biblical narrative is very dependable on the diverse nature of the animal kingdom.  God filled His creation with teaming, swarming, vibrant life in the water, the air, and all over and in the ground.  Everywhere you turn, He reminds you how much He loves you by supplying for your every physical and emotional need through His animal kingdom. He gave you fish and all water life for you to enjoy in the sea, or a river, in a lake or a tank or even on your plate. He supplied you with birds to soar through His beautiful blue skies, to greet you in the mornings with delightful songs, and to give you another reason to wash your car.  He provided a myriad of wild and domesticated animals to inhabit His vast wilderness and provide for our nutritional needs, supply us with materials for comfortable clothing, and to comfort us with companionship in warm fuzzy pets that soothe our hearts.  Enjoy the wonder of His creation today.             

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #27
            Welcome back to the lab. The subject matter at hand is biology and we have discussed many aspects of this field of study but we have not ventured into the amazing field of genetics.  This is such a large topic that I will cover it in a cursory fashion, encouraging you to do some research yourself on this body of data that begs the question: where did all this information come from? So let's jump into the primordial soup, shall we?

            Genetics deals with the amazing instruction manual inside every living cell that is packed with gigabytes of information telling proteins how to construct, reproduce and maintain themselves in every living thing.  This is an amazing amount of information that has an almost indescribable level of complexity.  If you believe (as I do) that an omnipotent Being designed all this, in essence "miracle-d" it into existence to satisfy His own creative nature, and that this unbelievable level of complex and delicately balanced information which functions in a way that makes the most sophisticated symphonic composition or the most impressive engineering feat in human history seem as the scribbling of a child with a fat crayon, then only through faith will it make perfect sense to you.  

            However the bulk of the scientific community today looks at this and sees a purposeless result of eons of time combined with impossible odds and natural selection. The scientific field of Genetics is the study of genesheredity, and variation in living organisms.  Genetics deals with the molecular structure and function of genes, examining patterns of inheritance from parent to offspring, gene distribution, variation and change in populations. Given that genes are universal to living organisms, genetics can be applied to the study of all living systems: viruses, bacteria, plants, animals and humans.

            The science of genetics began with the work of Gregor Mendel in the mid-19th century.  The science as we understand it today speaks of ribonucleic acid (RNA) and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), and how this microscopic double helix fashions proteins into life.  This was first discovered by James Watson and Francis Crick.  They presented this finding in a scientific paper in April of 1953 describing the structure of the DNA-helix. In this paper they said, "This structure has novel features which are of considerable biological interest." This is probably one of science's most famous understatements.  Nine years later, in 1962, they shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Maurice Wilkins, for solving one of biology's biggest riddles. Half a century later, important new implications of this great discovery are still coming to light, not the least of which is where did all of this complex information come from?

            Every single aspect of every living thing is dictated by this instruction manual, and within each species is an amazing adaptive mechanism contained in that genetic code that enables it to adapt to its environment. (read micro evolution) The genetic information does not change—it is just that certain attributes are turned on or off to suit the environment. It is amazing how the descendants of primordial ooze can do such adaptive intelligent things, but even more amazing is that it is commonly held that this is a product of chance.  It seems to me to be an act of blind faith, to believe this all to be pointless happenstance.  This process can clearly be seen in the human race with its wide diversity of appearance (contained in less that .001% of our DNA) which can be attributed to multiple generations living in the same regions over long periods of time (thousands of years) giving us lighter skin and straighter hair in colder darker regions and darker skin and curlier hair in hotter, brighter regions.  The Human Gnome project took 13 years to map the composition of human DNA, identifying approximately 20,000-25,000 genes, determined by the sequences of 3 billion chemical base pairs.  While this large project identified all the parts, we are still largely ignorant of the function of over 97% of this genetic material.  This used to be called Junk DNA, because we do not know what it does so we assumed it had no function.  However, there is increasing evidence that there is no junk DNA at all.  In recent years, it has been found to have various roles. This means that this so-called "non-coding DNA" influences the behavior of the genes, the "coding DNA," in important ways.

            We are just about done with our tour of the biology wing of the institute.  I think we will wrap things up in the next month or two with a brief discussion on the topic of natural selection and some thoughts on the subject of anthropology. See you then.  Have a blessed day.

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #28
Closing thoughts on Biology
            Welcome back to the lab. The subject matter at hand is biology and we have been studying this topic for most of the year.  I would like to touch on a couple more things on this subject and wrap up our study in this field of science.  There are two thorns in the side of those in the macro-evolution camp: one is "Natural Selection" also known as "Survival of the Fittest" and the other is the pesky discovery of T-Rex red blood cells. Yes, you read correctly—we will get to the particulars of Dr. Mary Schweitzer's find after talking about natural selection.

            Natural Selection on the surface seems to be a harmless mechanism built into the evolution-leaning mindset which claims the following: "Over time" all living things mutate into stronger, better, faster, smarter living things and because of this, the more fit new life forms will "over time" out think and out maneuver their less capable ancestors.  This will "over long periods of time" lead to stronger, better, faster, smarter living things.  If a person holds that Natural Selection is evolution’s tool for the improvement of all living things, they will find themselves running into two logical hard road blocks. One is scientific and the other is philosophical.
            First the scientific problem is that genetic mutations are always, always the result of a loss of genetic information or a malfunction in that information and this always, always makes the organism less viable.  Do some mutations cause beneficial side affects? Like sickle cell anemia and malaria, yes. However it is still an anemic condition and has more bad side affects than good ones.  This means that all mutations, all mutations make an organism on the losing side of a "survival of the fittest" scenario. Therefore the mechanism does not work to advance evolution, even though it is still taught as fact in all of our schools today.  Interesting side note, if you Google "beneficial mutation" you will find example after example of genetic adaptation which is not mutation at all but genetic material doing what God designed it to do, allowing organisms to adapt to their environment as discussed in last months article.  So if anything, natural selection is an argument against macro-evolution because "over time" it decreases the available amount of genetic material, causing less complexity and more harmful mutations.  In essence—leading to devolution. 

            The philosophical problem of holding this position is that all superior living things should rightly take hold of and manage, for their own benefit, all of the resources in any given ecosystem.  You must then champion the cause of selfishness and condemn as misguided all unselfish acts.  This means that natural selection culls out the weak, while favoring the strong.  We can see this occurring in the animal kingdom, even though we do see occasional acts of kindness with one animal raising as their own the infants of another species  But for the most part, dog eat dog, strong devouring the weak, that is what a survival of the fittest position must logically hold to.  This leads to an inconsistency between humanity and this philosophy. The acts of people like Hitler, Pol Pot, Mao Tse-tung, Mussolini, and any other acts of genocide can be justified under this philosophy as a culling out the weak.  Abuse of the environment could also be justified under this philosophy.  Selfless acts of kindness and mercy would be condemned as a violation of the precepts of this philosophy, not just because it is seen as a waste of valuable resources on the weak, but acts of kindness would also be seen as slowing  progress toward the strongest, best and smartest any species has the potential to develop into. It is this mindset that led to eugenics, racism, and the holocaust in the late 1800's and early to mid 1900's and is still with us today in the murder mills of Planned Parenthood.

            T-Rex blood cells: So let’s conclude our study of biology with the discovery of soft connective tissue and red blood cells in "68 million" year-old T-Rex bones. Dr. Mary H Schweitzer, a paleontologist at North Carolina State University, first published her findings in 1993. They discovered red blood cells in dinosaur fossils and later discovered soft tissue remains in a Tyrannosaurus Rex specimen.  Dr. Schweitzer is the first researcher to identify and isolate soft tissues in fossil bone.  Recent discoveries have been found in other fossils as well.  Since Dr. Schweitzer's discovery, the scientific community has come up with many failed attempts to explain how this soft tissue could exist in "68 million" year-old fossils.  The problem for them is that simple chemistry prohibits any soft tissue (no matter how it is preserved) from lasting more than tens of thousands of years.  In most cases even under the best preservative conditions, in thousands of years the tissue would break down to its base elements and no longer have any identifiable structure.  Instead of questioning the age of the find, the current position of the scientific community is that they do not yet understand how this material could have been preserved for so long, but they are sure that science will eventually discover the process.  Sounds like faith!

            This concludes our tour of the biology wing of the Institute. We will transition from the biology wing to the geology wing after making a quick stop in the Anthropology lab next month, See you then.  Have a blessed day.

In Christ,
Pastor Portier
Saint Paul Lutheran Church
1610 Pullen Road, Sevierville TN,
Phone: 865-365-8551
Service times: Sun 8:30 & 11:00, Wed 7 PM

Archaeology Wing Lessons # 7 to # 17

          Welcome to the Archeological wing of the institute.  These lessons #7 through #17 will give you an amazing tour through much of what archeological evidence has to say about the validity of Scripture

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #7
            Welcome to class.  Please take out your Bibles and prepare to take copious notes as the information that follows is of great value….
            We have examined the truth of God’ word from numerous angles and I would like to start an in-depth look into the relationship between archeology and God’s word.  To begin this walk we must first define archeology and its origins.  Middle Eastern and Oriental cultures as early as 1000 years ago can claim the earliest interest in the collecting of artifacts.  But it was not until the 18th century that we find a German, Johann Wickelmann who is considered the father of modern day archeology, his focus was primarily art history and architecture.  Britain was the first country to develop a systematic approach to archaeology and to recognize it as a discipline in its own right.  The first individuals to take a serious interest in the subject were clergymen.  Many were motivated by the benefits of collecting artifacts as physical evidence for Biblical historic narratives.

            As we look at archeology we must acknowledge bias.  There are those who believe that human reason stands above God’s word and that bias will lead to archeological conclusions that contradict scripture.  I stand with those who hold God’s word to be above human reason; this bias will lead to archeological conclusions that are in harmony with scripture.  The question in not are archeologist biased the question is what is their bias.  I see all fields of study through the lens of God’s word.  Therefore as Christians we do not determine, regulate or judge what God’s word says, with the help of the Holy Spirit we discover, recognize and witness to what God’s word says.  Those things which on the surface appear to be illogical we place in the realm of mysteries of the faith such as miracles or the resurrection, we proclaim these truths as soundly as any logical truth.

            In the discipline of Archeology there has been no discovery to date that in anyway has contradicted or disproven scriptural truth.  There have been archeologist that make such claims but these are clearly speculations based on their bias, not indisputable facts based in observable evidence.  There are however many thousands of archeological finds and many of them reflect favorably on biblical accounts and in numerous cases affirming in various ways the accuracy of Holy Scripture in its detailed historical accounts.                      

            First let’s look at some archeological finds that have some bearing on the flood account found in Genesis.  There are Sumerian king list from circa 2100 BC that that is in two parts kings before and after the great flood. This list is of special interest to the biblical archaeology because of its antediluvian or pre-flood portion for two reasons. First, it mentions a pre-flood civilization, a great flood, and second, the pre-flood kings have very long life-spans (seen by their long reigns), and after the flood, the life-spans drop dramatically.  The length of reigns gradually decreases until they reflect ordinary life-spans.  There are problems with the time spans but these two similarities are of great significance, allowing us to consider that both accounts refer to the same historical event, and only one account is divinely inspired.

            There are examples of world wide flood accounts with a select group being rescued by God on a boat in many cultures found on all the continents.  Let’s examine one more artifact this month. Tablet 11 of the epic of Gilgamesh from the 7th century BC is similar to the Genesis account in many details.  Here is a quick list of the similarities; man’s transgression, divine destruction, favored family, Ark provided, destruction by water & universal, man saved, animals saved, landing on mountain, birds sent out, survivors worship, Survivors favored by God.  While there are many differences as well, the similarities between this and may other accounts and God’s inspired argue for the historicity of the Biblical account.

            We have just entered a vast store house of archeological artifacts that will take some time to go through.  Join me next month as we brush the dust off of some more interesting finds.          

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #8
            Welcome to class.  Please take out your Bibles and prepare to take copious notes as the information that follows is of great value….
            Let’s jump right in to some archeological artifacts and brush the dust off of some very interesting finds that shed some light on biblical truth.

            The ancient town of Ur, Abram’s (who later becomes Abraham) home town, fell to the Elamites around 1940 BC.  This town is believed by many archeologists to have been the biggest city in the world from 2030 BC to 1980 BC, with a population of over 65,000 people.  This evidence is interesting when you consider that according to scripture, Abram left the once great and now conquered and declining Ur around 1925 BC, seeking greener pastures in Haran.  A coincidence? I think not.

            There are interesting paintings in an Egyptian tomb called Beni Hasan dating from around 1900 BC that bear a strange resemblance to the detailed descriptions of Abram and his people. A coincidence? I think not.

            The law code of Hammurabi, which pre-dates the Exodus by about 300 years, bears a remarkable witness that there was a common-law code in the ancient Near East.  Hammurabi’s code is clearly corrupt in many ways when you consider its substance, however it does point to the reality that all Semitic peoples share a common ancestry through Noah’s son Shem.  This common ancestry is why the biblical codes and other Near Eastern law codes have similarities.      A coincidence? Or evidence of a loving and involved creator and redeemer?

            The Hittites are mentioned over 20 times in scripture and critics claimed for centuries that they never existed.  However in about 1832, a pesky archeologist by the name of Charles Texier discovered the capital city of Hattusas, in what is now Turkey, some 100 kilometers from the Black Sea and 150 miles from Ankara. Occupied between about 1600 and 1200 BC, Boghazkoy (its modern name) is most famous for the recovery of over 10,000 cuneiform tablets.  No coincidence—only evidence of scriptural accuracy and authority.

            The Nuzi Tablets, a collection of 20,000 baked clay cuneiform tablets dating between 1500 BC and 1401 BC, bear remarkable similarity to the culture and costumes recorded for the same period in Genesis.  Are practices such as marriage, adopting an heir, surrogate mothers and inheritance, a coincidence? Clearly not.

            The modern day village of Haran sits atop its ancient predecessors which even predate Abram and his arrival.  Near Haran are also found the villages of Serug and Nahor, Abram’s grandfather and great-grandfather.  Besides the relocation reasons mentioned earlier, Joshua 24:2 mentions Terah (the father of Abraham) worshiped other gods, and both Ur and Haran shared the same main deity the moon god.  Just coincidence, or further evidence of historical accuracy of the biblical account… you decide.

            Let us finish up this month with a visit to Egypt and the eastern Nile delta area.  Scripture tells us that the Israelites were slaves in the cities of Pithom and Raamses.  Tell el-Daba (a tell is a mound or hill that was once a town or city) is today identified as the ancient city of Raamses and not far away is Tell El-Retaba, currently believed to be the city of Pithom.  Both of these could be considered to be in the region of Goshen.  Many scholars believe the location of Raamses and the Israelites either overlap or could be one and the same.  In essence, the city of Raamses may have been build over where the Israelites lived in Goshen.  This is an unpopular view due to weaknesses in the Egyptian (man-made) timeline which many hold to religiously, and because it fits so nicely with biblical timelines and accounts.  Academia as a whole is not interested in things that concur with biblical truth; they see it not as a source of information but something to be critiqued.  But you will not find an archeologist in the Middle or Near East who does not have as a reference book some translation of the Holy Bible.  Odd, don’t you think?
Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #9
            Welcome to class.  Please take out your Bibles and prepare to take copious notes as the information that follows is of great value….

            Let’s break out our brush again and knock some dust off more interesting archeological artifacts. This veritable mountain of ancient treasures all makes perfect sense in light of God’s truth.  But I will try to give a more abbreviated list or we will never get out of the field of archeology.

Horned altars the bible describes them in detail, many are found in the archeological record  
Pharaoh Merneptha claims on a 7 foot tall stele (tablet) to have conquered the Israelites in 1230 BC. Hmmm if he conquered them in battle maybe they existed.  This same battle is depicted on a long wall in the great Karnak Temple dated at around 1209BC. 

Jericho is a gold mine of biblical evidence.  The city walls have clearly fallen due to numerous “earthquakes” that seem to be to unique to that little piece of property.  There are some who claim the walls have clearly fallen outward.  There were so many cities on that little hill today known as “Tell es-sultan” it is uncertain which one Joshua conquered.  However here are some interesting biblical facts about it. In Joshua 6 verse 26 it says   “Joshua laid an oath on them at that time, saying, "Cursed before the Lord be the man who rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho.” "At the cost of his firstborn shall he lay its foundation, and at the cost of his youngest son shall he set up its gates." Then a little over 500 years later some arrogant or ignorant guy by the name of Hiel put God to the test. We find this in I Kings 16:34 where it says In his days Hiel of Bethel built Jericho. He laid its foundation at the cost of Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the Lord, which he spoke by Joshua the son of Nun. Now today’s scholars will say the scribes made these two accounts connect, while dismissing the linguistic and archeological evidence that separates the these two text.  And there is the strange coincidence that the tell or hill is still uninhabited today.  It is on the northwestern edge of the area that is today called Jericho surrounded by farms. But no one lives in or on the site and the evidence strangely suggest no one has lived on that particular hill for oh say about 3000 years.  The town however claims a 9000 year old heritage attached to that hill. This is actually an abbreviated discussion on Jericho.

Temple of Rameses III has a carving on one of its wall describing a pesky sea people called the Philistines.  Another group of people that is well described in scripture and archeological evidence, mountains of it, validate biblical truth.

Canaanite gods & goddesses. In the 1930’s hundreds of stories were found on clay tablets in the city of Ugarit in Syria.  These tablets speak of Asherah, Astarte and Ashtaroth, amazingly these are the same names recorded for the Canaanite gods in Numbers, 1 Kings, Jeremiah and Hosea.

Dan is another amazing little town in northern Israel, evidence of Laish a Canaanite town that was destroyed in 1150 BC and then built upon and inhabited by Israelites. Just as recorded in Judges and 1 Kings.  You will find the same archeological story throughout Israel, Canaanite town destroyed Jewish town built on the ruins; Megiddo, Hazor and many others.

Ashkelon, lets finish up today’s lesson with an ancient seaport.  Ancient Israel never conquered this philistine stronghold.  However four of God’s prophets predicted its demise; Amos, Jeremiah, Zephaniah and Zechariah all predicted its destruction and in 604 BC Nebuchadnezzar destroyed it completely.  Strangely enough excavations that were begun in the 1980’s provide much evidence for this fulfilled prophecy.                

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #10
            Welcome to class.  Please take out your Bibles and prepare to take copious notes as the information that follows is of great value….

            Let’s break out our brush again and knock some dust off more interesting archeological artifacts. This veritable mountain of ancient treasures all makes perfect sense in light of God’s truth.  But I will try to give a more abbreviated list or we will never get out of the field of archeology.

Cities: here is a small list of Middle Eastern cities or towns that either have or have had archeological digs that validate biblical chronologies with regard to those places: Gezer, Shiloh, Ashdod, Beth Shemesh, the pool at Gibia, Gibeah, Beth Shean, Jerusalem, Beersheba, Samaria, Hazor, Carchemish, Babylon, Suza, Nazereth, Bethsaida, Cana, Capernaum, Gergesa, Sychar, Jericho, Bethany, Tiberias, Ceasarea Philippi, Megiddo, Sepphoris, the ten cities of the Decapolis, Damascus, Areopagus, Corinth, Ephesus, multiple Antioch’s, Thessalonica, Smyrna, Pergamum, and Sardis.  This is really only a very small sampling of a very large list of such places.

House of David: the inscription found on a piece of stone at Tel Dan, this is the first extra biblical mention of King David.

Ivory: decorative ivory ornaments, and other objects with Hebrew inscriptions, have been found in several sites in Palestine dating to the time of King Solomon.  They may not come from his ivory and gold covered throne, but they do give evidence of a unique craft in use at the time and place of the biblical Solomon.

Ancient donation receipt: ostracon, the word for pieces of pottery used for notes, messages and receipts.  Because they are made of pottery, they can be dated very accurately. There is a 2800 year old ostracon that is a receipt for a donation of 3 shekels to the house of Yahweh.  Hmmmm Solomon’s Temple anyone???

Royal Seals:  a number of royal seals carved out of precious stone have been discovered.  These seals bear the names of Uzziah, Hoshea, Hezekiah and Solomon.  They went to a lot of trouble to carve these stones for kings that many skeptics say never existed and are the stuff of cultural legend, not history.

Things carved in stone: there are many things carved in stone that are a real problem for those who seek to dismiss biblical history.  On a Moabite stone, King Mesha brags of fighting off the king of the Israel and even uses that phrase “house of David” on the stone.  Shalmaneser’s black obelisk brags of conquering the Israelites.  Lachish has a 62 foot long relief boasting of the defeat of Israel, and Sennacherib had a 15 inch tall 6 sided prism carved claiming to have vanquished Israel.  Pharaoh Shishak describes on the walls of the temple of Karnack about invading Judah around 925 BC.  A lot of kings had a lot of carving done to brag of their defeat of Israel that just happens to jive chronologically with scripture.  And for those who would argue that the Israelites were just a small band of nomads, consider this:  do kings brag about destroying a large and powerful nation or do they brag about defeating a small band of shepherds.  When you put it that way, the stone seems to speak for itself.

I think we will have done a pretty thorough summary of the field of archeology in a few more sessions so that we can then move on to the realm of general science by this summer sometime.

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #11
            Welcome to class.  Please take out your Bibles and prepare to take copious notes as the information that follows is of great value….

            Let’s wrap up our discussion on Old Testament archeology with a few more interesting
archeological artifacts. Then we can move on to some archeological support for some New Testament finds.

Burial Plaque: On the Mt of Olives stands a Russian church and on its grounds is a burial plaque that states the following “Here the bones of Uzziah, King of Judah were brought do not open”  someone went to a lot of trouble to carve a burial plaque that fits in the culture and architecture of the reign of King Uzziah circa 775-725 BC or this is just another piece of evidence for the scriptural accuracy of Chronicles and the whole of Scripture.    

A commemorative inscription: in 701 BC King Hezekiah completed a tunnel which allowed for the safe gathering of water from the Gihon spring without leaving the safety of the city walls.  In 1880 to boys playing in the tunnel discovered an inscription in the wall of the tunnel that celebrated the completion of this tunnel.  Confirming exactly as recorded the accounts in 2 Kings 20 and 2 Chronicles 32.  a clear physical witness to biblical accuracy.  

The Hezir Family: 1 Chronicles 14 and Nehemiah 10 mention this priestly line and a complex and elaborate burial site in the Kidron valley carries this same name and three generations buried in this tomb.  Hezir was on the list of priests during reign of Kind David.  This is no coincidence this is evidence of a culture and a people matching God’s Holy word.

Pleas for Help:  In 1935 an archeologist discover 21 letters in the ruins of the ancient city of Lachish, these letters (on ostracon) pleaded for help from the city of Judah. Their content concur historically with the events prophesied by Jeremiah and recorded in 2 Kings of the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon in 587 BC   

The Dead Sea Scrolls: These amazing scrolls, some of them almost 2300 years old contain some or all of 38 of the 39 Old Testament books, only Ester is missing. Some of these text are over 1000 years older that our oldest copy when they were discovered in 1947.  this 1000 year gap was bridged amazingly there were no errors that in any way affected the text meaning.  These are a miraculous witness to scriptures divine origin, accuracy and infallibility!!

Over 2600 years old: That is how old the piece of jewelry found in a tomb in Jerusalem is.  On this ear ring was as silver scroll, and on this scroll are carved the oldest existing word of scripture the word often referred to as the Arronic blessing, found in Numbers 6:24-26.  you may have herd similar words at the close of worship. “The Lord bless you and keep you, make His face shine on you and be gracious to you, the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you Peace.”

            This blessing is a great place to complete our study of archeology from an Old Testament prospective.  Tune in next month when we will examine some artifact from the time of Christ and the early Church.

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #12
            Welcome to class.  Please take out your Bibles and prepare to take copious notes as the information that follows is of great value….

            Let’s continue our discussion on archeology but let’s shift our attention to some more recent historical events—let’s say around 2010 years ago to 1985 years ago.  In essence let’s look at some of the sites from the life of Christ that reflect great consistency with the biblical narrative contained in the Gospel accounts of His life. 

The Church of the Nativity: There are ancient records that record the cave upon which this church was built, and which was a point of Christian pilgrimage as early as the first century AD.  Whether or not it is the exact cave upon which this church was built, this almost 1700 year old church is clearly in a place and in the town that fits the biblical narrative.  The Holy Land is filled with many Churches built on similar locations.  The annunciation, the crucifixion, and many other significant events in Christ’s life are marked with churches in the locations where those events happened.  Some may be yards from the actual location but few biblical scholars question whether most of these churches sit in the general location of these biblical events.

The City of Woe: Bethsaida has had much archeological work done since its discovery in 1987.  Biblical maps made since that date now accurately show this dried up harbor city which is the birth place and home town of Peter, Andrew and Philip.  Only Jerusalem and Capernaum are mentioned more in the Gospel accounts than Bethsaida.  But Jesus condemned Bethsaida, as recorded in Matthew 11:21 and Luke 10:13.  The town was destroyed around 66-68 AD and never rebuilt.    

Capernaum Synagogue: During His ministry in Galilee, Jesus taught and healed at the synagogue in Capernaum.  There is clearly a black basalt foundation from the time of Christ beneath the ruins of a synagogue built some 350 years later.  It is easy to tell the difference between the two because the newer stones are white.

Jericho: The accent city of Jericho remains uninhabited. However, there is a modern city that bears its name close by and there was a city close by in Jesus’ day as well.  That is the location of Herod the Great’s winter palace--the same Herod who was King when Jesus was born.  It also is the same place that Jesus met Zacchaeus the tax collector.  That’s right—the same short man in the sycamore tree from the Sunday school song.  There was a heavily traveled road between Jerusalem and Jericho, the same one Jesus used in His parable of the Good Samaritan.  The historical accuracy of scripture is a real thorn in the side of those who would dismiss it as fable and myth.

Bethesda: The pool by the sheep gate with the five covered colonnades where Jesus healed the cripple man as recorded in John 5:2.  You can visit the ruins of that pool today.  It has been unearthed since 1956, and portions of all five porticos have been reconstructed as well.

Lazarus: Let’s end this month with a resurrection.  The town of Bethany exists and was a regular stopping point for Jesus and His apostles as they traveled to and from Jerusalem.  Bethany had a cemetery and about 1700 years ago a church was built over what is believed to be the tomb from which Lazarus was raised from the dead.  That tomb was preserved and is open to the public today. It is empty just like the one in the church of the Holy Sepulcher, but the resident of the tomb in Bethany returned to the grave while the resident of the tomb of the Holy Sepulcher conquered death and sits at the right hand of God and is daily present in your life.     

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #13

Welcome to class. Please take out your Bibles and prepare to take copious notes as the information that follows is of great value….

Let’s continue our discussion on archeology that we started last month, shifting our attention to some more recent historical times. The archeological evidence for a real historical Christ, when you weigh the biblical events of his ministry against that evidence, is quite astounding.

Pontius Pilate: He was not some fictitious character but the real historically verified governor of Judea, a roman vassal state in the time of Christ. Besides Jewish historical accounts of his leadership in the region and many traditions of his Italian origins and life, Eusebius sited some early apocryphal accounts that claim Pilate suffered misfortune in the reign of Caligula (AD 37–41), and was exiled to Gaul where he eventually committed suicide in Vienne. There are also ruins of a small Roman house known as "The House of Pilate" in the town of Abruzzo in central Italy.  In 1961 however, real carved-in-stone evidence was found in the ruins of a temple dedicated to Emperor Tiberius (another name matching biblical accounts) by none other than the region’s governor—Pontius Pilate.

Caiaphas:  His ossuary (a traditional Jewish box for human bones) was found in 1990 just south of Jerusalem and is now on display in the Israel Museum. The name, date, and other bones and ossuaries found in the tomb, make it very likely that this contained the bones of the same man who brought Jesus to trial.

Crucifixion: There is much evidence for the practice of crucifixion for execution in many ancient historical accounts, but there is also one solid piece of physical evidence in the form of a heel bone that was discovered in 1968 with a Nail through it, used to nail the person to something, presumably a cross.

King Herod: (74BC-1BC)  He was the great builder of Herodium, his 45 acre palace about 2 miles south of Bethlehem, which is one of his many well known architectural achievements. (This is the same Herod who ordered the slaughter of the innocents in Bethlehem.) Some of Herod's other well-known architectural accomplishments are Masada, the whole city of Caesarea Maritima, and also Jerusalem's second temple of which only the massive foundation area still stands, held up by what we know today as the Wailing Wall.  This is not to mention the large quarry discovered by Yuval Baruch on September 25, 2007, which was used to supply the second temple project.  Coins, pottery and iron stakes found there proved the date of the quarrying to be about 19 BC.  Many clear examples exist of this real historical king who sought to murder the Son of God as recorded in scripture. No one debates the existence of Herod or his monuments, just his attempt to kill the promised messiah, because that would require acknowledging the historicity of Christ.  It is dismissed not on evidence or lack thereof, but on preconceived notions which do not acknowledge or even allow for the possibility of Christ.

The Madaba Mosaic Map: This amazing 1450 year old map accurately represents the holy land from Egypt to Lebanon, including Sinai, Israel, Palestine, and Transjordan. This decorative church floor covering is the oldest map of this region found to date and the best topographical representation of the area in 560AD. Most amazing is that it identifies in writing the names and locations of numerous important biblical events and where they took place. What remains of the map identifies 156 locations by name, of which only about 25 have not been positively identified. This map is so cool it has its own website check it out ( or just Google Madaba Map.

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #14
            Welcome to class.  Please take out your Bibles and prepare to take copious notes as the information that follows is of great value….

            Let’s continue our discussion on archeology, with our attention on some more recent historical times about 2000 years ago.  The archeological evidence for a real historical Christ in the context of a biblical world view is very revealing when you weigh the biblical events of his ministry against the existing evidence of culture, architecture, and other archeological finds. 

A Boat from the time of Christ was discovered in the Sea of Galilee during a drought in 1986.  The craft and the coins and pottery found onboard were well preserved in the low oxygen, salty mud of the sea.  All date to the time of Christ and fit the context of the time as described in God’s Word.

The City of Tiberias:  The home of Herod Antipas still exists today.  The main gate from the time of Christ was discovered during a dig from 1973-1974, and there are many other sites in and around the city that bear witness to the city from which Herod Antipas came and where Jesus did much of His ministry.  The Gospel of Luke records that when Jesus was brought before Pontius Pilate for trial, he handed him over to Antipas, in whose territory Jesus had been active. However, Antipas sent him back to Pilate, because Jesus would not entertain him. The legal basis for these events, and the very historicity of Antipas' involvement in the trial are difficult for the
Minimalist to dismiss, but since they cannot dispute the evidence, they attack the messenger by accusing Luke of later inserting the historic facts.  It is easier for me to question their motives than those of the great evangelist Saint Luke and the Holy Spirit who guided his pen.

Two Ceasareas: Many places were named for Caesar during Roman rule, but two of these cities play a prominent role in scripture. First is Ceasarea Philippi, the same one mentioned in Matthew, Mark and Acts, and the site of archeological digs since 1990.  Situated 25 miles north of the Sea of Galilee and at the base of Mt. Hermon, Caesarea Philippi is the location of one of the largest springs feeding the Jordan River. The palace of Herod Agrippa the 2nd was discovered here and matches the description given by the Jewish historian Josephus.  This is the same Herod before whom Saint Paul defended the faith in Acts, chapter 26.  The second city is one I have had the privilege of visiting. Ceasarea Maritima is situated just south of Haifa and north of Tel Aviv, Israel, on the Mediterranean coast.  This has been the site of archeological activity for over 60 years.  Here are some of the things discovered there: Herod the Great’s completely man-made Harbor (using special underwater concrete foundations), streets, the amphitheater, the hippodrome, the market place, shops, miles of aqueducts, temples, homes and a palace complex on a hill overlooking the whole city.  At its peak, this small city of 164 acres was home to over 100,000 people.  This became the capital of the Roman Provence of Judea.  It is where Pontius Pilate lived and is the location for many events in the book of Acts.  I cannot even begin to do justice to this archeological site which now covers over 8000 acres and only 5 acres have been uncovered and explored. Simply Google “Ceasarea Maritima” for more informationIt is a national park in Israel and there are dozens of reputable websites with great information on this mountain of archeological data that affirms and is a witness to the life and times of Christ and the early church.

Let’s finish with one more city this month.
Megiddo: This unassuming little town sits on a hill that overlooks a valley protecting the approaches to the hill county and the coast.  This vantage point has made it a military stronghold over the centuries.  This was also one of the locations where Solomon kept the horses for his chariots, and it was the location of many battles throughout history.  Its location plays a role in Christ’s revelation given to us by Saint John while on Patmos.  You see, the Hebrew word for mountain is “har” so if you translate mountain of Megiddo, you get Armageddon—the location mentioned in Revelation 16 after the sixth bowl of wrath, for the gathering of Kings for the final battle. Those to whom John was writing would have had clear knowledge of this location—not as an actual geographic location, but symbolizing the location of the great final battle between God and all the forces of evil.                        
            Tune in next month when we will continue to examine some artifacts from the time of Christ and the early Church.  We will look at a couple more cities and then maybe focus some deeper attention on the city of Jerusalem. 
Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #15
            Welcome to class.  Please take out your Bibles and prepare to take copious notes as the information that follows is of great value….

            Let’s continue our examination of artifacts from the time of Christ and the early Church.  We will look at 10 more cities and then focus some deeper attention on the city of Jerusalem.

            Decapolis: This is actually the name given to 10 cities (deca = 10 and polis = city).  This league of 10 cities, mentioned in Matthew 5:25, Mark 5:20 and 7:31, is where Greek language and culture flourished in the Holy Land and is for the most part spread to the east of the sea of Galilee and the Jordon river with the exception of Damascus to the north and Scythopolis on the west bank of the Jordon River.  All but one city has been positively identified, and the city of Dion may be associated with Tell el-Ashari among other possibilities.  People from those cities were present at the Sermon on the Mount and they also marveled when a man, who had demons cast out of him by Christ, proclaimed what Jesus did had done for him.  These are not fictitious accounts or places.  Our faith affirms their truth, while the places affirm their historicity.

               Stones:  Jesus quoted the psalmist (Psalm 118) when He said, “The stone the builders rejected will become the cornerstone.” The city of Jerusalem is a treasure trove of amazing stones with great stories to tell. Here are just a few.  The capstone to one of the temple towers was discovered at the base of the southwest wall of the Temple Mount. How do we know this was a temple capstone?  Because these towers had designated locations for the trumpeters to stand to blow the call to worship, and on this stone is carved “…to the place of the trumpeting.”  So it is clearly a capstone by its design and a temple capstone because of its inscription. The sundial, discovered by excavators in 1972, was calibrated for the sun’s movement in Jerusalem to mark time and seasons in accord with the Jewish calendar.  It has a menorah carved on the back, and was a likely tool for the priest who had to observe everything in its proper time.  The Entry Warning, located in 1871, is a slab with a warning to gentiles: “No gentile may enter within this temple barrier.”  This warning and others found just like it, carved in Greek, match those described by the Jewish historian Josephus. These were hung on a low wall that divided the public square from the sacred inner courtyard.  These low walls are alluded to when Saint Paul writes to the church at Ephesis in chapter 2, verse 4: “for he [Jesus] is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility.”  What do these three stones have in common? They along with thousands just like them are rock solid witnesses to the fulfillment of Jesus’ words found in Mark 13:2:  And Jesus said to him, "Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down." We know this to have been fulfilled in 70AD when the Romans crushed a Jewish rebellion, and to teach them a lesson, the Romans completely destroyed their temple.  These stones are all that remain of the once glorious second temple.  

            The Arch of Titus: One thousand nine hundred and forty years ago this past June, Rome had enough of the rebellious Judeans as mentioned in the last paragraph.  So the emperor sent his great general Titus to quell the rebellion and teach them a lesson.  The lesson he gave them was devastating.  He and his army demolished the city of Jerusalem, killing most of its inhabitants and flattened the 585 year old temple.  We can look at the Arch of Titus in the ancient Roman Forum to see all the treasures they carted off from the temple.  Clearly seen on this relief is the table for the showbread, the large menorah, and the sacred scroll of God’s law.

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #16
                                                    Welcome to class.  Please take out your Bibles and prepare to take copious notes as the information that follows is of great value….

                                                    Temple Mount, The Dome of the Rock, and the Ark of the Covenant.  An archeologist by the name of Leen Ritmeyer is well known in his field for putting forth interesting theories about the location of the Holy of Holies portion of the ancient Temple.  That Temple was destroyed in 70 AD and some 600 years later the Muslims built the “Dome of the Rock” (that big gold dome you see on most pictures of Jerusalem) on the same location.  Ritmeyer postulates with some convincing matching measurements that the wall foundations of the Holy of Holies and the carved spot where the Ark of the Covenant sat can be clearly seen and identified.  This rock has many cuts and scars on it from numerous construction and demolition events on that location over the millennia.  However the Dome of the Rock has stood in that location for over 1300 years and the marks Ritmeyer identifies match the measurements given in scripture, so that his postulations are quite possibly accurate for the location of this sacred place and this most holy relic.  Where is the Ark of the Covenant?  I believe that it was destroyed with the temple in 70 AD.  This is pure speculation based on my research of the many theories that debate its current existence and location.  What is important is that we know it did exist and it played a very important role in its 1500-year existence pointing toward the coming of the Messiah.

Let’s shift to the Apostle Paul and the early Church

                                                    Straight Street:  Today in Damascus, you can still walk down the street called Straight mentioned in Acts, Chapter 9, in which Paul was converted and made an apostle of Christ by Christ Himself.

                                                    Politarchs:  The believers in Acts 17:6 were dragged before these city authorities.  This term was found only in Scripture until recently and of course, used as a reason to discredit God’s word.  The term has since been found inscribed on stone 32 times, and 19 of them were found in Thessalonica where the events occurred that took place in the first part of Acts 17.

                                                    Areopagus: In the last part of Acts 17, Paul addressed the “Areopagus.” This hill still exists today in Athens and is know to be a place where a council of the city met.  Areopagus means the hill of Ares or Mars and that was also the name of the council that met there. It is amazing to consider that the word of God is so clear and accurate that you can still today stand in a place that is known to be the very location that this great witnessing event took place.  In fact, there are even altars in Greece and Rome inscribed with a dedication to the unknown god.

                                                    Gallio and the Bema:  In Acts 18, Paul is brought before Gallio who was the proconsul of Achaia. This would have taken place at a recently discovered Bema (platform for public addresses) in Corinth. Inscriptions have also been found that identify Gallio as the proconsul of Achaia.

                                                    Ephesus: The ruins of this ancient city, once the home of the temple of Artemis (one of the 7 ancient wonders of the world), is also the location for a number of events in scripture.  Specifically, Acts 19 mentions the amphitheater where Paul’s traveling companions were dragged because Paul’s preaching was hurting the sale of silver statues of Artemis.                                                    

                                                    Erastus: He is mentioned by Paul in his final greetings at the end of the book of Romans.  He is mentioned as “Erastus, the city treasurer” and it just so happens that in 1929, a paving stone was located near the amphitheater in Corinth that names Erastus as a public official.

                                                    We may soon reach the end of our deep exploration of the field of archeology and I think we can start on our next field of study—biology—in just a couple of months.  But first a little more about the early church and some ancient manuscripts. 

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #17
            Welcome to class.  Please take out your Bibles and prepare to take copious notes as the information that follows is of great value….

            “All roads lead to Rome”: In my wife’s home town of Fussen Germany is evidence of this interesting little phrase.  The 700+ year old town has a historic marker on one of its many beautiful walking trails that displays evidence of a roman road that once passed on that location.  By the time Christ came to redeem the world Rome had built over 53000 miles of roads around their empire which promoted trade and communication throughout the entire Mediterranean and up into the British isles.  God’s timing was perfect for Christ to come in a time when His great Gospel could travel 53000 miles of newly constructed roads to carry His light into a dark and dying world, let’s look at some great examples of this early church growth.

            Antioch: in America we have six places called Antioch there are also six places called Antioch in Asia, however of the 19 times Antioch is mentioned in scripture most are in Acts and most have to do with the work of Paul and Barnabus during his first missionary journey starting what became one of the earliest and largest Christian communities in the early Church.  This town which today is called Antayak in southern Turkey on the Orontes river with a population of a little over 200,000 was a major Roman crossroad connecting many peoples, roads, a river and the Mediterranean.  Antioch was a main center of early Christianity. The city had a large population of Jewish origin in a quarter called the Kerateion, attracting early missionaries. Evangelized, among others, by Peter himself, according to the tradition upon which the Antiochene patriarchate still rests its claim for primacy.  Converts here were the first to be called ChristiansLarge 2000 years ago with a population estimated by Chrysostom to be about 100,000 people between 252 and 300AD ten assemblies of the church were held at Antioch and it became the seat of one of the four original patriarchates, along with  Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Rome.  The city’s slow growth over the last 2000 years is because it sat on the border between Christianity and Islam for many centuries, not to mention being in and out of the hands of Crusaders.  However because of its rich history it also is a treasure trove of archeological evidence which affirms its place in the history of the early Christian Church.

            Philippi: Located on the Roman road Via Egnatia this is the place where the Gospel was first preached on the European continent.  This was also a prominent seat of early Christianity where you can still see today ancient ruins of the Egnatian way, the Roman Forum, even possible locations of Paul’s imprisonment, and the place where Paul met Lydia who what one of the first converts to the Gospel he was preaching.

            Thessalonica: If you continue another 115 miles southeast on the major east-west corridor of Via Egnatia you will come the second largest city in Greece today Solonika.  Much of ancient Thessalonica lies beneath this modern city.  However the ruins of a number of early church buildings and other Roman and Christian artifacts affirm this as the same place Paul was expelled for preaching the Gospel and it is the same location to which He sent letters that are now part of God’s Holy Word.

            The 7 Churches of Revelation:  Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, & Laodicea are not fictitious places dreamed up by John.  They are real places, four of which have been extensively excavated.  These are now all modern towns or cities with names like Anatolia, Izmir, Akisar, Sart, and Alasehir, while the centers of Pergamum and Laodicea are not covered by modern towns.  These churches also show that there is nothing new under the sun, the same problems these early congregations had 2000 years ago; false apostles, false prophets, false teaching, having no fruits of faith, being worldly, spiritually poor, and blind to the needs of those around them.  Sounds sadly like many groups that call themselves the church today.

We have reached the end of our deep exploration of the field of archeology and will start on our next field of study, biology to start the new year, so break out your lab coats and your Bunsen burners.  Were going to talk about how Biology proclaims its creator.    

Thanks for attending S.M.B.I. …class dismissed J
In Christ,
Pastor Portier
Saint Paul Lutheran Church
1610 Pullen Road, Sevierville TN
Phone: 865-365-8551
Service times: Sun 8:30 & 11:00, Wed 7 PM