The Curse Tablet

It was found three-and-a-half years ago, in a pile of rubble left from an archaeological dig abandoned thirty years prior. It is a roughly square piece of metal about one inch on a side. And it is one of the most profound, and paradigm-busting, archaeological discoveries in history.

To understand why, we need to go back about 3,400 years, to 1400 B.C. It’s the time of the conquest, when the Israelites are conquering the Promised Land. They were released from bondage in Egypt forty years prior (one common date for the Exodus is 1446 B.C.), when God rained down plagues until Pharaoh let God’s chosen people go, and Moses led them out (see my blog post on Moses and the plagues here).

It’s forty years later. Moses has died and Joshua leads the Israelites. But, before he died, Moses told them that when they entered the Promised Land they were to build altars. They were to proclaim blessings from Mount Gerazim and curses from Mount Ebal. The Bible even gives specific names of those who were “to stand on Mount Ebal for the curse” (Deut 27:11).

Joshua did this. When he entered the Promised Land, Joshua built an altar on Mount Ebal. It’s recorded in Joshua 8:30-35:

At that time Joshua built an altar to the LORD, the God of Israel, on Mount Ebal, 31 just as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded the people of Israel, as it is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, “an altar of uncut stones, upon which no man has wielded an iron tool.” And they offered on it burnt offerings to the LORD and sacrificed peace offerings. 32 And there, in the presence of the people of Israel, he wrote on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written. 33 And all Israel, sojourner as well as native born, with their elders and officers and their judges, stood on opposite sides of the ark before the Levitical priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD, half of them in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, just as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded at the first, to bless the people of Israel. 34 And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the Book of the Law. 35 There was not a word of all that Moses commanded that Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, and the women, and the little ones, and the sojourners who lived among them.

Now fast forward to 1979. Archaeologist Adam Zertal begins a survey. His team digs for ten years, and finds an altar on Mount Ebal. Actually, they find two altars, a rectangular structure 9 by 7 meters and beneath it an earlier, round structure that measured two meters in diameter. In 1985 Zertal publishes a controversial article suggesting that he had found Joshua’s altar on Mount Ebal. Of course, that claim is vigorously disputed by scholars who dispute the Biblical narrative, and who do not believe Moses and Joshua were real people.

With that background, we forward to 2019. Associates for Biblical Research (ABR), a small but powerful group dedicated to the truth of the Bible, sends a team back to Mount Ebal, back to the site abandoned thirty years earlier. The team is led by Scott Stripling and Abigail Leavitt. They use a wet-sifting technique – washing excavated material – to see if there are small items that were inadvertently overlooked. In December 2019 a volunteer named Frankie Snyder is wet-sifting material and sees on her tray a small, flat piece of material about one-inch square. She picks it up and realizes it is heavy, much too heavy to be pottery or stone. She rinses the object more and sees that it has two layers and had been folded in half very precisely. She knows she is holding a lead tablet. And she wonders, is she holding in her hand a curse tablet from the ‘mountain of curses’?

That’s not an easy question. The tablet is too fragile to be opened, so it is sent to a laboratory in the Czech Republic for study by specialists with x-ray equipment. They produce multiple two-dimensional images which they build into a three-dimensional map, and then use computer software to digitally flatten the letters.

Last December Stripling and a team of scholars release findings. There are letters, in ancient writing, etched on the inside. It is a curse formula. They find the words arur (cursed), atah (you), and tamut (you shall die), and the divine names El and Yahu.

The curse tablet precisely confirms the Bible. The tablet contained in two places the letters ‘YHW’ – the divine name given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai, perhaps best translated as “I am Existence” (Exodus 3:14).

The curse tablet proves that the Israelites knew how to write in 1400 B.C. Many scholars have disputed this, they argued that even if Moses was a real person he couldn’t write and therefore did not write the first five books of the Bible. The curse tablet shatters this false paradigm. God’s chosen people knew how to write from the beginning, and Moses used notes from centuries earlier to write the book of Genesis.

My thanks to Scott Stripling for reviewing this post for accuracy. My congratulations to ABR for their great work and continuing dedication. You can learn more about the curse tablet in the Spring 2023 Edition of their magazine, Bible and Spade. It is a fantastic magazine and you can subscribe and learn more about ABR here.

Thanks for reading.

Doug Ell

The Holy Land

In April I spent eight days in Israel.

There were eight of us, four couples, including two Episcopal priests and their wives. We started in Jaffa, the ancient seaport south of Tel Aviv, where Jonah left for Nineveh (the Jonah who was swallowed by the great fish). We went up the coast to Caesarea, the seaport built by Herod the Great. We were awed, and this was only our first taste of Herod’s cities and palaces. He built a massive harbor, had a palace with an oceanfront swimming pool, and had a hippodrome, an oval track for chariot races, next to it, with stands for the well-off. In later years for half-time entertainment they slaughtered Christians in the center.

We went northeast to Mount Carmel, to where Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal. The contest is described in Chapter 18 of 1 Kings. King Ahab, the seventh king of the northern kingdom of Israel (reigned 874 to 853 BC) had taken Jezebel for a wife, and she brought with her prophets of her god Baal. God’s prophets were being killed and had to flee for their lives. Then Elijah shows up (this is my abbreviated version, you really should read Chapter 18) and challenges 450 prophets of Baal to a duel. They build two altars on Mount Carmel (the Carmelite nuns have a convent today at the spot), cut up two bulls and place them on wood. Elijah invites the Baal prophets to go first, to see if they can call down fire. The 450 prophets of Baal limp around their altar all morning, cutting themselves until blood gushes out. “Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” (Verse 27). Then Elijah says my turn. He tells servants to fill four jars with water and pour it on the offering and the wood. They do this three times, until the ground is soaked with water all around the altar. Then Elijah calls down fire, and God responds, with intense fire that consumes the offering and evaporates the water. Elijah tells the people to seize the prophets of Baal. “And Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and slaughtered them there.” (Verse 40).

Israel is not a big country; it’s about the size of New Jersey. From Mount Carmel we could see much of it. To the southeast was the hill of Megiddo, surrounded by a vast plain. Napoleon once remarked that all the armies of the world could fit on that plain. Not really, but it is big. Meggido is corrupted into the Greek word Armageddon, and is, according to the book of Revelation, where the final battle will occur between good and evil. (Revelation 16:16).

We then went to Nazareth. There is an amazing church built on top of the house where Jesus grew up, with a glass floor in part so you can see where Jesus walked as a boy. Of course, there are always those who disagree, but this house has been preserved and marked from the beginning and most think it really is the boyhood home of Jesus.

We spent two nights near the town of Migdal on the Sea of Galilee (which is a lake, and not that huge a lake, it’s about 64 square miles and is the lowest freshwater lake on earth at more than 600 feet below sea level). Migdal is where Mary Magdalene came from, and the place we stayed had right next to it – we could look in during meals – an ancient synagogue where Jesus taught. We went to Capernaum – sometimes referred to as the city of Jesus – and there is preserved an ancient house where Jesus reportedly stayed with Peter and his mother.

From there to Jerusalem for four nights. So much to see. You weren’t sure exactly where some of the events happened – the crucifixion, the upper room, the steps of the cross, and more — but you knew you were at least close, within a few steps if not at the exact spot. Being a nerdy guy who likes rocks, I was amazed by the 300-ton stones remaining from the base of Herod’s Second Temple (destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD).

I was also surprised by the differences in elevation. The Jordan river (more like a muddy stream by my standards) flows out of the Sea of Galilee and down to the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth at about 1400 feet below sea level. The old city in Jerusalem is about 2500 feet above sea level. Pilgrims walking to Jerusalem for the Holy feasts were mostly walking uphill into a slightly cooler climate.

Perhaps the most moving spot for me was the garden of Gethsemane, on a hill, called the Mount of Olives, looking west to the old city. It is directly across from where Herod’s massive Second Temple was. The garden of Gethsemane was where Jesus prayed the night before the crucifixion, when the disciples fell asleep. Our guide asked us to imagine it being dark and Jesus watching the torches as Judas and Roman soldiers came to get him. He knew exactly what was going to happen; he could have walked away and hid. But he stayed to pay the price for my sins and for your sins, and the sins of the whole world.

Thanks for reading.


The Star of Bethlehem Revisited

I love the Star of Bethlehem. It’s a magical combination of science, history, and faith. I’m writing a new book, a work of fiction, and one of the chapters is about the Star. I’ve reproduced the latest draft of that chapter below. It’s a rough draft, so please let me know if you have any suggestions for improvement.

The scene is dinner Christmas Eve, at a mansion in Greenwich Connecticut. Here’s the characters in this chapter:

John – family patriarch, one of the richest persons in the world, dying of cancer.

Mary – John’s wife.

Ashley – their daughter, who teaches math at MIT.

Hajid – Ashley’s husband, who teaches physics at Harvard.

Rebecca – Ashley and Hajid’s daughter, nine years old and totally, totally adorable.

Mark – John and Mary’s oldest son, who is an entrepreneur in San Francisco.

Matthew – John and Mary’s youngest son, who was a drug addict, went to prison, and almost overdosed.

Imani – Matthew’s girlfriend, a Black nurse from the South Bronx who knows the Bible and the history of the birth of Jesus.

I hope you enjoy it. Merry Christmas!

Chapter 24

They were back in the dining room for strawberry shortcake, with real whipped cream of course, lots of it. Nobody ever said Mary skimped on whipped cream. John was tired, very tired, felt weak, very weak, but it was strawberry shortcake, so he sat up and ate. For some things you push yourself. Even more important perhaps, although food was certainly of great importance, but perhaps even more important, no it really was more important, he was feeling kind of dizzy so things weren’t so clear, was that the family was together, and it was Christmas Eve. Pretty service, but this God stuff was confusing, damn confusing. Wait. Did Imani say something about when Jesus was born and the Star? That could be interesting. Maybe ask.

“Imani, tell us when Jesus was born and about the Star,” said John. If you don’t mind.”

John saw Imani look to Mary for permission. Mary nodded as a sign that Imani should go ahead.

“The short version or the long version?”

John smiled. “Maybe the medium version. The medium short version.”

“Okay. I went to a talk. Then I read books and watched videos. It makes sense, it all fits together.”

John saw Imani was feeling a bit at home, getting over the culture shock, trying to get over years of prejudice against people with money. And if one thing was obvious, it was that Imani loved talking about the Bible.

“People have tried to figure it out for two thousand years,” said Imani. “Two thousand years. There’s lots, tons, dozens of different theories. I’m going to tell you what I think.” John saw Imani glance at Ashley and Hajid. “There’s a lot of different theories, but I hope you’ll let me tell you how I see it.”

John could see Imani didn’t want to be interrupted, challenged, by the education elites. Imani’s got street smarts, thought John. It was something he’d come to respect from a thousand deals. Some people (and he thought of himself as one) have street smarts, intelligence and wisdom they didn’t learn at school. Could be interesting, he thought. Could be fun. Ghetto girl versus the education snobs. A little like David versus Goliath. He expected Ashley and Hajid to challenge Imani. Did Imani have a chance?

“The starting question,” said Imani, “is when did King Herod die? This is Herod the Great.”

“Why was he great?” asked Rebecca. John smiled. Rebecca was intensely curious. She got that from him.

“Super question,” said Imani, “but your grandfather asked for a short version.”

John saw Imani pause. No one spoke, so Imani continued.

“People used to think Herod died in 4 BC,” said Imani, “but we now know there was a copying error in an ancient book. The earliest copies of that book tell us Herod died in 1 BC.” Imani paused, and looked again at Ashley. “At least that’s what I think. Some people with fancy degrees don’t agree.”

Priceless, thought John, priceless.

Imani continued. “When you look at the ancient skies using computers, and we know Jesus was born before Herod died, you will see that on June 17, 2 BC, and we know the exact date here, the exact date and time, Jupiter and Venus touched each other in the sky. It’s called a ‘planetary conjunction.’ Jupiter and Venus are the brightest planets, the brightest objects in the sky after the sun and the moon. Jupiter and Venus touched each other, you might say kissed each other. It must have been amazing. You wish you were there to see it.”

“Does that happen often?” asked Rebecca.

“No,” said Imani. “It’s only happened three times in the past two thousand years, and June 17, 2 BC is the only time the conjunction was visible from the Middle East. It may have been the closest, the most spectacular conjunction ever. NASA supercomputers have verified this. It’s true, it happened. That’s part of the story of the Star of Bethlehem, what the wise men saw. But it’s only part.”

Ashley couldn’t help herself. “But Imani, and I don’t mean to be critical in the slightest, not one bit, how kind of you to tell us this story, but it seems a stretch to say that, just because two planets get near each other in the sky, and you’re right that’s called a conjunction, very good for you, nicely done, that just because they get near each other in the sky, that means Jesus was born that night. Planets move. Even if it happened as you say, and by the way I agree modern computers can show us what the ancient skies looked like at any time from any place on Earth, you did a good job on that too, it seems a stretch to say that proves Jesus was born that night. Of course, that’s if Jesus was a real person.”

John saw Imani blink with shock, as if Ashley had hit her with a bucket of cold water. Ashley had thrown down the gauntlet. The fight was on. If Jesus was a real person? If? Watch out Ashley, John thought. You just stepped on a hornet’s nest. John saw Imani take a deep breath, sit up straight, square her shoulders, and glare at Ashley. Imani was visibly angry.

“First,” Imani said loudly, “I didn’t say it proves anything. But now we’ve got a date. Now we can put pieces together. For how it all fits you need the longer version.”

“Second, as for Jesus being a real person, perhaps you should read the Roman records. Or study history. Those would be nice subjects to learn something about. Jesus changed the world more than any other person.”

Priceless, thought John, absolutely totally perfectly priceless. Ashley walked right into it. Imani was not going to back down. Now John had to hear more. He was innately curious. That’s where Rebecca got it from. His side of the family.

“Now you’ve got to give us the long version,” said John. “I’m staying awake for this.” He had finished his strawberry shortcake, had asked for and gotten more whipped cream, but even though desert was over, and he sure was dizzy and exhausted, the cancer and the wine and the drugs were still partying, he had to hear more. “Hit us with your best shot, lay it on. Details. I always thought the Star of Bethlehem was a myth, made up, you know sort of like …” John stopped. He was going to say Santa Claus, but he stopped. “Like a made-up story.”

“You got it” said Imani. “Put your seat belt on.” Imani smiled at him. They were becoming friends.

“The wise men, and let’s use the word in the Bible, the Magi, came from Saba, a city that is now called Saveh. It’s sixty miles southwest of Tehran, in present-day Iran. It was a key city in the Parthian empire. The Parthians were tough, one of the great empires of the ancient world, an empire that lasted for almost five hundred years, a single dynasty. They were never conquered by Rome. They didn’t practice the Jewish religion, but they had Jewish blood, and they knew Jewish history and the Old Testament. They knew the prophecies about the Messiah. Their Kings claimed they were entitled to rule because they were descended from the line of David.”

Imani paused. She didn’t get interrupted by Ashley, but she did by John. “How do we know Saba’s the place?”

“Marco Polo,” answered Imani. “The Venetian trader who made it to China and back, and wrote what he saw. Marco Polo saw their tombs. He saw the tombs of the Magi in Saba. He gave details, said the tombs were of great size and beauty, said the bodies were well-preserved, and he even gave the names of the Magi. He wrote that the Magi left from Saba when they went to find the baby Jesus.”

“Couldn’t that have been added later into Marco Polo’s manuscript?” asked Ashley.

John saw Imani make a face. She glared at Ashley. Imani was not going to back down. “You can always make up stuff, and come up with a theory that denies Jesus, denies the living God. You have free will, you can make stuff up. I’m trying to keep it short. Do you mind if I keep going?”

Wow, thought John, wow.

Imani continued. “You need to know a little about the Magi and the Parthian empire. The Magi were royal astronomers and the top advisors. If you know Daniel, the Daniel who survived being thrown into the lion den when God shut the mouths of the lions, after that Daniel became the leader of the Magi, that was five hundred years earlier.” Imani turned and smiled at Matthew. “They were like Jedi knights. Very powerful, very smart, and they knew astronomy. They could predict solar and lunar ellipses, when planets would get close to each other, and they knew Jewish history.”

Ashley couldn’t help herself. “I don’t think the Magi could possibly know in advance where planets would be.”

“Then you’ve never heard of the Antikythera mechanism,” said Imani. “The world’s oldest analog computer. Found in a shipwreck off the coast of Greece, in a ship that sank two centuries before the birth of Jesus.”

Praise the Lord, thought John, praise the Lord. Imani was eating Ashley’s lunch, besting her at every turn.

Imani continued. “Now the stage is set. We’ve got powerful royal astronomers, possibly the smartest people in the world, brilliant people with centuries of knowledge and access to the full resources of their empire. They know the Bible and they watch the skies carefully, very carefully. Now we use modern computers, and look at what they saw two thousand years ago.”

John saw Imani pause and look around the room. Imani was taking charge. You go girl.

John saw Imani look straight at Ashley. “This is going to get technical,” said Imani. “Try to keep up.”

Priceless, thought John, perfectly priceless.

“Go back nine months earlier, to September of 3 BC. The Magi see a triple conjunction of Jupiter and the star Regulus. The Babylonians called this star “Sharru,” meaning “the King.” Jupiter, as everyone back then knew, was the King Planet. Jupiter passed Regulus three times, and traced a crown above it. Regulus is the brightest star in the constellation of Leo the lion. The Bible compares the Israelite Tribe of Judah, the tribe of King David and Jesus, with a lion. This triple conjunction of the two kings happens only twice every 83 years.

I’m loving this, thought John. Not sure I’m following it, but I’m loving it.

Imani was on a roll. “On September 11, 3 BC, as the triple conjunction begins, the Sun rises in the womb of the virgin in the constellation Virgo. At the foot of the Sun is a slim crescent moon. Of course the constellation wasn’t visible when the Sun was up. You normally can’t see stars in the daylight, would you agree with that Professor Hajid?”

John could see Hajid did not like being called out. “Yes,” said Hajid. “Of course! Everybody knows that.”

“But the Magi know it, they totally know it, they know the king planet, and remember planets were thought of a moving stars in those stars in those days, so it’s all stars to them, they know that the king moving star and the king fixed star have just done a dance, traced a crown, in the womb of a Virgin. These guys have instruments and skills we can hardly imagine.” John saw Imani turn again to Ashley. “You should read about the Antikythera mechanism,” said Imani. “It would be a nice addition to your education.”

John almost burst out laughing.

Imani continued. “Okay, and again please try to keep up professors, the Sun appears here only one day every year, and the moon has this shape one day each lunar cycle.” Imani looked at Hajid. “That’s 29 days, right professor? All signs point to the coming birth of a great king in Judah. This was the date of Christ’s conception, this is the blessed day the Angel Gabriel appears to Mary.[1]

There was no stopping Imani. “And nine months later it happened. The greatest event in history. The most important event for every human being until the day Jesus comes again. On June 17, 2 BC, nine months after the king planet Jupiter, the king moving star, traces a crown around the king fixed star, nine months later Jupiter and Venus meet in the sky. For the Magi Venus symbolizes femininity, the perfect woman. The planets combine. Together, they’re the brightest “star” anyone alive had ever seen, the brightest object ever after the Sun and the Moon that anyone alive then, or anyone alive for the entire Parthian Empire, has ever seen. It was visible in the West, in the direction of Judah, towards Israel, for an hour after sunset. Jesus Christ is born.”

Imani continued. “And here’s a fact that blows me away, that makes me scream with adoration for the living God, a fact that modern computers have confirmed, this planetary conjunction, this meeting of Venus and Jupiter, takes place again in the constellation of Virgo the Virgin. Get it? The conception occurs in the womb of the virgin, and the Jesus is born from the womb of the virgin. The sacrificial “lamb of God” is born in Bethlehem, where Jesse and David raised sacrificial lambs for the Temple in Jerusalem, five miles up the main road. Jesus is born in the early summer, not winter, during the birthing season for the sacrificial lambs. The shepherds who cared for those lambs were out in the warmer weather sleeping with the flocks during birthing season. Jesus is born, and Joseph and Mary wrap him in swaddling clothes.”

“What are swaddling clothes,” asked Rebecca.

John saw Imani look at Rebecca and smile. “Great question, thanks,” said Imani. “Swaddling clothes were old, used, garments that had been worn by rabbis. They were rags, but sacred rags. The sacrificial lambs that Jesse and David and others raised in Bethlehem were clumsy little critters. To be a sacrificial lamb for the temple in Jerusalem, they had to be perfect. So when a sacrificial lamb was born the shepherds would wrap the lamb in swaddling clothes, in rags that had been worn by men of faith, to keep it from hurting itself, to keep it perfect.

Imani kept going. “Imagine you’re a shepherd that night. An angel pops out of the sky, and you are much afraid. But the angel tells you not to worry, and that you need to get yourself to Bethlehem, where you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths in the very place where some of the sacrificial lambs are born. You go quickly, you run, and you cannot believe what you find. He’s there, the living God. You see a baby born in the building where the difficult births of sacrificial lambs took place, a human baby in the same place, wrapped in holy rags just like the shepherds wrapped a newborn baby lamb to protect it. It is wonder, it is a miracle, beyond words. Two thousand years of prophecy are beginning to come true. Jesus, the sacrificial lamb of God, is sent by God to pay for our sins, an offering by God to the human race, an offering for peace between us and God. God is just, a price has to be paid for the sin of Adam and Eve and of every person ever born, and only God can pay it. So God pays it himself, he sends Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. Jesus is born exactly like a sacrificial lamb, in the same town and in the same place and wrapped in the same way, as a sacrificial lamb. For the important stuff God doesn’t mess around. He puts in layers and layers of symbols to help us understand. The shepherds out in the fields know this. They see a human child, wrapped in used priestly garments, in swaddling cloths, in a place where sacrificial lambs are born.

Imani was getting a little repetitive, and John could see Imani knew that. But Imani kept going. “Now let’s go back to the Magi, the royal astronomers who see Jupiter and Venus touch each other on June 17, 2 BC. You can just imagine. You wish you were there. The Magi are stunned. It all fits. The stars tell them a great king has been born, born in Judah, the king they’ve been expecting for centuries, a king of virgin birth. Could this be the Messiah? They’ve got to check it out, they’ve got to see for themselves. They decide to make a very dangerous journey. They’ve got to go 1200 miles over mountains, through bandits, and into enemy territory, into land controlled by Rome. The Romans and the Parthians hate each other, and it’s going to be very dangerous. The Magi can’t call a taxi and they can’t hire a private jet. They spend months getting ready, and to go 1200 miles by camels and horses is going to take two months, maybe longer. They pack gold, frankincense, and myrrh to give to Jesus, really valuable stuff, gifts to give a great king. And they assemble an army.[2] Maybe hundreds, maybe thousands, of trained and armed soldiers. They put all this together, and they head out, they travel West, towards Jerusalem, they travel in the direction where they saw Jupiter and Venus kiss in the sky. As they travel Jupiter stays ahead of them in the Western sky, it points the way. They follow the Star, the planet Jupiter, as they travel to Jesus.”

John saw Imani took a breath, and look around. Nobody was challenging Imani now.

“They get to Jerusalem late December, 2 BC. They leave the army outside the city, they’re not trying to conquer anything, and they ask to see Herod. They put it to him, point-blank, right in Herod’s face — “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews?” You wish you were there. Herod the Great is an arrogant, psychopathic murderer. Herod killed two of his own sons because he was afraid they might take his throne. The Magi walk up to a murderously paranoid ruler, Herod the Great, and ask to see the new king, the real king. They tell Herod they “saw his star when it rose.”

Imani was hitting on all cylinders, rolling full steam. “The Magi are showing off; they are bragging. They’re dishing Herod, they’re throwing it in his face! They are saying that, because of their advanced knowledge of astronomy, they knew Jupiter and Venus were going to meet, and they knew exactly where to look for it rising in the morning sky, in the daylight as it rose. This historic conjunction was bright enough to be visible in broad daylight, if you knew where to look. Would you agree, Professor Hajid, that this conjunction would have been visible to the naked eye, if you knew exactly where to look and blocked out the sun?”

John heard Hajid mumble. “Maybe.”

Imani continued. “It’s so cool. The Magi are bragging, showing off, showing Herod what they’ve got. They have skills, knowledge, star smarts far beyond anything Herod, or anyone else in the Roman Empire, had at that time. They are royal astronomers, from a powerful empire, and they are bragging about their sophistication. Herod didn’t even know the conjunction had occurred, he had no clue; he had to ask his advisors later what heck the Magi were talking about. Herod is clueless, and he’s got some of the smartest people in the world talking to him.”

Imani again looked at Hajid. “And that proves the Star wasn’t a comet or supernova or anything like that. Herod didn’t know about the conjunction. If it was a comet or a supernova he would have known about it. But Herod had no clue.”

“Herod wants to kill the Magi, kill them right then and there, for their impertinence, for daring to ask where the real king is. He’s Herod the Great, and he’s just been royally dished. But he’s got to be nice. There’s an army outside the city. Herod is scared of the Parthians. He knows that, fifty years earlier, the Romans invaded Parthia with seven legions, 40,000 elite trained soldiers, elite trained troops that had conquered the Mediterranean world. The army was put together by the richest Roman ever, a guy named Crassus, who wanted to be the Roman version of Alexander the Great. The Parthian king sent 8,000 fighters, mostly archers on horseback, to slow down the Roman legions, to buy time while he formed a larger army. He shouldn’t have worried. The outnumbered Parthians destroyed the Romans. Ten thousand Roman soldiers were killed, ten thousand were captured, and the rest ran for their lives, ran like the Philistines did after David killed Goliath. Crassus was killed.”

Imani paused. She should get back to the story, thought John. Imani did. “But back to Herod. Herod can’t start a new war. So what does he do? He smiles, he fakes it, he plays nice. He says that’s so wonderful, how truly nice of you to let me know, thanks so much my new friends, please do go and find this sweet kid and tell me where he is. Yeah, says Herod, I can’t wait to worship this kid too, so you smart guys go and find him, and I’ll be right behind you to worship him. You go ahead, I’ll be right behind. Herod lies, it’s bullshit. Herod knows he will kill this baby the moment he is found. Ain’t no snotty babe in a manger going to bring down Herod the Great.”

“The Magi leave. They saw Herod was clueless, but the Magi do have a clue. They know where the Son of God made flesh was born. They know the words of the prophet Micah, 700 hundred years earlier, when he foretold Jesus would be born in Bethlehem.” Imani looked at Rebecca. “That’s the prophet whose name sounds like a stone.”

Imani was wrapping up. “The Magi head south to Bethlehem. It’s the evening of December 25, 2 BC, and they’re only five miles away. Remember the Magi know the skies. Now here’s something that will stop you cold. On that date, that exact date, on December 25 of the year 2 BC, Jupiter goes into retrograde motion. Jupiter stops in the sky, it stops moving against the background stars. The Star of Bethlehem stops in the sky, and it’s south of them, straight ahead, as they head down the main road. They follow the Star to Jesus.”

Imani took a deep breath. “Finally. The Magi arrive at the house where Jesus is. Jesus is now six months old, the original Greek uses the Greek word for toddler. And the Bible tells us that the Magi arrive after Jesus was born, and that Jesus was staying in a house at that time. The Magi walk into a house of dirt-poor peasants. They see Jesus with Mary his mother. Immediately, in an instant, they fall down and worship Jesus. Can you imagine? You wish you were there. These Jedi knights, these royal advisors, the elite of the Parthian empire, the smartest people on the planet, fall down to worship the baby Jesus. They saw the Star in daylight, as it rose, they watched the planets kiss in the sky, they have come all this way, 1200 miles, with servants and a private army, to fall down and worship Jesus. They sure didn’t do that when they met Herod. But Jesus is no ordinary king, and they know it. They fall down and worship Jesus, the living God, the Word made flesh. They’re top guns, they represent the Parthian empire, they’re the intellectual elite of the ancient world. They throw themselves down on the dirt floor of a peasant house, and they worship Jesus. They offer gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They came 1200 miles for this moment. They fall down before the most powerful king ever, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, and they worship Jesus. You wish you were there. They offer gifts. It’s the first Christmas. They hand Mary the first Christmas gifts. You wish you were there.”

Imani hit Ashley with a smile of victory. “And that’s how I say it went down. Any questions?”

Silence. Golden silence. “One more thing,” said Imani. “The heavens are like a clock. God knew, when He flung the universe into existence, exactly when and where Jesus would be born.”

Magnificent! A performance for the ages. John was blown away by the power of Imani’s faith, what she knew, and how she knit it together. He pushed back his chair to stand up. His legs were weak, so he grabbed both arms to push himself up. Imani deserved a standing ovation, and he was going to start it.

He didn’t make it. He lost consciousness on the way up, fell on his left side, knocked over the chair, and hit the floor hard.

1. Compare this also to the vision in Revelation 12:1-2: “And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth.”

2. Isaiah foretold, 700 years earlier, that the Magi would arrive with hundreds of camels. He also foretold two of the three gifts they would bring. From the sixth verse of the 60th chapter:

A multitude of camels shall cover you,
  the young camels of Midian and Ephah;
  all those from Sheba shall come.
They shall bring gold and frankincense,
  and shall bring good news, the praises of the LORD.

The Great Alien Computer Simulation

Sometimes you find something so preposterous, so deliciously inane, you almost burst out laughing. A few weeks ago I came across such an item.

I subscribe to a daily email summarizing the news. One small item, buried in a list at the end of one day’s summary, was that some scientists think we are living in a computer simulation. It appears Elon Musk shares this view, and of course everyone knows that anything Elon Musk says must be true (that’s a joke, folks).

The item included a link to an article: “How to Test If We’re Living In a Computer Simulation.”

According to the article, a variety of factors suggest we live in a computer simulation.

  • The laws and constants of physics are set exactly right for stars, planets, and life to exist.
  • Particles can be connected outside of space and time (quantum entanglement)
  • At the most fundamental level, the universe is entirely mathematical, and particles as we know them melt into probabilities; they don’t exist until you observe or measure them.

There’s more, but I’ll stop there. According to the article, this suggests we are living in a computer simulation of an extremely advanced alien civilization.

What’s amazing, to me, is that all of this is powerful evidence of God, and the writer of the article appears to have no clue. I explain this evidence in my 2014 book, Counting To God, particularly Chapters 8 (Fine -Tuning) and 14 (A Foundation of Thought).

According to the article, the scientific evidence that there is a mind behind the universe, and that we live in the creation of that mind, is being increasingly accepted. The author seems to think this is a new idea. Not so. Two thousand years ago it was written: “In Him we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:28. As I suggested in Chapter 14 of Counting to God, we live in the mind of God. The universe is mental, not physical.

It is sad that so many cannot see the overwhelming scientific evidence for God. Advanced alien civilization? Seriously? Where did that come from, why does that exist? It’s utter nonsense. But with advanced aliens these people don’t have to do what God asks us to do. They don’t have to go to church, pray, or read the Bible. They can make up their own moral codes.

I suspect we are going to see more of this theory, the Great Alien Computer Simulation theory. More and more top biologists are realizing that Darwin’s theory on the origin of species is nonsense. The theory that random mutations in the coding of life built the most advanced technology in the universe – technology such as the human brain and butterflies navigating by the Earth’s magnetic field – is a perverted joke. I suspect that, as Darwin fades, the Great Alien Computer Simulation theory will grow. Perhaps it won’t be long before the pendulum shifts, and people are forced to admit life was designed. At that point only the Great Alien Computer Simulation Theory will allow people to deny God.

Thanks for reading. I hope to get back to posting more frequently. There is much to share.

I’m working on a third book, a book I am co-writing with an experienced author, a work of fiction about a rich man who gets terminal cancer and finds God. I’ve tweaked my second book, Proofs of God, and hope to come out with a new version of that book next year.

Please share the Good News that science has found God. Friends don’t let friends stay atheists.

Doug Ell

Moses and the Plagues

While traveling recently I read something amazing. It is generally unknown, yet is the most astonishing, unexpected evidence for the truth of the Bible I have ever found.
I remember watching the movie The Ten Commandments. Charlton Heston plays Moses against Egypt’s Pharaoh, played by Yul Brynner. It was the most successful film of 1956, and ranks eighth in history when box office receipts are adjusted for inflation.

Parts of the movie are about the plagues God brings upon Egypt. The Hebrews were welcome guests when Joseph was governor of all of Egypt. But over the centuries fortunes changed, and the Hebrews were enslaved and badly treated. (Details in the book of Genesis.) God sends Moses, who asks God why me as “I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Of course in the movie Moses is an ultra handsome articulate Charlton Heston kind of guy. Anyhow, God sends a not-thrilled-to-be-there Moses to talk to Pharaoh. Imagine sending a Ukrainian farmer to talk to Putin.

Pharaoh refuses to let the Hebrews go, so God slams Egypt with ten plagues. For details read Chapters 7 through 12 of the book of Exodus. The plagues are also noted in Psalms 78 and 105 and in the book of Numbers. The plagues are horrific. God begins by turning the water in the Nile river to blood, and not just in the Nile, but in all rivers, canals, ponds, pools of water, and water vessels in all of Egypt (except presumably for the water of the Hebrews). This is followed by frogs, gnats, flies, the death of livestock, boils, hail, and locusts. But Pharaoh would not let the Hebrews go. For the ninth plague God stops the Sun from shining for three days, except where the Hebrews lived. For the tenth and final plague, God kills the firstborn male child of every family in Egypt, except for the Hebrew families, who are “passed over” by marking their doorways with the blood of lambs. Finally Pharaoh gives up, and after 430 years in Egypt the Hebrews leave, a total of 600,000 men and women and children. They take their livestock, and, as a final penalty, they ask and the Egyptians actually give them their silver and gold jewelry and fine clothing. The taking of silver and gold and clothing is mentioned at least twice in the Bible.

Pretty inventive right? Like come on, who makes this stuff up? Well what would you think if I told you there is an ancient Egyptian papyrus that tells the same story? It is written as a lament about the problems of Egypt. It’s kind of “how could our sun god let this happen?”

The papyrus is called by some “The Admonitions of Ipuwer.” Ipuwer uses “we” many times in the poem, which suggests he was an eyewitness. The style of a poetic lament was common in the ancient world of this period.

Ipuwer writes “the river is blood” and “throughout the land, blood is everywhere.” Wow! Note both the Bible and Ipuwer do not state the Nile was like blood. Both state the Nile was blood. I’m not an expert on ancient literature or history but surely two documents from the same period stating the Nile was blood is amazing.

Ipuwer does not mention locusts and other insects by name, but he describes conditions that match the effects of these plagues. Ipuwer says even the birds are unable to find fruits or herbs. He says officials are hungry and homeless.

The ninth plague – darkness for three days – is a direct rebuke to Ra, the Egyptian sun god. Ipuwer laments: “Day does not dawn on it.” “There is no pilot on duty. Where is he today? Is he perhaps asleep?” Double wow! For someone who loves astronomy this is a gut check. One can wax poetically about the majesty of God, but to think he actually did stop the sun from shining is pretty amazing.

Ipuwer states that silver, gold, and precious stones are now being worn by female servants. Triple wow! Why would he write this if not true? How often in history does this happen?

The Admonitions of Ipuwer is unexpected and powerful evidence that the Biblical plagues were real events. I never expected such confirmation. The Exodus is now believed by many to have occurred in 1446 BC, when Amenhotep II was Pharaoh.

If you have time, I recommend reading my primary source for all this, an article in the Winter 2022 issue of the magazine Bible and Spade. If you want to learn about the overwhelming new archeological evidence for the truth of the Bible you must subscribe. It’s cheap ($50 a year gets you the magazine and supports their ministries) and they have gradually transformed the magazine from a dusty academic format into a beautiful, color photo, user friendly marvel. Click here for a video from another organization on the amazing Ipuwer papyrus.

Thanks for reading. I hope you will share this new evidence with friends and family. Together we can change the atheist paradigm of a meaningless world.

Doug Ell

The Biological Case for God

In 2014, the Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece by Eric Metaxas, titled “Science Increasingly Points to God.” It received almost 400,000 “likes” on Facebook. Others challenged Metaxas’s arguments that Earth is special, and that the universe is fine-tuned for life. But those disturbed by a scientific challenge to atheism face a greater problem. New discoveries in biology, mostly in the last decade, make an even stronger case for the existence of God.

These new discoveries contradict Darwin’s theory of unguided evolution, that you can explain the origin of every species, and all of the wondrous systems and abilities of those species, by random mutations and the gradual process of natural selection. To be sure, many Darwinists are prepared to fight to the death, and they have circled the wagons, both by proclaiming ever louder that “all the evidence” supports their theory, and by attacking colleagues who dissent. But the cracks are beginning to show. Noted atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel subtitled his 2012 book “Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False.”

“Orphan genes” may be the most stunning contradiction. A gene is a section of DNA coding that life uses to build a functional protein, a biological machine part. Orphan genes, and their associated proteins, have no recognizable ancestors. They have now been found in every species on Earth. They typically make up 10-20% of a genome, and play a key role in making that species unique, such as creating toxins in jellyfish or preventing freezing in polar cod. Leaf-cutter ants have 9,361 unique proteins; next to human beings they create the largest and most complex societies.

You don’t need a PhD in mathematics or biology to realize that coding is information, and that you can’t get information by chance. Put together 100 English letters/spaces/punctuation selected at random, and ask what the odds are that you will get anything meaningful. Sure, there are billions times billions of possible coherent sequences, but the probability of getting a meaningful sequence by chance is less than one in a number with 100 zeros. You have a better chance of picking a marked marble out of a pile as big as the known universe.

The same reasoning applies to biology. DNA coding is processed by biological 3D printers that read the code three “letters” at a time, and use that information to select, snap together, and fold specified sequences of amino acids to build proteins, the machine parts of life. There are about 500 different types of amino acids, but all life uses an alphabet of the same 20 amino acids to build proteins. Functional proteins are astonishingly rare. If you randomly link together 150 of the amino acids of life, the odds that they will form a functional protein of any type are about 1 in a number with 74 zeros. You have a better chance of reaching into a pile of marbles as big as our galaxy and picking out that marked marble.

You might think that, over “billions and billions” of years, those odds could be overcome. But the math doesn’t work. The number of living organisms that have ever existed has about 40 digits. Even with that many tries your odds of picking that marked marble are about one in a number with 34 (74 minus 40) zeros, about the probability of reaching into a pile of marbles as big as the Sun and picking out the right one. Mutations at random can’t realistically “find” a new functional protein. And this greatly oversimplifies the problem; you need multiple proteins working together exactly right to create new technology.

If I had to give a single date for the death of Darwinian theory I would pick September 6, 2012. On that date newspapers around the world reported that most “and likely all” of human DNA serves a purpose. This was announced by the ENCODE project, a world-wide coalition of 440 top scientists. Three months later ENCODE reported human DNA contains more than one layer of information. Yes, we have 3.2 billion letters of coding with two layers of information. Despite attacks by Darwinists, the ENCODE scientists have stood their ground.

These findings contradict Darwin’s theory. There is no way that fully functional, or almost fully functional, DNA with two layers of information could have been created by chance. Darwinists try to argue that excess DNA makes an organism less likely to survive and reproduce, and so by the magical “power” of natural selection we end up with an efficient code. Sorry, but there is no evidence for that, and there are many organisms with dozens of times as much DNA as a human being. And even that fantasy can’t explain two layers of information.

Here’s a third new realization. Contrary to what you may have read, there is no mildly plausible non-theistic explanation for the origin of life. In 2006 Harvard launched an “Origins of Life Initiative,” but the consensus of their 2009 conference was “we just don’t know.” The problem is that, as we learn more about life and how it works, the complexity is too much to say it just arose by chance. We now know all life works off the same digital operating system. Digital technology has transformed our world – smartphones, computers, and more. Life began with digital technology. Today we have printers that build 3-dimensional objects. Life began with 3D printers. And here’s the clincher – life began with the exact correct digital code so that those 3D printers could build copies of themselves and all of the other machinery of life. This cannot be explained by chance, the resources of a trillion trillion universes would be laughingly inadequate.

The way it all works is highly optimized, such as in the chemical structure of DNA and in the selection of the particular 20 amino acids used to build proteins. This operating system was there at the beginning, it didn’t “evolve,” and there is no known way one operating system can transform into another. You can kick your windows PC all you want; it won’t turn into an iMac.

We have found information in orphan genes, human DNA, and the origin of life. We know, from all of science and all of human history, that only intelligence can create information. The new evidence points to – actually, demands the existence of – a transcendent intelligence, an intelligence that has created every species on Earth. Chance, you say? Get real.

Thanks for reading,
Doug Ell

Outside the Fishbowl

This January I went to a Sunday service at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, New York City. The French Gothic design is incredible. The huge stone carving behind the High Altar, called the “Great Reredos,” must have taken lifetimes to carve. This link will give you a 360-degree virtual tour of the church: I was told Saint Thomas is one of only two churches in the world to have a boys’ choir composed of students at the Church’s school, and the other is Westminster Cathedral.

More than the building and music, I was struck by the sermon. The priest spoke about a “lack of theological imagination.” It struck me that he hit upon one of the key reasons why we, as a society, resist God. We are not able to imagine existence outside our fishbowl.

Imagine you are a fish in a fishbowl, and you wonder what it’s like outside your fishbowl. You probably can see out, and although images are blurred, and there is a huge difference between air and water, you sense there are creatures out there who move around like you do. Now imagine a heavy blanket over your fishbowl that blocks all light. Now you don’t know what’s out there. You do realize that periodically food is being added, so you acknowledge an existence of some type out there, although you are literally in the dark. But you would most likely assume it is some sort of creature composed of the same stuff as you – cells and DNA and a circulation system and so on.

For us, the fishbowl is our universe. We cannot see outside our fishbowl. We do know, if we’re honest about it – which admittedly most people are not – that both our universe (fishbowl) and all life were designed. We know this because chance is a pathetically inadequate explanation for the amazingly perfect design of the laws and constants of physics, and the beyond understanding complexity of life (think of the human brain). Let’s call this mind outside our universe “God.” We then ask, what does science tell us about God? Let’s put aside history and the Bible for now. Based solely on science, what can we know about God?

The answer is, not much. We know this mind out there, this God, is immensely powerful and intelligent. A being capable of creating our four-dimensional space-time universe is vastly different from the human minds we encounter in our fishbowl.

If you think along these lines, it becomes easier to see through the so-called “scientific” obstacles our culture throws up against the existence of God. Let’s start with the question “who created God”? Creation is a concept that exists in our fishbowl, where one event precedes in time another event and causes the second event to happen. But the question “who created God” incorrectly assumes that the concept of causation in time applies outside our fishbowl. Remember, God created time (and space), and created our fishbowl. God is outside of time. To ask a question that assumes our concept of time and our concept of causation apply outside of our fishbowl shows a lack of theological imagination.

Another typical, although often unspoken, barrier for many is that they literally cannot imagine a mind powerful enough to do all this – to create our universe and design all life. Again, this shows a lack of theological imagination. Just because the minds we encounter in our fishbowl – minds made up of atoms that exist in time – can’t do these things is no reason to suggest that the mind outside our fishbowl can’t do them. We cannot transfer the restrictions we see in our fishbowl to a mind outside our fishbowl. I think God has absolute control over every quantum phase state in our universe (see Chapter 14 of Counting To God). A being with that attribute could (and in my view has) done things – performed “miracles” – beyond our comprehension (like the resurrection of Jesus, which is by far the best documented event of the ancient world). How can that be? I don’t know, but to say that God can’t perform miracles shows an obvious lack of theological imagination, an incorrect assumption that what we see in our fishbowl applies outside our fishbowl.

One analogy that occurs to me is that the relationship between God and us could be similar in some ways to the relationship between us and a virtual character in a gaming program. We can create such characters and give them characteristics, but these characters, no matter how intelligent we might make them (think of powerful artificial intelligence, powerful AI), cannot appreciate us and our universe except to the extent we create them in our image – just as the Bible tells us we are created in the image of God. Yes we could give our AI characters some capacity to appreciate music and colors, but they can never experience the music and colors in our world. I use this analogy because many people who have had near death experiences, who have had a glimpse of what lies outside our fishbowl, will tell you that the colors and music outside our fishbowl are far superior and far more wonderful than what we experience.

If we make these AI characters smart enough, and give them enough ways to gain information (like our human senses) to learn about their world, they might be able to detect that we exist based on characteristics of their virtual world. But other than that, all they can know about us is what we tell them. In history, and in the Bible, God has taught us a great deal about the nature of God and how we are supposed to live our lives. The Bible is like an operating manual for life. To the extent you can follow it, your life is likely to be easier and less stressful.

Many reject the Trinity, the Christian three-in-one God, because they cannot imagine that kind of being. This betrays a lack of theological imagination, the false assumption that just because something doesn’t exist in our fishbowl it can’t exist outside the fishbowl. Despite the overwhelming scientific evidence that God has built into different kinds of animals the capacity to adapt, to “evolve,” into different species, many (most?) hang on desperately to a Darwinian fable of the “magic” and “power” of natural selection. This inability to conceive of a being powerful enough to build this fantastic technology into all life again reveals a lack of theological imagination.

God is outside our universe, outside our fishbowl, not limited by human concepts of intelligence and power. If we are honest, we know from science that God exists. Let us expand our minds and our theological imaginations to appreciate the wonder of God.

Thanks for reading,

Doug Ell

A Christmas Blessing

The Discovery Institute has issued a second endorsement of my latest book, Proofs of God. You can read the review by clicking here. The title is “Great Christmas Gift — Proofs of God Translates Design Arguments for Young Students, Teenagers.” The review contains cartoons from my book. It also contains within it a second review from a middle-schooler.

Here’s a line I like: “Sometimes the best way to learn is when you’re having fun and don’t realize that you’re learning.”

Hope you are all well and safe. Here’s a post I wrote two years ago on what I believe are actual astronomical events underlying what we refer to as “the star of Bethlehem.” I keep learning more about the history and science relating to the birth of Jesus, and hopefully next season I’ll post an updated blog on that.

Merry Christmas and thanks for reading. May the Lord bless you and hold you in the palm of his hand.

Doug Ell


“Fine-tuning” is things set just right to get a special result. Imagine walking into a control room for the universe, a room with a hundred dials that each set a constant of physics – a dial to set the speed of light, a dial to set the ratio of the masses of the proton and election, a dial to set the strength of the electric charge, and so on. You see that every one of these dials is precisely set for life to exist. If you change any of the dials, in many cases by an unbelievably small fraction, life could not exist. In this sense, scientists have found the constants of physics to be “fine-tuned.” (Scientists have also found that the laws of physics themselves are designed for a universe that permits life.)

Fine-tuning in physics is a huge problem for atheists. To get around it, they invent a theory that there are lots of other universes, and then invent a theory that the physics of those universes can be different, and then say we just got lucky. It’s all pure fantasy with no scientific basis. For more on this see Chapter 8 of my first book, Counting To God.

Today I want to focus on a different kind of fine-tuning, fine-tuning in biology. I want to highlight a September 2020 paper in the Journal of Theoretical Biology. (Yes, I’ve been lax in my posting, but this is an important article I’ve been meaning to tell you about for some time.) The Journal of Theoretical Biology is a prestigious, peer-reviewed journal. The article is here if you wish to read it. Spoiler alert – lengthy and technical.

The article asks “Is it possible to recognize fine-tuning in molecular biology?” The authors begin with a summary of fine-tuning in physics. They state: “The chances that our universe should be life permitting are so infinitesimal as to be incomprehensible and incalculable.” They continue:

Like a Bach fugue, the Universe has a beautiful elegance about it, governed by laws whose mathematical precision is meted out to the metronome of time. These equations of physics are finely balanced, with the constants of nature that underpin the equations tuned to values that allow our remarkable Universe to exist in a form where we, humanity, can study it. A slight change to these constants, and poof, in a puff of gedanken experimentation, we have a cosmos where atoms cease to be, or where planets are unable to form.

The paper then turns to evidence of fine-tuning in biological systems. The authors note that functional proteins (i.e., a string of amino acids that fold into a useful part of life) are fantastically rare – the odds that a sequence of 150 or so amino acids will fold into a useful protein are between 1 in 1050 and 1 in 1074. (For more on this see pages 106 and 107 of Counting To God.) They then turn to the odds of accidentally putting these proteins together to create the structures that make life possible. As I have noted, the complexity of life is literally beyond our imagination. No one knows how the human brain really works.

The authors conclude:

A major conclusion of our work is that fine-tuning is a clear feature of biological systems. Indeed, fine-tuning is even more extreme in biological systems than in inorganic systems.

That is staggering – “even more extreme.” Biological systems are more unlikely to have arisen by blind chance than our universe being fit for life by blind chance (again, even assuming you accept the unscientific belief that there are other universes and that the physics in those other universes can be different).

This is a major paper in a prestigious journal. The conclusion is clear: life was designed. God is real. Despite all the nonsense one reads, and hears, about science being contrary to God, the truth is exactly the opposite – science points unmistakably to design in both the laws and constants of physics and in life itself.

Please share this good news this holiday season. There is cause for great joy.

Thanks for reading. May the Lord bless you and hold you in the palm of his hand.

Douglas Ell

Why Darwin’s Theory Doesn’t Work

A new study found that 54% of Americans accept Darwin’s theory, and believe human beings descended from earlier species of animals. This is not surprising given our society’s hostility to God. But it is contrary to modern science. In this post I will try to explain, as simply as I can, why modern science shows Darwin’s theory doesn’t work.

“Survival of the fittest” is not a force; it’s the self-evident statement that the organisms most likely to survive (the “fittest”) usually do survive. Big deal. There is no “search” button; there is nothing in Darwin’s theory that builds complex structures when needed.

We know from modern science that all creatures have very complex systems. We know from modern science that these systems are built from, and operated according to, code. Human beings have 3.2 billion “letters” of DNA code. In 2012, scientists studying human DNA found it contains four million switches to turn the systems in our body on and off. Each “switch” is complex code.

Mutations can and do occur anywhere in DNA. Over 99.99% of mutations are harmful or have no immediate effect. Mutations pop up in DNA at random, like typos in the text of a book.

Now imagine random changes, mutations, occurring throughout the 4,000,000 sections of our DNA that are switches. These mutations will degrade the vast majority of those switches. The overall trend will be downward, not upward. All the computer simulations show this, as I noted in this prior blog:

Darwin’s theory imagines that gradual changes to just one switch will eventually result in a better switch. But, even if that occurs (and no one has ever seen that occur), the other switches are being degraded. You can’t just “freeze” one switch, and try to improve that over eons, and pretend that the other switches are not harmed. It’s a simple numbers game; overall mutations degrade systems. Think of typos in the text of a book, or random changes in the programming behind the apps on your smart phone. Not likely to make the system better, and by not likely I mean never if you do the math. I made this point in both of my books. Mutations are a downhill slope. Mutations are like rust spots on the surface of a car. A few won’t slow down the car, but eventually the car will fall apart.

And that’s it! It’s really simple, despite the mindboggling refusal of many “educated” persons to see the obvious. Random changes to complex code, that can and do occur anywhere in the code and have no purpose or pattern, will not get you a better system. They will not build a new kind of animal.

This simple and obvious conclusion is supported by:

  1. The second law of thermodynamics — All systems are running down.
  2. The fossil record – the myriad varieties of “intermediate” organisms predicted by Darwin don’t exist.
  3. Laboratory experiments on bacteria showing a decline in function over tens of thousands of generations.
  4. As noted above, complex computer simulations of the effects of mutations.
  5. The existence of structures like the human brain, so complex that we cannot begin to understand how it works, that could not possibly have arisen from random changes.

Human beings are special. Don’t let anyone claim we are descended from pond scum. God designed us.

Thanks for reading.

Doug Ell