Jean O’Micks – Further Evidence That Homo naledi Is Not a Member of the Human Holobaramin Based on Measurements of Vertebrae and Ribs

Introduction

In the wake of a detailed discussion within creationist circles about the baraminic status of Homo naledi (McLain 2017; O’Micks 2016a, b, c 2017; Wood 2016a, b 2017), more evidence has accumulated that H. naledi indeed is a member of the Australopithecus baramin, and is not human. These previous analyses of measurements on H. naledi’s cranium (Berger et al. 2015; Laird et al. 2017), foot (Harcourt-Smith et al. 2015), hand (Kivell et al. 2015), upper limb (Feuerriegel et al. 2017), and thigh (Marchi et al. 2017) show that H. naledi either shows continuity with members of the Australopithecus baramin, or that it is not continuous with members of the human holobaramin. Despite the initial conclusion that H. naledi was likely to be a member of the human holobaramin based on craniodental characteristics alone (O’Micks 2016a; Wood 2016a), the addition of post-cranial characters cast this conclusion into doubt (O’Micks 2016b).

The vertebral column is a major characteristic of vertebrates in general, and especially in hominoid primates. It is responsible for upright posture and bipedal locomotion. Non-human primates are stiff-backed, whereas hominoid primates have a more mobile lower back, adapted to lordosis and erect posture, required for bipedalism (Williams et al. 2016). African great apes have funnel-shaped thoraces, which are narrow at the top, and are wide or flaring at the bottom, with a relatively short lumbar column. On the other hand, humans have a barrel-shaped thorax with a wider upper ribcage, with a narrow waist, atop a relatively longer lumbar vertebral column. The ribcage of H. naledi is distally wide, like what we see in Australopithecus species (Berger 2015). Humans also have elongated hind limbs, which make bipedalism possible (Williams et al. 2017). In humans, the first seven ribs are true ribs, ribs eight to ten are false ribs, and eleven and twelve are floating ribs. The number of lumbar vertebrae also vary in primates between four and nine (Gebo 2014).

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Michael Boling – Unreached People Group: The Muslim Hui of China

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INTRODUCTION

In the Great Commission outlined in Matthew 28:19, Jesus commanded his disciples and subsequent generations of believers to “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” The phrase all nations or panta ta ethne in Greek has subsumed within it the concept of “ethnic (or ethnolinguistic) groups, and all the “nations” refers to all the ethnolinguistic groups in the world.” The Muslim Hui of China represent a clear example of an ethne that is in dire need of hearing the saving message of the gospel.

Despite encounters in the 7th century with Nestorian Christians and more recent missionary indigenous and Western missionary engagement, the Muslim Hui of China, a population of 10 million people, remains largely unevangelized. The Hui are deeply tied to Islamic faith and practices. Cross-cultural missionary efforts have been limited by past persecution of the Hui by the Han Chinese and foreigners. Efforts to reach the Hui have often focused on altering the Hui’s cultural identity into a more Westernized Christian construct rather than allowing the Hui to maintain their distinct cultural elements thereby utilizing those elements as a bridge of contextualization and evangelization. This forcing of Western ideals on the Hui as well as deeply engrained Muslim proclivities against Judeo-Christian beliefs are contributing factors to the current status of the Hui as an unreached people group.

This paper will examine the historico-cultural, economic, and religious background of the Muslim Hui of China, the missional methodologies utilized to reach them; meanwhile offering critical analysis of those methodologies, alternatively proposing an effective multi-faceted strategy to evangelize the Hui in a culturally relevant framework.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON THE MUSLIM HUI OF CHINA

The Hui have a population estimated to be around 10 million people scattered throughout the various provinces of China with the highest concentrations of Hui being in the Ningxia, Qinghai, and Gansu provinces. Nearly 20% of the Hui live in the Ningxia Autonomous Region resulting in this area being known as the “Hometown of the Huis.”

But wait, there’s more!

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Tim Chaffey – Creation: The Longest Week Ever?

For more than 200 years, Christians have been trying to reinterpret the six days of Creation in Genesis 1 to make them align with millions of years. But every attempt has a fatal flaw.

“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day” (Genesis 1:31).
“The sixth day.” What does that phrase mean to you? More than 200 years ago, Christians began to question whether this day truly was the sixth day, instead of the six millionth or six billionth day. They were responding to an idea, popularized in the late 1700s, that our planet and universe are much older than Scripture indicates. They wondered where millions of years might harmonize with the Bible. So they scrutinized Genesis 1 and reinterpreted the days of Creation Week in a variety of ways.

But they didn’t recognize that each of these attempts to insert long ages into Scripture had fatal flaws (even beyond the alarming fact that they tried to change the original intent of the language). Most notably, they place death, suffering, and disease long before Adam and Eve sinned.

Yet you will still hear varieties of these views. What are we to make of them? Is there any justification for changing the meaning of the Bible’s first chapter?

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Micah and Tracy Fries – Adoption: The Good and Hard Lessons

We recently marked several months of being home with our son who was adopted from the tiny south African country of Lesotho. He is full of life and has a huge personality. He laughs uncontrollably sometimes at things around our house, like when we told him our dog was being a “pill” and the way his dad calls his sisters “chick-a-dee” and “sweet pea.” Watching him figure out how things work and seeing him do things that are very much African (you should see him eat an orange) makes our hearts smile. After having lived and worked as missionaries in Africa, we love having a little African son in our house.

While he has brought much joy and energy to our house, our short time as adoptive parents has brought on a number of other emotional responses—many of which we were unprepared for. Adoption has become a popular topic in Evangelical circles in recent years, and praise God for that. While there are many implications in Scripture that we take seriously, orphan care is an explicit expectation for the Christian, and it’s often been ignored by the church. Unfortunately, however, with the rise of popularity has come a parallel rise in romanticism regarding adoption. Like marriage, often portrayed in media as the meeting of two perfectly suited individuals who spend the rest of their days in wedded bliss, adoption can take on mythical proportions among some Christians, and if they are not careful, they can enter or support it without fully taking stock of how difficult it can be.

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Paul Tripp – Why Are Stories In The Bible?

I want to introduce to you a series of posts that will focus on stories of people of faith. You will be familiar with some of the names, like Noah and Abel and Enoch, while other biblical characters will be less renowned, like the Widow of Zarephath, who still have important stories to tell.

But before we begin, I need to remind you of something important: the purpose of their stories is not to give you heroes to emulate, but rather to point you to a Person in whom your faith should reside.

You see, these men and women aren’t memorable because they had faith; there’s nothing special about the EXISTENCE of their faith. Rather, these individuals are memorable because they found an immoveable and eternal LOCATION for their faith – the God of the universe.

WITHOUT FAITH

As I’ve written many times before, it’s impossible to exist as a human being and not have faith. Every man, woman and child is born a philosopher and a theologian, organizing their life by a faith-based worldview that determines their thoughts, desires, words and actions. Even if their theology boldly declares, “There is no God!” and their lifestyle is defined by carefree autonomy, they still exist by faith – a belief that there is no God and no eternal consequence for their behavior.

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Clint Archer – Saving Lies: Schindler and the Hebrew Midwives

He then “convinced” the Nazis (i.e. bribed them) to let him select Jews that would leave the concentration camp and work for him for no pay as slave labor. Unbeknown to the Nazi authorities Schindler had specifically told his factory foreman that he would be highly disappointed if a single working bombshell was ever produced in this factory. His intention was never to assist the Nazis in their sinister genocidal efforts, but rather to subvert their cause and save the Jews.

When I visited Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, I found the tree which the Jews had planted as a memorial to Oskar Schindler in the “Avenue of the Righteous Gentiles.”

But were Schindler’s deeds righteous or not?

He illegally bribed government officials.
He purposefully lied to the authorities.
He willfully undermined his government.
So, did he do the right thing or not? Good question. Let’s see if we can learn any lessons from Exodus 1.

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Michael Boling – Theodices and the Problem of Evil

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INTRODUCTION

The problem of evil is an issue that has continually perplexed humanity. Philosophers such as David Hume, John Hume, J. L. Mackie, and Alvin Plantinga, along with theologians such as Augustine have developed theodices in an effort to provide an answer to not only the existence of evil, but also why an omnipotent God allows the existence of evil. Many, when attempting to postulate a solution to the problem of evil still ponder the ancient philosopher Epicurus’ age old question: “Is he [God] willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then is he impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then is he malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?”

How one engages this complex issue greatly influences their perception of God as well as His interaction with humanity. One must broach the problem of evil through the lens of scriptural exposition. Given finite man is incapable of holistically understanding the actions of an omnipotent God, any theodicy will encounter difficulties explaining the existence and purpose of evil. This paper will outline four respected theodices arguing for a combination of the ideas presented by Augustine and Alvin Plantinga as the basis for both a biblically sound approach to an ultimate solution for the problem of evil based on the concomitant ideas of God’s goodness and man’s sinfulness.

THE NEED FOR A THEODICY

John Stott rightly commented, “the fact of suffering undoubtedly constitutes the single greatest challenge to the Christian faith.” In a world fraught with suffering, it is necessary for the believer to develop a cogent theodicy. The multifarious solutions presented by philosophers and theologians have only served to obfuscate the underlying issue that must be addressed, namely how an omnipotent God allows evil to exist. C. S. Lewis saliently explains the prospect of answering [the problem] depends on showing that the terms “good” and “almighty,” and perhaps also the term “happy” are equivocal: for it must be admitted from the outset that if the popular meanings attached to these words are the best, or the only possibly meanings, then the argument is unanswerable. But wait, there’s more!

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William Plumer – Sin: An Infinite Evil

Tell me what you think of sin, and I will tell you what you think of God, of Christ, of the Spirit, of the divine Law, of the blessed gospel, and of all necessary truth. He who looks upon sin merely as a fiction, as a misfortune, or as a trifle sees no necessity either for deep repentance or a great atonement. He who sees no sin in himself will feel no need of a Savior. He who is conscious of no evil at work in his heart will desire no change of nature. He who regards sin as a slight affair will think a few tears or an outward reformation ample satisfaction. The truth is, no man ever thought himself a greater sinner before God than he really was. Nor was any man ever more distressed at his sins than he had just cause to be. He who never felt it to be an evil and a bitter thing to depart from God (Jer 2:19) is to this hour an enemy of his Maker, a rebel against his rightful and righteous Sovereign.

When God speaks of the evil of sin, it is in such language as this: “Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD. For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (Jer 2:12-13). God is a God of truth and would never speak thus about anything that was not atrocious and enormous in its very nature. Yet it should be observed that He mentions only such sins as are chargeable to all men, even the most moral and decent.

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Peter Gentry – 4 Factors That Govern Biblical Typology

1. Correspondence

The first is correspondence between events, people, places, etc., of one time, and events, people, places, etc., of a later time. This correspondence is due to the fact that God in his providence sovereignly controls history, and he is consistent in his character so that there are repetitive patterns to his works in history.

2. Escalation

Second is escalation from type to antitype so that the later event, person, or thing that can be said to be the fulfillment of the type is much better and greater than that which foreshadows it.

3. Biblical Warrant

Third is biblical warrant. For something to be considered a type, there must be exegetical evidence in the original text that indicates that what the text is dealing with is intended to be a model or pattern for something to follow in history. For example, deliverance through the Red Sea was intended from the start to be a model for future salvation.

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Jaquelle Crowe – Ashamed of My Body: Six Truths for Struggling Teens

I don’t remember the first time I hated my body, but I remember how much it hurt. I looked in the mirror and realized that my body was not perfect, not flawless, and not like it “should” be. I can remember feeling sick with shame.

Becoming a teenager brings terrific joys, but it also brings many new difficulties. One of the most pervasive and crippling is body shame. We live a precious, precarious time in our childhood when we lack shame for our bodies. We view them as our machines, tools for communication and self-expression, the catalyst for our play, perfectly acceptable to us in their functionality. We are self-aware, but not self-conscious.

Then we get older and something happens (or maybe much happens), and cultural messages start to seep into our minds and pollute our perceptions. And one day we realize that beauty is more important than function, and our body is not beautiful. We’re left asking ourselves, How did I never realize how ugly I am, how fat I am, how awkward I am, how (fill in your word of shame) I am?

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