The Anglosphere’s Sobering Future

Prophetically significant winds of change are beginning to swirl ominously around the globe. Once-mighty Britain, which at one time controlled the greatest empire the world has ever seen, is exiting the European Union and now stands alone as a financially-strapped and increasingly insignificant island nation. America, still the only global superpower, is trillions of dollars in debt, torn by internal divisions, concerned about emerging threats from abroad, and seemingly intent on alienating its allies.

What has led to these dramatic reversals and what does the future hold for two nations that, along with their kindred countries, have dominated the world for two centuries? Are we approaching another critical turning point in world history? While scholars debate the meaning of these momentous changes, few today realize that Bible prophecies have long foretold these striking events would occur. The Bible also reveals why these notable shifts are happening and what lies ahead for the countries of what some call the Anglosphere—the English-speaking nations around the world.

Rising Chorus of Warnings

During the last several decades, a growing number of observers have focused on the troubling signs of decay spreading across the Western world—especially in the English-speaking nations. More than 20 years ago, Judge Robert Bork published Slouching Towards Gomorrah, a “book about American decline” that described America as a nation on a “downward trajectory” and “on the road to cultural disaster.” As a university professor in the 1960s, Judge Bork saw the ideas of political radicals permeate American society, spawning racial tensions, illegitimate births, widespread drug use, the uninhibited display of sexuality, and increasingly violent entertainment. His conclusion was “Gomorrah is our probable destination” (p. 343), referring to the ancient biblical city known as a center of debauchery, destroyed by God along with the city of Sodom (Genesis 19:24–25).

A few years later, English journalist Peter Hitchens published The Abolition of Britain, where he described the efforts of liberal politicians to overthrow accepted cultural traditions in Britain by undermining the foundations of marriage and family and normalizing pornography, prostitution and homosexuality. These would, he believed, put “a great civilization… on the edge of extinction” (p. xi). His concerns were echoed a decade later by Melanie Phillips, an award-winning columnist for London’s Daily Mail, in her book The World Turned Upside Down: The Global Battle over God, Truth, and Power. Ms. Phillips described how the spread of secular humanism, along with moral and cultural relativism, facilitated the rise of New Age cults and the return of paganism, witchcraft and astrology “in Britain’s multicultural nirvana,” and how the modern liberal attack on traditional Judeo-Christian values—which provided the foundation of Western civilization—is nothing more than a “Secular Inquisition” and “Cultural Totalitarianism” (pp. 97–98). Taken together, these sweeping changes have contributed to what her book describes as “Britain’s postwar cultural suicide” (p. xi).

In America, scholar, economist and social theorist Thomas Sowell published Dismantling America, in which he lamented the fact that many today are blind to the lessons of history and fail to see the parallels between the decline and fall of the Roman Empire and what is happening in America and the West. According to Sowell, we are watching “the degeneration of our culture” (p. viii). Patrick Buchanan, an advisor to three presidents, addressed the same subject in Suicide of a Superpower when he wrote, “America is coming apart…. Our nation is disintegrating ethnically, culturally, morally, politically…. What once united us is dissolving. And this is true of Western civilization” (pp. 2, 7). He cites the growing threat of runaway debt, the tragic death of a primarily Judeo-Christian culture in America, and the divisiveness spawned by the worship of diversity. Buchanan concludes, “America has taken on the aspect of a decadent society and a declining nation” (p. vii)—and as a result of the culture wars of the 1960s, America is “a house divided against herself” (p. 408) which will eventually fall (see Matthew 12:25).

The view of the road ahead for other Anglosphere nations is equally telling. BBC correspondent Nick Bryant notes that due to the “uncertainty in Westminster, and something nearing chaos in Washington… neither Britain nor America can boast strong and stable governments” (BBC.com, “The end of the Anglo-American order?,” June 9, 2017). He writes, “These English-speaking nations no longer speak with such a clarion voice [like Churchill’s], and the rest of the world no longer takes such heed.” In his book The Rise and Fall of Australia, Mr. Bryant notes that short-sighted leadership by self-promoting politicians has wasted many opportunities for the “land down under.” An article in The Brussels Journal entitled “The Decline of the English-Speaking World” states “the English-speaking world is leading the disintegration of the West, ideologically and demographically. The entire West is sick, but the Anglosphere is sicker than most.”

Cause and Effect—The Biblical Perspective

But what does the decline of the Anglosphere nations have to do with the Bible, and why is this happening now? Many today have forgotten that God guides the course of history (Daniel 4:17, 25, 32), and He alone can bring to pass what He has foretold (Isaiah 46:8–11). Moses recorded that the covenant God made with the ancient Israelites prophesied blessings for obedience and consequences for disobedience to His laws (see Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28). Just as the ancient Israelites turned away from God, so too have the modern descendants of Israel living in the nations of the Anglosphere. God prophesies of the Israelite nations that, as a result of turning away from God and His ways, “you will become utterly corrupt… and evil will befall you in the latter days” (Deuteronomy 31:27–29), which accurately describes what is happening today. Among the many outcomes that follow from disobeying God, we are told, “The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower… [and] he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail… until you are destroyed” (Deuteronomy 28:43–45).

Isaiah anciently prophesied that the sinful nation of Israel had forsaken God and was sick from head to toe (Isaiah 1:3–6). These words well describe the modern Anglosphere nations today. The prophet proclaimed, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20), and the prophet Jeremiah stated repeatedly that the ancient Israelites would be punished because they had forgotten God and forsaken and perverted their ways (e.g., Jeremiah 2:13; 3:21). The Russian novelist, historian and social critic Alexander Solzhenitsyn echoed these same words when he commented in his 1983 Templeton Address that the unprecedented evils of the twentieth century were due to a simple fact: “Men have forgotten God, and that is why all this has happened.” The prophet Hosea foresaw a time when the Israelite people would view the laws of God as a “strange” thing (Hosea 8:12). Today in the Anglosphere nations, the biblical concept of marriage and Bible-based prohibitions such as those against adultery, fornication, swearing, and homosexuality are viewed as old-fashioned and repressive laws that must be eliminated—and we are seeing the tragic results.

We are heading toward Gomorrah, and the future is not good. Bible prophecies indicate that the British-descended nations that ignore the lessons of history will reap what they have sown (Galatians 6:7). The demise of the Anglosphere will be a sobering turning point in history and a lesson to the world (Deuteronomy 28:37).

Article source: https://www.tomorrowsworld.org/magazines/2018/september-october/the-anglospheres-sobering-future

A Universe Tailored Just for You

On June 28, 2018, NewScientist magazine published an online article titled “A fine-tuned universe may be controversial but can’t be ignored.” What are they talking about?

The more that cosmologists and physicists have plumbed the depths of the laws governing our universe, the more they have been unsettled. They have found that the laws of nature seem to have been very finely tuned to make life possible. If just one of many constants and principles governing the cosmos were different by even the slightest amount, then life as we know it—in fact, life in the universe at all—could not exist!

When we examine the universe, it does not appear random and unplanned. Quite the contrary, it appears to have been designed to allow for life like ours to exist! One of the ways that design shows itself is through the numerous factors that must have been finely and precisely tuned to tailor a universe just for us.

The number of such cosmic “adjustments” that make our lives possible is far too large to exhaustively list them in this brief article. But let’s take the time to survey only a few of them and then consider what such fine-tuning implies.

A Universe Precisely “Dialed In” to Allow Life

For example, physicists have discovered that the ratios of the particle masses that make up the atom cannot vary by even the tiniest amount. If they did, then the lives of stars would be too short or, in the worst case, even atoms themselves could not exist. As Stephen Hawking once wrote in his book, A Brief History of Time, “The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life” (p. 125, emphasis ours).

Consider, as well, the “cosmological constant”—an obscure but vital number related to the “energy density” of the universe. Scientists were surprised to find that it was vastly lower than theories predicted, yet if this cosmic constant were not “finely tuned” to within 120 decimal places, then, according to Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg, the universe would have long ago collapsed in on itself or else expanded so fast that no stars or galaxies could exist (“Life in the Universe,” Scientific American, 1994).

The list of such precisely “dialed in” numbers that make life possible is long! If the strength of gravity were larger, stars would burn too hot, too quickly, and too unevenly—yet if it were lower, stars would be too cool and would fail to begin the nuclear fusion essential for life. If the “ground state” energy level of the helium atom were slightly higher or lower, there would be insufficient carbon and oxygen in the universe for life. If the electromagnetic force did not have exactly the strength it does, then the chemical bonds that make life possible could not occur. Example after example exists in the sciences of such “coincidences”—where the numbers turn out “just right.”

Had these factors that constrain the forces and laws of the universe differed by only the tiniest of fractions, we simply could not exist. And yet, try as they might, physicists and cosmologists have yet to discover a convincing reason for why these conditions are so precisely fixed the way they are. To them, it remains a mystery for which they continue to seek a satisfying explanation.

Could it be random? Is it possible that we simply “got lucky” and just happen to have been given such a “Goldilocks universe”? Geoff Brumfiel, writing in the prestigious science magazine Nature, summarized what it means to live in a life-permitting universe such as our own: “If you believe the equations of the world’s leading cosmologists, the probability that the Universe would turn out this way by chance are infinitesimal—one in a very large number” (January 5, 2006).

An Infamous Atheist Changes His Mind

Antony Flew had been one of the most famous atheists in the world, writing many books and participating in public lectures and debates, arguing that God did not exist—even that the very idea of “God” was illogical.

Then, in the early-2000s, he changed his mind, to the shock and surprise of many. He summarized how he had arrived at his new conclusion in his 2008 book, There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind. In that book, written with co-author Roy Varghese, he details why he had to face the facts and admit the obvious: There truly must be a God behind the world we see around us.

In his chapter “Did the Universe Know We Were Coming?,” Flew discusses the sort of evidence we have described here, and summarizes the clear conclusion with a simple analogy.

Imagine, he suggests, that you stop at a hotel during a vacation trip, get a key, and head to your room. But as you enter the room and put your bags down, you begin to notice a number of remarkable coincidences. The music playing quietly in the room just happens to be your favorite music. You smell your favorite fragrance wafting through the air, and the room is stocked with your favorite beverages and your favorite snacks. The book on the desk just happens to be one by your favorite author, and the bathroom happens to be filled with your favorite products. The television is off, but when you turn it on, it is already set to your favorite channel.

Such a growing collection of “coincidences” would lead you to conclude that somehow the hotel management knew in advance that you were coming. And, as Flew argues, the far more numerous life-supporting “coincidences” we see in the world and cosmos around us should bring us to the same conclusion: Someone has arranged this universe especially for us.

Only a “Divine Mind”

Some have tried to dismiss the fine-tuned universe idea in a variety of ways, such as a hypothesized “multiverse” of multiple universes, in which ours just happens to be one that “works.” (Our November-December 2014 article “Do We Live in a Multiverse?” explores this issue.) Others have suggested that we shouldn’t be surprised that the universe suits us, no matter how utterly improbable it might be. After all, they argue, this arrangement of the universe may have been mind-bogglingly improbable, but if it had not turned out this way, we wouldn’t be here to wonder about how improbable it is!

In evaluating such responses, the one-time atheist notes that when such “answers” are examined closely, they simply fail to address the central question: No excuse or imagined scenario changes the fact that these laws of nature must be explained, and in Flew’s own words, “the only viable explanation here is the divine Mind.”

None of this should surprise students of the Bible. We are told by the prophet Isaiah that the Eternal One “who created the heavens” is also the One “who did not create [the earth] in vain, who formed it to be inhabited” (Isaiah 45:18). His intention from the beginning was to give you a universe in which you could live and come to know Him—to create a home for the works of His hands.

In reality, the universe is made for you in more ways than one. In creating the cosmos around us, the Creator has done far more than craft a finely tuned environment that affords us an opportunity to live out our brief, physical lives. For those who spend the time they are given seeking His will and His way, the universe is more than a temporary home. It is an inheritance.

Article source: https://www.tomorrowsworld.org/magazines/2018/september-october/a-universe-tailored-just-for-you

Making Good News

Do you ever get tired of hearing about all the struggles that so many people face in our world? One day, you hear that three in ten people don’t have access to good, safe water in their homes. That’s 2.1 billion people. The next day, you read that in Ghana, 36 percent of public schools lack toilet facilities. Then, you see a YouTube video highlighting the lack of electricity typical in many corners of the world, making it virtually impossible for vast numbers of people to enjoy so much of the modern way of life that is familiar to the rest of us. What do you think about when you are confronted with the reality of a struggling world?

The Pressure to Give Up

When we are children, we are largely oblivious of the world around us. We have a small bubble of awareness that includes our family, our toys, our friend Timmy and our dog Rover. But as we grow older, we become aware of a larger world, and in that world, we see that some people have far fewer blessings than we do. We see a homeless man in a doorway when we’re riding down a city street. We see a woman with a cardboard sign asking for food at an intersection. And perhaps we drive through a part of town where the buildings look run-down, and we wonder about the people who live there. But it is hard to see what we can do to help—how we can make a difference.

As we grow yet older, we learn more about the breadth of humanity’s problems. We see pictures of refugees, starving children, and drought-afflicted villages. And we can feel overwhelmed by the scope of human suffering. We also learn from the prophecies of the Bible that mankind’s suffering will increase right before Christ’s return. We read Matthew 24, and see that Christ prophesied mankind would have a history of suffering and struggle, culminating in the greatest time of trouble man has ever known. And, again, we can feel overwhelmed. But should we just give up? Should we just say, “There’s nothing I can do, so I’ll just do nothing?”

Helping Today

What do we see in God’s word? Does He direct us to “give up” helping others? Not if we look at Christ’s example. In Luke 18:22–23, Jesus sought to teach a wealthy gentleman about priorities. He pointed the young man to consider the needy and turn to Him. Paul taught the Church to be generous and helpful to those in need, as we read in his words to the Galatians: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).

So, how can you “do good”? How can you make “good news”? What can you imagine and create that will bring help to others in need? Some of the best news today is about people who are using their creativity and ingenuity to make life better for those who need help the most.

Here’s an example of two people who made good news. Pettie Petzer and Johan Jonker are two South Africans who were concerned about the struggle many face to bring water to their homes. Every day, millions of people around the world spend a significant portion of their day carrying heavy containers of water on their heads from a village water source to their homes, sometimes kilometers away. The majority of these people are women. This duo had grown up on farms in rural areas, had seen this vexing problem and wanted to do some good. At first they tried to convert a 100-liter plastic barrel into a wheelbarrow, using the benefit of a low center of gravity to maximize the amount of water that could be moved. But the most expensive part of the project was the wheel. In a creative twist, they realized that the barrel itself could be the wheel!

The result? Today, their “Hippo Roller” is used in over 20 countries, and 50,000 blue “Hippo Roller” barrels roll down dusty roads in villages from Africa to South America. How beneficial is this? Consider the scope of the problem. According to WaterAid, a charity that works to improve access to water and better hygiene and sanitation, one in nine people in our world do not have access to water close to home—more than 800 million people, based on the world’s current population. When you consider the time and energy spent walking miles every day to obtain water for drinking, sanitation and gardening, the extent of the challenge becomes more clear. At the same time, good solutions that help to overcome this challenge become even more exciting.

Other innovative ways to collect, move and use water are equally promising. On mountaintops in Chile, villagers have installed nets to collect water from mist, alleviating local drought conditions and providing thousands of gallons of water every year. Other creative inventors have developed the “LifeStraw,” a simple handheld device enabling millions to filter water for drinking.

But the needs of many who are suffering go beyond water. For example, Jessica Matthews experienced the reality of living without consistent electricity when she visited her family in Nigeria. Challenged in a college course to address a key problem in developing countries, she and three other students invented the “Soccket”—a soccer ball that produces electricity! It’s only an ounce heavier than an ordinary soccer ball, but inside it carries a pendulum that captures the kinetic energy that is generated as the ball is kicked and moves around. This drives a motor, which charges a battery. One hour of play produces enough energy to power an LED lamp for three hours!

Jessica didn’t stop there. She also developed a jump rope that produces four times the power of a “Soccket,” using the kinetic energy from the rope’s rotations.

A Future Making Good News

The point is this: If you dream of a way to help others, through service or creative inventions, there are plenty of ways to “make good news” today! Many of us will never invent a new technology, but in a world of darkness, unhappiness and suffering, simply providing a helping hand reflects a good and godly mindset. Christ’s compassionate mindset motivated Him to heal the sick and encourage the poor.

Even more exciting is this: Our future will be full of “making good news.” The very best news we can give today is that Christ will return to our war-torn, poverty-ridden world. He will establish His Kingdom. And when that time arrives, each day will be full of more good news. The prophet Isaiah was inspired to write of that time, that “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9). That knowledge will include an understanding of every facet of how our environment works. We will show how to make our world into a Garden of Eden, with abundant water, proper sanitation and the power needed to build a godly, productive civilization. We’ll be able to develop creative solutions to daily challenges. Making good news will become a way of life.

Article source: https://www.tomorrowsworld.org/magazines/2018/september-october/making-good-news

Penicillin: Miracle Drug No More!

What would you do if you became sick with a bacterial infection like tetanus, tuberculosis or strep throat? Today, a doctor would prescribe a course of antibiotics—but what if there were no “miracle drug” available? Would there be anything else to treat you? This was the situation up until 75 years ago, when the first antibiotic, penicillin, began to be mass-produced.

Since then, the impact of penicillin has been almost incalculable, and the drug is credited with saving an estimated two hundred million lives. Named after the fungal mould penicillium notatum, from which it is derived, penicillin acts by destroying the cell walls of bacteria, making it a formidable antibiotic in addressing infection. However, with antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria making the arsenal of such drugs increasingly ineffective, we now face a return to the pre-penicillin era, with few viable “medical” defenses at all. Will science discover some new “superdrug” in the fight against disease? Or might there be an even more powerful means of preventing and addressing diseases, one that has been overlooked?

Penicillin Discovered

The British bacteriologist Alexander Fleming is said to have discovered the antibiotic qualities of penicillin by accident in 1928. Apparently, Fleming left a petri dish smeared with staphylococci (or simply “staph”) bacteria in his laboratory while he was away on a two-week holiday, and the petri dish grew a fungus that killed the staph bacteria around it.

Fleming soon identified and isolated the effective component, but he had difficulty extracting significant quantities of penicillin beyond his experimental needs. It wasn’t until 1939 that scientist Howard Florey and biochemist Ernst Chain furthered Fleming’s research and produced penicillin in much larger quantities. In 1942, penicillin was first used successfully on a patient with septicaemia, successfully treating the infection and saving her life.

The Second World War provided essential motivation and financial support for the mass production of penicillin. By 1944, the Allies possessed sufficient penicillin to treat soldiers with infected battlefield injuries and return them to the front line.

In 1945, Fleming, Florey and Chain were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for the discovery of penicillin and its effectiveness in treating various infectious diseases. That same year, Fleming issued an insightful warning about the future use of antibiotics. “Man may easily underdose himself,” he cautioned, “and by exposing his microbes to non-lethal quantities of the drug make them resistant.”

The last 75 years have shown Fleming’s prediction to be true. Today, antibiotics are becoming less effective, as superbugs become more prevalent. The overuse of these medicines and the failure of patients to finish their prescribed courses of antibiotics have resulted in the exact scenario Fleming predicted. Antibiotics have also been applied extensively in agriculture, on both plants and animals, contributing to the rise of drug-resistant bacteria. According to a report by The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, 700,000 people die every year because of drug resistance, and by 2050 this number is expected to rise to 10 million.

In the 2016 Tomorrow’s World article “Superbugs! The End of the Antibiotic Era,” author John Meakin highlighted a sobering observation from Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization. In a speech in October 2015 to the World Health Summit, she said, “Antimicrobial resistance has become a major health and medical crisis. If current trends continue, this will mean the end of modern medicine as we know it.” Here in the U.K., Dame Sally Davies, England’s Chief Medical Officer, recently warned that the world is facing an “apocalyptic scenario” as we are fast running out of effective antibiotics.

Penicillin, identified in Alexander Fleming’s petri dish, originated from a fungus that grew from spores in the air. In their search today for new antibiotics, scientists are testing microbes from sources as diverse as the soil, cave deposits, the Arctic seabed, leaf-cutter ants from the Amazon and even Komodo dragon blood. Malacidins found in soil have been tested successfully on several bacterial diseases that have become resistant to most existing antibiotics, including the superbug MRSA. Scientists have also developed some synthetic antibiotics, but most are semi-synthetic, meaning they are modifications of various natural compounds. Even if new antibiotics are found, development and clinical testing take many years before a product reaches the market. Also, pharmaceutical companies know that antibiotics are not a high-profit item and may only be effective for five to ten years before resistant strains of diseases develop.

What God Makes Available

All the potential new sources of antibiotics have one thing in common with Fleming’s discovery: They are derived from the physical world around us. Yet, as the Bible explains, that world has a Creator! Ultimately God is the creator of everything. Alexander Fleming recognised and researched the attributes of something present in God’s creation, but why do we not think one step further: Why not look to God Himself? God is far more powerful than any and all diseases—and any and all antibiotics. The Bible proclaims a benefit available to those who seek God: He is our healer (Psalms 103:2–3). He can “make us whole” again, in all senses of the word.

It is in God’s power to heal. When the ancient Israelites left Egypt to become God’s nation, He promised to spare them from the Egyptian diseases of the day, provided they obeyed Him (Exodus 15:26). As long as they kept God in the picture, He promised to be a source of healing for them (Exodus 23:35).

Today, it is no different. What should you do if you get sick? Does it make sense to look only to man’s “wonder drugs,” when we can have access to our Creator? Shouldn’t we involve God in our health and healing if He is at the centre of our lives? Here is what He tells us today: “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:14–16).

The future looks dire when it comes to our battle against disease if we rely solely on the ingenuity of man (Matthew 24:7–8), but God can provide healing for those who seek Him in faith as their first priority (Matthew 9:27–30).

Mankind has benefitted greatly from being able to kill many pathogens that otherwise would kill us. But that ability has its limits. Yet we must remember that God has authority over all diseases! He is willing to play a role in our health and fitness if we seek to know Him and please Him in all aspects of our lives. If you would like to learn more about the vital subject of God’s healing, read our free booklet Does God Heal Today? You can request it or read it online at TomorrowsWorld.org.

Article source: https://www.tomorrowsworld.org/magazines/2018/september-october/penicillin-miracle-drug-no-more

King of the Arctic

On the front of the Canadian two-dollar coin is the image of an animal that symbolizes dominance and power in the far northern regions of the planet. Ursus maritimus, the polar bear, a creature of rare beauty, is particularly suited for the brutally harsh environment of the northern arctic zone.

This great bear is the largest living land carnivore on the planet, the average male weighing 1,200 pounds (545 kilograms) with a record of 2,209 pounds (1004 kilograms), according to Polar Bear International. While it may look adorable and cuddly, it is, in fact, one of the most dangerous and ferocious animals on earth.

If one set out to custom-design a carnivorous predator for the high arctic, one could do no better than Ursus maritimus. In a treeless barren land covered with ice and snow and bordered by the freezing brine of the Arctic Ocean, the polar bear has flourished for thousands of years in temperatures averaging -30° F (-22° C) in the winter.

What characteristics are built into this majestic animal’s design that enable it to survive in a region that would quickly freeze the life out of most species? Here are just a few.

Blubber: The polar bear has a thick, insulating layer of blubber (a type of oily fat between the skin and muscles of marine mammals). This layer, not found in other bears, is four to five inches thick, and insulates the muscles and organs from the bitter cold of freezing air or sea water. This insulation can keep the animal warm even while swimming for many hours in the freezing waters of the Arctic Ocean—rather essential for an animal that considers seals to be haute cuisine. Without the genetics to develop this blubber layer, the polar bear would not survive.

Black Skin: While most people consider the polar bear to be white, its skin is, in fact, black. Black surfaces absorb rather than reflect light energy. The clear outer fur allows light and the infrared energy of the sun to penetrate through to warm the skin and, thus, the blood flowing near the skin, which then flows deeper into the body. Once the heat is transferred into the body, the blubber holds most of it there. The black skin is seen only around the eyes, ears and the characteristic black nose. An interesting side note is that the bear seems to be aware of its black nose, for when one is waiting for prey it will often place a paw over its nose, thus not betraying its position.

High-Tech Fur: The fur of a polar bear appears white or off-white and keeps cold out and warmth in. Exactly how it does this, however, is of great interest to researchers. It has been found that the coat is much more than camouflage. The coat is made of two distinct layers: a short, very dense layer next to the skin, and an outer layer of longer guard hairs. The outer hairs are actually transparent and clear—not white. Because they scatter or reflect the full visible spectrum, the bear appears white to the viewer, enabling it to almost disappear from view against a snow-covered background.

However, these high-tech hairs serve an additional function. Recent research has revealed that these guard hairs also work to absorb heat energy radiating from the bear’s body. The clear hollow hairs absorb outgoing infrared energy, directing it back to the bear’s body. This ability to absorb radiation is especially high at the specific part of the infrared spectrum where mammals tend to radiate heat most strongly (“Fur Absorbs Infrared Radiation,” Ask Nature, June 2017). This explains the ability of polar bears to be invisible to infrared sensors when the temperature of the surface of their coat matches the temperature of the ice and snow around them. This amazing design feature almost completely eliminates radiation heat loss from this mammal in its cold environment. Thus the polar bear combines the efficient insulation of blubber with an infrared-absorption system, making it nearly immune to cold. So efficient is this heat-retention system that the bear’s biggest problem is overheating when walking or running. It will often dive into freezing water to cool off, even in winter, if it has been active.

Endurance: One of the features of this great bear is its remarkable endurance and strength. It is by far the strongest of the bear family. Nothing demonstrates this more than its ability to swim extremely long distances in freezing water.

In July 2011, National Geographic reported that a female polar bear, which had been earlier outfitted with a radio collar, made an epic swim of 426 miles (687 kilometers) in the Beaufort Sea over a nine-day period (the average swim is between 30 and 60 miles, or 48 to 96 km). Swimming enables it to hunt for its primary dietary staple, the ringed seal. It travels great distances on land to reach open water, and then swims to open sea ice where it waits by the breathing holes of seals for hours at a time. One slap of a paw can flip a 150-pound (70-kilogram) ringed seal out of the water onto the ice. At other times it charges its prey, moving at speeds up to 40 miles per hour (64 kilometers per hour).

Sense of Smell: The polar bear is designed with one of the most sensitive noses in the animal kingdom. In November 2014, LiveScience reported on research that suggests a polar bear can catch the scent of a seal on the ice from up to 20 miles (32 kilometers) away.

Socks: One can add to these features the fact that the bear comes with a set of built-in socks, composed of very coarse fur covering much of the bottom of the feet, which provides excellent traction on the ice.

These are only a few of the amazing features built into the genetics of a creature designed to live and thrive in an icy land. It is also among the most adaptable animals on the planet, having survived numerous fluctuations in temperature and arctic sea ice.

In the past few years, many have predicted that climate change will drive the white bear to extinction as sea ice retreats, but field research supports a very different conclusion. As recently as February 27, 2017, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) called for a reassessment of the bear’s endangered status.

Canadian wildlife expert Dr. Susan Crockford documents the latest findings on bear numbers, which grew from 22,500 in 2005 to about 30,000 only twelve years later. The bears are thriving, despite shrinking summer sea ice. Dr. Crockford’s report concluded that “loss of summer sea ice, regardless of cause, is not a major threat to bear survival” (GWPF TV, “Polar Bear Scare Unmasked: The Saga of a Toppled Global Warming Icon”).

Apparently, this remarkable animal was also designed to survive the periodic gyrations in the extent of arctic sea ice.

When one studies the polar bear, one can only be amazed at the complexity of this creature, and of the myriad of specialized parts that work together to ensure its survival. It is hard not to conclude that this bear is a product of deliberate design, at the hand of a Being of astounding capacity. The ancient patriarch Job had similar evidence in mind when he declared, “But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you; and the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you; and the fish of the sea will explain to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this, in whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind?” (Job 12:7–10).

Article source: https://www.tomorrowsworld.org/magazines/2018/september-october/king-of-the-arctic

Can We Think of Eternal Life as a Tangible Asset?

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What should you be investing in?

When I was in high school, I was in a one-act play that reached the state finals. Our last competition started at 9:00 p.m. on Friday evening. As a Sabbath-keeper, I wasn’t able to participate. “Can’t you miss church once?” one girl from our cast asked me, casually adding, “God would understand.”

The answer to her question would come to me years later: God understands very well the things we vainly strive for in this life. In reality, we are the ones who don’t understand and who lose sight of God’s promise of eternal life. Fully understanding what that promise means should make it the supreme goal of our life.

Do we really comprehend what eternal life is? After all, we’ve never experienced it ourselves, so it can seem ethereal and out of reach. On the other hand, this physical life seems very real—or, tangible—to us. Therefore, it can seem much more tangible than the promise of eternal life.

First, the biblical facts: We know that eternal life is the gift that God gives us through grace (Romans 6:23), and we seek that gift through faith and action (James 2:24; Romans 2:6–7). Eternal life does indeed mean to live forever, because death is destroyed after God’s plan is fulfilled (1 Corinthians 15:54; Revelation 21:4).

The Bible reveals that, in order to receive this promise, there is something we must do now: keep the commandments (Matthew 19:16–19). Are those just the “big” commandments? James 2:10 states that “whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all”! And Isaiah was inspired to write, “Woe to those who begin by pulling at transgression with a thread, but end by dragging sin along as if with a cart rope” (Isaiah 5:18, Complete Jewish Bible). Some sins may seem minor, but “small” sins can lead us down the wrong path!

How can the connection between commandment keeping and eternal life be more tangible to us? Imagine someone promised you $10 million if you didn’t tell a lie for one year. Your first thought every morning would probably be, “I’m not going to lie today!” Why? Because $10 million is tangible. You know of people who actually have that much money. The reality of the reward would inspire you. But it would not be easy to always tell the truth, and you would likely experience trials as a result. The question then becomes, is doing what’s right worth the reward? The same question applies to the pursuit of eternal life.

But how do we know eternal life is reality? Because someone already has obtained it—our Savior, Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:20–23)! And He tells us that regardless of what we leave behind for His sake, we will receive a hundredfold reward, “and in the age to come, eternal life” (Mark 10:29–30). Also, Paul wrote that the gift of eternal life is worth any hardship suffered in this physical life (Romans 8:18). Becoming part of God’s family as full spiritual children will literally fix everything suffered during this physical life—even death!

Is there something we can do to make eternal life more tangible in our present lives? In 2 Corinthians 4:18, Paul says we should look for the things that are not seen because they are eternal. How can you believe in things that are unseen? Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith is the key to making the invisible things of God real in our lives. Over time, our hope becomes grounded less in our fallible faith and more in the faith of Christ Himself in us (Galatians 2:20).

As the Apostle tells us, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). With this promise, we can know that devoting our entire lives to the goal of eternal life is worth it.

Article source: https://www.tomorrowsworld.org/magazines/2018/september-october/can-we-think-of-eternal-life-as-a-tangible-asset

If I Were a Rich Man…

What is your best investment?

What if money were no object? Who hasn’t had this question put to them by a friend or acquaintance? What would be your answer? Would you decide to travel, buy a house or pay off your mortgage? Would you “party hearty,” or would you bank a sizable sum?

Folks in our Western culture often admire others who are financially successful. However, just because someone has made money doesn’t necessarily mean they have it made.

Many who find themselves suddenly rich—in the situation where choices are not limited by lack of money—are only better off for a short while. The benefits that come with unexpected wealth do not often last.

A few years ago, writer Sheri Masters made an interesting observation:

Statistics about the impact of sudden wealth are grim: The rate of lottery winners filing for bankruptcy within five years of winning is double that of the general population, according to a study by economists at the University of Kentucky, University of Pittsburgh and Vanderbilt University; Sports Illustrated has reported that 78 percent of former NFL players are bankrupt or experience financial difficulties within two years of retirement; interviews by the Williams Group of more than 2,000 families who had gone through estate planning and wealth transfer revealed that 70 percent of those families lost control of their assets—and their family harmony—in the first generation after the transfer (Wells Fargo: Conversations, November 11, 2012).

One online resource, Investopedia, defined Sudden Wealth Syndrome as “a syndrome afflicting individuals who suddenly come into large sums of money”—such as those who win the lottery, for example. The definition continues, “Becoming suddenly wealthy can cause an individual stress. Its symptoms include: feeling isolated from former friends, guilt over their good fortune, and an extreme fear of losing all their money.”

Some individuals even experience forms of identity crisis, as they make decisions or feel influenced by forces and experiences far different than they ever expected (or were prepared) to encounter in their life before being “in the money.”

Money can be a blessing or a curse depending on how it is used. The misuse of money can certainly end up causing grief and tragedy—consequences that stick around long after the money is gone.

Jesus Christ gave counsel about one’s attitude in regard to wealth. He said, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15). What else should your life consist of?

It has been said that a person usually does not have time and money at the same occasion. But if you have a measure of wealth, then you also have a measure of time. What, then, is your best investment?

In the popular musical “Fiddler on the Roof,” the lead character, Reb Tevye, sings the song, “If I Were a Rich Man.” Here are some of the lyrics: “If I were rich, I’d have the time that I lack to sit in the synagogue and pray. And maybe have a seat by the Eastern wall. And I’d discuss the holy books with the learned men, several hours every day. That would be the sweetest thing of all.” For Reb Tevye, pursuing the principles found in the Holy Scripture would be the sweetest thing of all. You, too, could benefit from that same kind of sweetness.

Your sweetest investment, regardless of riches, is ultimately found in the pages of your Bible, seeking the wealth that does not diminish with age. As Mr. Richard Ames, in our Tomorrow’s World telecast “Vital Keys for Bible Study” has stated, “The Bible can transform your life, if you know how to study it. Bible study can be exciting and fresh and relevant, if you apply the Bible’s own guidance to your study.” You might consider looking up that telecast on the Tomorrow’s World YouTube channel.

Article source: https://www.tomorrowsworld.org/magazines/2018/september-october/if-i-were-a-rich-man