Did Apostle Paul Just See a Meteor?

first_img(Visited 66 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 An astronomer explains away Paul’s Damascus vision as a meteor that “changed the course of Christianity.” But does this explain a miracle or insert several more?There has been a long tradition by scientific materialists to explain away Biblical miracles as natural phenomena that simple people in ancient times did not understand. The Flood, for instance, was just a local inundation from the Black Sea. The plagues on Egypt were natural cycles of normal events. The resurrection was a case of the disciples going to the wrong tomb. Here’s a new one: Saul of Tarsus saw a meteor over Damascus. It changed the course of western civilization.According to New Scientist:William Hartmann, co-founder of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, has a different explanation for what happened to Paul. He says the biblical descriptions of Paul’s experience closely match accounts of the fireball meteor seen above Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013.Hartmann has detailed his argument in the journal Meteoritics & Planetary Science (doi.org/3vn). He analyses three accounts of Paul’s journey, thought to have taken place around AD 35. The first is a third-person description of the event, thought to be the work of one of Jesus’s disciples, Luke. The other two quote what Paul is said to have subsequently told others.“Everything they are describing in those three accounts in the book of Acts are exactly the sequence you see with a fireball,” Hartmann says. “If that first-century document had been anything other than part of the Bible, that would have been a straightforward story.“Explanations of this kind usually require auxiliary hypotheses. The voice was meaningless noise that got misinterpreted. The scales that fell off Paul’s eyes were flakes of sunburn from the bright fireball.Writer Jacob Aron finds some plausibility in this account of a natural incident changing the course of history. Didn’t the dinosaurs go extinct from a meteor, changing the course of evolution? Didn’t the Tunguska meteor flatten forests for miles around? Meteors can be world-changing things!Hartmann believes we need to think seriously about the implications of his idea. “My goal is not to discredit anything that anybody wants to believe in,” he says. “But if the spread of a major religion was motivated by misunderstanding a fireball, that’s something we human beings ought to understand about ourselves.”Hartmann might test his hypothesis scientifically, even though he thinks it would be highly unlikely to find pieces of the meteor still lying around in Syria. He could examine how many times meteors created new religions. He could find meteors that speak the words of Jesus. Or, he could point to great philosophers, theologians, and authors of sublime books who were inspired by meteors.The problem with naturalizing miracles in the Bible is that the proferred explanations become more unlikely than the miracle itself. Are we to believe that Paul had never seen a meteor before? Meteors are visible every dark night, and meteor showers several times a year. Almost everyone has seen several bright fireballs by the time they are in their twenties or thirties. Meteors may not have been understood in the way we know them today, but any commonplace natural phenomenon will be understood on its own terms. Paul spent many nights outdoors on his travels. Never did he relate any other case of a “talking meteor” speaking for Jesus. Wouldn’t you think that this intellectual, camping out somewhere in Asia Minor, would see a bright meteor and realize he had been mistaken at Damascus years before? This was no meteor! Fireballs come in with a bang and vanish in seconds. The risen Christ spoke with Paul for a minute or longer, relaying specific words and sentences to him that he remembered the rest of his life.Paul was no fool. He was well educated, an intellectual of his day. His writings are of a high intellectual and moral caliber, showing acquaintance with logic, reason, and philosophy. He is not the sort of person to be deceived by his senses, hearing voices and seeing apparitions that did not occur. He repeated his testimony about that Damascus event many years later to Herod Agrippa II without modification, stating additional things the Lord told him.More importantly, Paul’s message came from other personal appearances of the risen Christ and his own knowledge of Scripture. His own study of the Old Testament—not a meteor—was the foundation for his theology. He did not preach to the people on his travels about the Damascus event, but about  Old Testament prophecies to the Jews, and the evidence of creation to the Greeks. If Hartmann’s weird hypothesis were to be followed, we would have to think that meteors generate sublime writings like I Corinthians 13 about love, or the great moral teachings about humility and Christlikeness in his epistle to the Philippians.And, we might ask, what meteors inspired Peter, John, Luke, Matthew, and the other disciples, Barnabas, Philip, and the author of the epistle to the Hebrews? Paul did not change western civilization in a vacuum. He was welcomed by all the other apostles as God’s chosen messenger to the Gentiles. They gave him the right hand of fellowship. When Paul proclaimed the resurrection of Christ in I Corinthians 15, he did not point to a meteor, but to 500 eyewitnesses—many of them still alive—who could corroborate the certainty of the event. Together, not alone, they changed the world, because they were all eyewitnesses of the risen Christ. (Would that today’s Syrians would open Paul’s letters and read them. They still have the power to change the world.)One could ask who is really starstruck here. Hartmann has already undermined his credibility, because his evident naturalism is self-refuting: i.e., to trust his own senses, his own reasoning, or his own credibility, he must presuppose objective truth and morality. So he is a supernaturalist already. And if he thinks his brain is the product of blind, chance forces, he believes in miracles, too: miracles of chance so implausible as to question the sobriety of those who lean on them.Eyewitness testimony is a form of evidence. Most of what we believe about history is based on eyewitness testimony. You can’t put Paul in a test tube, or repeat an alleged meteor. One has to weigh all the evidence for something as unlikely as the conquest of the Roman empire by a group of persecuted fishermen and commoners. It makes good sense to trust the eyewitness account of a faithful and wise man like Paul, whose credibility was undergirded by a lifetime of self-sacrifice, compassion, humility, love and reason—a man willing to suffer a martyr’s death for his account of how the Lord changed him from the “chief of sinners” who persecuted the early church to an obedient servant of the Christ He met, and came to know, and loved. Discounting Paul’s testimony because one’s philosophy cannot accept it is what’s unnatural.12 “In this connection I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. 14 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language,[a] ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, 17 delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you 18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’19 “Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. 21 For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me.22 To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: 23 that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”24 And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.” 25 But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words. 26 For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.” 28 And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?”[b] 29 And Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am—except for these chains.” (Acts 26:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4-9).last_img read more

‘Yarn bombing’ for World Aids Day

first_img29 November 2012Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile will mark World Aids Day by joining in the “yarn bombing” of a tree at the Hillcrest Aids Centre outside Durban.Yarn bombing (or “guerrilla knitting”) is, according to Wikipedia, a type of graffiti or street art that employs colourful displays of knitted or crocheted yarn or fibre in the place of paint or chalk.“This unusual visual arts project aims to raise awareness around HIV and Aids in a fun, playful manner. It will also create employment for those infected and affected by the disease, specifically the community within the Valley of 1000 Hills,” Mashatile said.The plan is to wrap the tree at the entrance to the Hillcrest Aids Centre in crocheted squares made by the centre’s crafters.“The squares will be sewn together around the trunk and branches; it is going to be bright and cheerful,” said the centre’s Paula Thomson.The initiative has resulted in over R170 000 being put back into the community.As part of the initiative, at least 140 crafters have been taught to crochet, along with 130 school children from five different schools. Local religious bodies, old age homes and businesses are also contributing crocheted squares.“We are supporting this initiative because we too believe the creative economy can be at the centre of our endeavours, to grow the economy, create jobs and build sustainable livelihoods,” said Mashatile.“The work being done by the Hillcrest Aids Centre and the surrounding community is a great example of how using arts and crafts can empower and up-skill even the most marginalised amongst us.”The Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust (HACT) is a faith based, non-profit organisation that supports and empowers people infected and affected by HIV and Aids.Woza Moya is the income generation faculty of HACT. Woza Moya proactively equips people through training and job creation to be self-sufficient. Some of its well-known “Dreams for Africa projects” are the “Dreams for Africa Chair’, “the Green Suit”, “the Little Traveller” and the four-metre long beaded “African love letter”.“We have brought an international concept to South Africa and are the first to do it on such a grand scale,” Thomson said. “We are hopeful this will be the largest yarn-bombed tree in South Africa, if not in Africa.”The public is invited to join this year’s World Aids Day celebration under the beautifully yarn-bombed tree at 26 Old Main Road, Hillcrest.There will be entertainment, crafts, a kiddie’s area, yarn exhibition, tea garden and food stalls. For more information, visit www.hillaids.org.za.Source: SANews.gov.zalast_img read more

Flood-hit Muzaffarpur in pictures

first_imgOther Slideshows Sacred games | Supreme Court verdict breathes fresh life into Ayodhya Rains lash Bihar Sacred games | Supreme Court verdict breathes fresh life into Ayodhya Rains lash Bihar Sacred games | Supreme Court verdict breathes fresh life into Ayodhya Colour purple: Autumn in the Valley is tinged mauve from saffron blossoms What’s a wedding without wazawan in Kashmir Chhath Puja celebrations Chhath Puja celebrationscenter_img The good doctor of Odisha’s Malkangiri village What’s a wedding without wazawan in Kashmir The good doctor of Odisha’s Malkangiri village What’s a wedding without wazawan in Kashmir Chhath Puja celebrations Rains lash Bihar The good doctor of Odisha’s Malkangiri village Colour purple: Autumn in the Valley is tinged mauve from saffron blossoms last_img read more

Nick Foles leads Eagles in upset of Bears

first_imgPhiladelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) passes during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Chicago Bears Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)CHICAGO (AP) — The Philadelphia Eagles needed help to get into the playoffs, and Chicago provided it.Look how the defending Super Bowl champions repaid the Bears.ADVERTISEMENT Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? Nick Foles hit Golden Tate with a 2-yard touchdown pass on fourth down with 56 seconds remaining against the NFL’s stingiest defense, lifting the Philadelphia Eagles past the Chicago Bears 16-15 on Sunday in the final wild-card game.Former Eagles kicker Cody Parkey hit the left upright and then the crossbar with a field-goal attempt from 43 yards with 10 seconds remaining, silencing the raucous crowd.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionThe key, of course, was how the Eagles, even when they are messing up, never give up. On Parkey’s kick, several Eagles said defensive tackle Treyvon Hester touched it.“I think the big thing is, we saw some adversity tonight in the first half (and) I had a couple of turnovers,” Foles said. “I think the big thing is that no one loses faith, no one stops believing, everyone just keeps talking, keeps believing in one another, and we just rallied. Our defense really kept us in this game.” Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Hotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issue Grizzlies GM: Chandler Parsons chose option to continue rehab in LA PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion “We had a lot of fun and I love our guys to death,” Bears coach Matt Nagy said.REID’S INFLUENCEBoth head coaches, Nagy in Chicago and Doug Pederson in Philadelphia, are Andy Reid proteges. That usually means lots of passing, and each team didn’t do much on the ground, combining for 107 yards rushing.But Trubisky threw for 303 yards, going 26 of 43. Foles was 25 of 40 for 266 yards.TURNOVERSTeams rarely win when they are minus in turnover differential. The Eagles did, having two giveaways and no takeaways. Chicago led the NFL this season with 36 takeaways.MASCOT REACTIONChicago’s bear mascot had the perfect reaction to Parkey’s miss, falling flat on his back as he was kneeling behind the goalpost where Parkey’s kick failed.UP NEXTEagles: Travel to New Orleans, where they lost 48-7 during the season. No team has repeated as Super Bowl champion since New England in 2004, and the Eagles are a sixth seed. The last sixth seed to win the NFL title was Green Bay in the 2010 season; the Packers won the NFC championship at Soldier Field that season.These Eagles, led by Foles once again replacing an injured Carson Wentz, and a defense down to backups at several positions, seem to have that magical touch like last season.It was a sizzling ending to a game marked by superior defense and several critical mistakes by the Eagles. They had to survive after Tarik Cohen, an All-Pro punt returner, took back the kickoff following Philly’s go-ahead score 35 yards. Mitchell Trubisky completed two passes to get the Bears close enough for Parkey. But his kick took a double deflection and fell harmlessly into the end zone.He was 11 of 12 in the fourth-quarter on field goals before missing the biggest kick of his career.“Obviously, we’re just hoping for a miss,” Foles said. “This was a hard-fought game. That’s an amazing team we just played against and it came down to the wire.”The Bears are 1-15 all-time in playoffs when trailing after three quarters. They fell behind when Foles connected with rookie Dallas Goedert for a 10-yard touchdown in the third period that was set up by a 33-yard pass interference call on cornerback Prince Amukamara.Although the Eagles outplayed the Bears in the first half, errors left them behind 6-3. A 15-yard personal penalty on Michael Bennett aided Chicago’s drive to a 36-yard field goal by Parkey, and a dropped potential interception in the end zone by Tre Sullivan allowed Parkey to make a 29-yarder as the half concluded.Philadelphia also had an interception by Avonte Maddox deep in Chicago territory overturned by video replay.Philly did score on its opening series of the game, a 50-yard drive to Jake Elliott’s 43-yard field goal. And again on its first possession in the third quarter as Goedert got wide open on a short post pattern behind Adrian Amos, who had an end-zone interception of Foles’ ill-advised throw in the second quarter.Parkey also made 34-yarder early in the manic final quarter. MOST READ TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion LATEST STORIES LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño The defending league champion Eagles (10-7) squeezed into the playoffs by beating Washington and having the Bears (12-5) help them by knocking off Minnesota in the season finale. Philadelphia thanked its benefactor with a 12-play, 60-yard drive on which Foles, the Super Bowl MVP last February, hit six passes.Tate made a reaching grab in the right side of the end zone near the goal line.“We found a way,” Tate said. “That’s playoff football right there for you. That’s why we play this game for times like now once you get to January and February.”Philly plays at New Orleans (13-3) next Sunday. Chicago’s sensational turnaround season from last place to the NFC North title is over.“We wanted to write our story and start it off,” Bears second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky said. “But it does not always go the way you want it to, and that’s life, that’s football.”ADVERTISEMENT “Yeah, it wasn’t very good the first time,” Pederson said. “I think we’re a different football team now than we were then.” Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

Some facts and figures about the DDay landings in Normandy on June

first_imgOTTAWA — Some facts and figures about the D-Day landings in Normandy on June 6, 1944:TARGET: Allies land on French channel coast along five Normandy beaches stretching about 80 kilometres west from River Orne.BEACHES: From west to east, Utah (U.S.); Omaha (U.S.); Gold (Britain); Juno (Canada); Sword (Britain).FEATURES OF JUNO: Eight-kilometre strip of summer resorts and villages scattered over flat land behind low beaches and a sea wall. Many Canadians in first wave race to cover of sea wall. D Company of Queen’s Own Rifles loses half its strength in initial sprint from water to seawall about 180 metres away.ENEMY AT JUNO: About 400 soldiers of 716th Infantry Division man concrete gun positions sited to fire along beach. Zones of fire calculated to interlock on coastal obstacles intended to rip bottoms out of invading boats. Gun positions protected by mines, trenches, barbed wire.SHIPS: More than 7,000 vessels manned by 285,000 sailors. Royal Canadian Navy contributes 110 ships and 10,000 sailors.SOLDIERS: 130,000 ashore by nightfall, including about 14,000 Canadians.VEHICLES: 6,000 tracked and wheeled vehicles and 600 guns land.PLANES: More than 7,000 bombers and fighters available. Allied planes fly about 14,000 sorties June 6, against about 250 by Luftwaffe.D-DAY CASUALTIES (killed, wounded and missing): Canada: 1,074, including 359 killed; U.S. 6,000; Britain: 3,200. Germany figures unreliable because of confusion in retreat.CAMPAIGN CASUALTIES (killed, wounded and missing): In 2-plus months of Normandy campaign (June 6-Aug. 21) Germans lose 450,000 soldiers, Allies 210,000. Canadian casualties total more than 18,000, including more than 5,000 dead.ALLIED LEADERS: Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower (U.S.), Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force. Gen. Sir Bernard Law Montgomery (Britain), Field Commander, D-Day Forces.CANADIAN LEADERS: Gen. Harry Crerar, Commander 1st Canadian Army. Maj.-Gen. Rod Keller, Commander 3rd Canadian Infantry Division.DIVISIONS INVOLVED: Canadian 3rd Infantry Division; British 3rd and 50th Infantry Divisions; U.S. 1st and 4th Infantry Divisions. (All had armoured units attached).The Canadian Presslast_img read more