Mistakes God Did Not Make
How the balance of nature witnesses to the wisdom of God and the inspiration of the Bible.
By B. H. SHADDUCK, Ph. D.
A MISTAKE GOD WILL NOT MAKE
The nations want peace—their own kind of peace. No nation wants peace with defeat. Neither does God. So does God want His kind of peace.
A wicked world at peace and blest with prosperity would mock the warnings of God, nullify the prophecies, and Satan would be happy—if devils can be happy. Quite the most of the people of the world are ignorant of or reject the God of the Bible. Of those who accept the Bible in whole or in part, most of them would be as unhappy in heaven as they are in a prayer-meeting or spending a Sabbath without worldly entertainment.
Yes, peace is coming. "They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks." Is. 2:4. You will make a mistake if you do not read that this peace is to be after "He shall judge among the nations and rebuke many people." A peace that left the nations in bondage to sin, superstition and despotism would be a mistake.
"It is appointed unto man once to die." What then is wrong with war? It narrows life for those who are crippled and shortens life for those who are killed.
Is it possible that drink, dope, gambling, vice, Sabbath desecration, false teaching, and filthy printed matter, break up far more homes and cripple. and kill many more men and women than war does?
To pray effectively, we must try to see life as God sees it. Hitler was hated by millions, but if the devil has lost any popularity, I have overlooked something. So long as the nation raises a crop of children to be harvested by those who commercialize sin, there will be no enduring peace.
Note by Author:
In my youth I was much thrilled with the stories of scouts.
I wanted to follow trails through the forest, seeing footprints invisible to untrained eyes. I tried it, but revised my ambitions when I found that any mongrel pup could do it better than I could, and there was no demand for second rate scouts. Next, I had day-dreams of being a great detective, reasoning from clues and taking apart mysteries that baffled shallow thinkers.
Then I had my great chance. It was to settle for myself whether or not there was a God who would enter covenant relations with men. I wasted no time on obviously discredited gods, but what a blundering investigator I proved to be! I overlooked outstanding evidences of God and took seriously negative testimony.
If chickens could talk, there are millions of old hens that would testify that there are no stars—they have never seen them. There are millions of men who decide that there have been no miracles, BECAUSE THEY HAVE NEVER SEEN THEM. I reasoned that a real God ought to be the most evident being in the universe, and difficulty in finding Him argued against his existence. Then I heard quoted the words of the great Teacher, "If any man willeth to do His will, he shall know ... " In other words, if I really wanted to go God’s way, He would find me.
I did and He did.
Most people are looking for a God who will accept their way of life, or one who will be pleased with compliments and gestures in lieu of obedience. Unless you are eager to love what He loves and hate what He hates, you might as well hunt for wild squirrels with a bass drum. If you are determined to put God first in your life, the angels of God will "run interference" for you on your way to the goal.
God seems to have decreed that every ism that nullifies any portion of the Holy Scriptures, shall have one or more threads sticking out. Pull it where it is loose and it will unravel. Only truth will fit all the facts of nature and human experience; it will never contradict itself nor sponsor a mathematical absurdity. To young people, let me say, I am trying to do for you what I wish someone had done for me fifty years ago. Know your Bible. It will put you "wise" to most of the "cockeyed" isms of the day. In the discussion that follows I offer some facts that may help you to do with man-made religions what I once did with a doll that was cracked in the head. I took it apart to see the sawdust in it.
Life on earth depends on the good behavior of snowflakes. Just a little mistake by the Creator, and the earth would be as dead as the other planets.
Many astute minds have overlooked the fact that if life had evolved on the earth without a master mind it would have evolved its own destroyers.
If the Holy Scriptures had not been inspired, some of the hundreds of mistakes that are found in all other ancient books would have gotten into the Bible, and it would be as easily discredited as they are.
Many visionary theories would not be taken seriously if men realized that, through the centuries, subtraction and addition must play together or break up the game. If, for the last 3,000 years, the annual birth rate of mice and men had exceeded the death rate by only one half of one per cent, a million more worlds would have been needed for colonization.
THE DELICATE ADJUSTMENT OF NATURE
Honest thinkers must see, if they investigate, that only an infallible mind could have adjusted our world and its life in its amazing intricacies. The purpose of this paper is to show that it would have been a mistake if God had done any other way than the Bible says he did.
The God of the Holy Scriptures is the only God whom scientists seriously consider—all others have been discredited. He is the only God whom freethinkers, rethinkers, and methinkers regard as a worthwhile target. Yet the nominal church has leaders who apologize for the mistakes of the Bible—the only source of authority the church has.
Of course, if, through the ages, God has sponsored a religion that needs to have its discredited theories replaced every century, as science does with its own theories, he must have made many mistakes.
Man is the mistake-maker of the universe. He has made more trouble for God and himself than is within the bounds of human calculation. A colony of ants makes fewer errors. A library could be filled with details of silly and even appalling superstitions that have shackled the race—many of them with us yet.
All other ancient books accepted the delusions of their times. You would expect a God to know better. He did. If the Bible warned against black cats, planting in the wrong phase of the moon or when the signs of the zodiac are not propitious, if the Bible had sponsored any of the hoodoo, voodoo, powwow, and jinx-defeating rites that are popular with many, ignorance would be a Christian asset. Those who insist that much of the Bible is folklore have yet to explain why the Bible disapproves of "old wives’ fables," sorcery, enchantment, soothsaying, witchcraft, necromancy, and the fleet of superstitions that enslaved the world.
It is not so long ago that the treatment of many sick people started with the bleeding of the patient. In my youth, children with measles were dosed with a tea made from the refuse of the sheep barn, and children with croup were given a drink so revolting that I shrink from naming it. If the Bible prescribed any of a hundred old-time remedies now discarded by science, atheists would make much of it. In the Bible we have figs for poultice, wine for disinfectant, and oil to anoint damaged tissues—good medicine yet.
The Bible is the only ancient sacred book that has emphasized prophecy and has staked its case on the forecasts of the prophets. Prophecies that do not come true ought to discredit their purveyors; but unfortunately, multitudes come back for a second and third helping. Since my days in a little brick schoolhouse I have heard and read the forecasts of teachers, philosophers, statesmen, poets, politicians, and some preachers, who with amazing unanimity have prophesied the speedy moral uplift of the nations. For a few decades it seemed evident to many that reform forces working in and with the church might Christianize society, before the order of events foretold by our Lord could reach consummation. But the forecasts of a million volunteer prophets have now been discarded by present world conditions—the Bible is unimpeached. Surely no student of the Bible will say that God ever promised peace, prosperity, and stability to any nation when its show houses, stadiums, arenas, grandstands, night clubs, and saloons are crowded and its churches comparatively empty. Just now it takes a deal of credulity to blow the whistle for Utopia as the next station stop. We have had prophecies from every stratum of society,—from poolroom to pulpit,—and those not in harmony with the Word of God have failed.
Let me put it mildly. I can understand how a misinformed prophet can continue popular before his prophecies are discredited, but I cannot understand how he can continue unabashed after the opposite of what he has promised comes true. If the Bible forecast is right and his forecast has been wrong, it seems to me he should apologize to the Bible rather than for it.
Those who think of the Bible as a back number would show sagacity by reflecting on the words of our Lord, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away" (Matt. 24:35). The Bible records no prophecy having to do with our times that has not been fulfilled or is in process of fulfillment.
BALANCING THE PULLS AND PUSHES
Scientists tell us that there are nearly a hundred elements in the make-up of our world. These elements have affinities and aversions, and are the playgrounds of opposing forces, yet with all their pulling and pushing there is a nicety of balance that is amazing to thinkers, There may be other elements somewhere in the universe, but another one might upset the balance of those we have, and certainly if any one of a dozen elements that could be named were taken away, earth would be a desert. God has just the right number, in the right proportion, and they behave exactly the right way so that all the pulls balance all the pushes.
Without lime there could be no bones. Without oxygen there could be neither air nor water. Without nitrogen there could be no life. If there were too much of any one of a dozen elements that could be named, or if some of the deadly poisons were not made harmless by locking them together, life would be impossible—the world would choke us, poison us, burn us, freeze us, or blow us up.
Most of what man knows he learned from some other person’s experiments or mistakes, and after a fourth of his life spent in school, man fumbles with the mysteries of life and matter-sometimes with an air of profundity. God served no apprenticeships.
If, through the centuries, snowflakes accumulated one-half of one per cent faster than they melted, the water of the earth would pile up in mountains of ice until the weight crushed the crust of the earth or gathered all the water of the earth in frozen embrace. Reflect on how a little change would result in that one-half of one per cent, and consider that there have been glacial ages. If the melting point of ice were slightly lower, if the earth were tilted otherwise than it is, if the highlands were higher, if the atmosphere were thinner or shallower, if the sun were smaller, cooler, or farther away, this might easily follow.
IF WATER FROZE AT A LOWER POINT
From absolute zero, 460 degrees below Fahrenheit zero, up to the boiling point of water at 212 above, is 672 degrees. Anywhere between these extremes God could have fixed the freezing-melting point, but anywhere except where it is 32 above, would have been a mistake. If water froze 4 per cent of the 672-degree range lower than it now does, it could rain in a temperature of 6 degrees above zero. Man and most warm-blooded animals would chill to death with a wet skin in such cold. Where now there are vast fields of snow that store up water against the heat and drought of summer, there would be winter floods and guttered hillsides. If God had fixed the freezing point 2 per cent of the range higher, there would be frosts whenever the temperature dropped to 45 degrees above, and snow and ice would never melt in colder areas of the earth. Whatever caused the advance and retreat of the ice fields in glacial ages, there could be no retreat if water froze at 45 degrees above.
Much as the existence of plants and animals depends on the freezing point being where it is, it would never do to have oceans freeze 32 degrees above. In Polar seas the yearly thawing could not balance the yearly freezing, and ice would accumulate through the centuries. To prevent such a disaster, God put salt in the sea and arranged that evaporation takes nothing but fresh water back to the land.
What a fickle substance water is! Its molecules lock together in flinty embrace as ice, cover the earth with a dry blanket of snow in winter, quench the thirst of plants and animals, shade us from the sun as clouds, drive ponderous machinery as steam, and, if super-heated, push one another through the steel plates of a boiler. Then if you take water apart and light a match, it will blow you up.
Suppose water were more or less volatile. If it evaporated more readily there would be more moisture in the air, more clouds in the sky, but land and vegetation would more quickly dry up in drought intervals. If water evaporated less readily, more of the earth would be a desert.
IF ICE WERE HEAVIER
Water gets heavier as it gets colder. Atheistic scientists would assure us that this is a fixed law, eternally unalterable if they had not seen ice. Heavy ice would settle to the bottom; some lakes and rivers would freeze solid; icebergs below the surface would endanger shipping; animals could not cross streams in winter. God did not overlook anything. When water cools to 32 degrees above, the so-called law goes into reverse, and water becomes much lighter.
If God gave to an inexperienced angel a barrel of human brains and gave him the task of designing another world, he would not in a hundred years think of combining two gases into a substance so that man can build houses with it, walk on it, drink it, wash in it, catch fish out of it, turn a desert into a garden with it, make rainbows of it, drive machinery with it, boil beans in it, and then use it to put out the fire.
When God made the world he had vast quantities of chlorine and sodium, one destructive to life, the other a deadly poison. This was not a problem for a resourceful God; he made them fond of each other and locked them together in each other’s embrace as salt, without which earth would be uninhabitable. Then, because too much salt on the surface of the earth would ruin it, he buried most of it. Now, after thousands of years, man has learned how to take salt apart and make poison gas for his wars and disinfectants for his plague spots.
If wonders were not so commonplace the world would marvel that God has created elements that reverse their very nature when combined with others. Oxygen makes the fire blaze with a heat that will melt steel; hydrogen is explosive when touched with flame; together as water, they put fire out. Nitrogen makes air, in combination with oxygen, but when it is "fixed" in other combinations it becomes food, fertilizer, medicine, or explosives.
Why did not God make the world so big that nations would not destroy themselves fussing over it? Indeed, some religious groups talk bravely about "building a new world"-and there doesn’t seem to be any place to build it! Why not have a world twice as great in diameter? The force of gravity depends on the size of the world. To multiply the size of the world would multiply the weight of everything on the earth, from dew drop to avalanche. Imagine, if you can, a 400-pound fireman carrying a 350-pound woman down a ladder that was near to breaking with its own weight. Falling hail would hit much harder, heads of wheat would be too heavy for the straw, great forests would go down in a sleet storm, fruit trees would break under their burdens, a fall down stairs would finish most of us, and people with shapely ankles would be most unfortunate. The contents of the stomach would weigh much more, and the man who ate a large beefsteak might dream that he had swallowed the skillet.
What would life on earth be like if the earth were one-half its present diameter? Certainly the weight of everything on the earth would be greatly reduced. Astronomers say that a 150-pound man removed to the smaller planet Mars would weigh only 57 pounds. Mars has a diameter more than half as great as the earth. If sand, dust, and loose matter on the earth surface were only one-third its present weight, you can guess what would happen in a wind storm, and imagine what a wind would do to the sea if water weighed one third its present weight. The effect on climate and temperature would depend on the adjustment of other factors.
HIGHLANDS ONE TENTH OF ONE PER CENT TOO HIGH
When God made mountains, he did more than make scenery for us. Without elevated lands there could be no drainage, and earth would be largely swamp and shallow sea. Water supply, wind, rain, and temperature depend on mountains. Without them, most of our minerals and metals would never have been utilized.
The radius of the earth is nearly 4,000 miles. If any considerable area of the earth’s surface were heaved up one tenth of one per cent of that radius, snow and ice would collect through the ages until the earth crust collapsed or the earth became lop-sided. Of course, we have mountains more than four miles high, but they are cone shaped and glaciers carry snow and ice down to melting level.
"Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?" (Isa. 40:12 ).
We have great tablelands, but God who weighed and measured them, and fixed the melting point of snow, kept them below the danger line. Just a little mistake of a thousandth part of the earth’s radius, and the earth would be interesting to look at through a telescope.
A MISTAKE OF 1% IN DEPTH OF ATMOSPHERE
Scientists say that far above us there is a layer of ozone that screens out certain rays from the sun which would otherwise destroy all earthly life. It seems that God overlooked nothing. I am glad that this matter of a filter of ozone "between 60 and 250 miles" above us was not left for some "Cosmic Urge" or "Fortuitous Coalition of Forces" to attend to. You could hardly trust some Spontaneous Eruption of Primordial Unrest, could you?
It is well known that the depth and density of the atmosphere modifies our temperature just as altitude does. It must be clear, then, that any mistake that gave us a deeper or shallower atmosphere would make most of the earth an oven or a refrigerator. Death Valley is below sea level and has a record temperature of 134 in the shade. It is obvious, then that a high plateau would be excessively hot if it had the depth of atmosphere that Death Valley has. No one knows how deep our atmosphere is. Guesses range from 50 to 250 miles. Judging from the flight of meteors that burn up while passing through the air, the atmosphere must be at least 100 miles deep. Assuming that this is correct, it must be apparent that a mistake that made it one per cent deeper would make life as we know it impossible. A mistake that made it one per cent shallower would certainly leave much of the earth covered with snow and ice. It would mean snow on equatorial highlands.
IF IT HAD BEEN TILTED OTHERWISE THAN IT IS
The axis of the earth in relation to the plane of its orbit is tilted at an angle of 23.5 degrees, thus making the sun appear to come north in summer and go south in winter, giving us four seasons in the temperate zones. If it had been tilted 45 degrees, the temperate zones would have torrid-zone heat in summer and frigid-zone cold in winter. If the axis were vertical to the plane of the orbit, January and July would have the same climate, and ice would accumulate until the seas would be either dry salt beds or too salty for marine life. If the axis of the earth were horizontal to the plans of its orbit, the earth would be a crazy jumble of fierce heat and deadly cold, with prolonged night on one-half of the earth and prolonged day on the other half. It is doubtful if any life could withstand the extremes.
The moon goes around the earth, always presenting the same side to the earth. If the earth did not spin on its axis, but always presented the same hemisphere to the sun, the earth would be as dead as the moon. The planet Mercury does not spin and astronomers calculate that on one side it is hot enough to melt lead and on the other side it is severely cold. From this we may reason that, if the earth did not revolve, no life would be possible on either side.
The speed of the earth around the sun could be slower or faster. Astronomers say that if it went slower, it would be drawn nearer the sun and all life would be destroyed. By the same reasoning, if it went faster, it would go farther from the sun and be a frozen world.
"The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God."
A MISTAKE OF 10% IN DISTANCE, DIAMETER, OR TEMPERATURE OF THE SUN
Our sun is one of the smallest stars in the universe, but it is exactly big enough and far enough away. No one knows exactly how much heat comes to the earth from the sun because we do not know how cold the earth would be without the sun. From absolute zero up to the heat under the direct rays of the sun would be over 600 degrees. If we take that as basis, 5 per cent more or less heat would ruin the world. Thirty degrees more heat would roast meat under a glass cover under direct rays of the sun. Thirty degrees less heat would usher in a glacial age.
If the sun were smaller, cooler, or farther away, a 5 per cent mistake would not be much for a scientist to make, but too much for a God to make.
A MOON TOO LARGE, TOO SMALL, TOO NEAR, TOO FAR
Moons are somewhat commonplace in our solar system. Saturn has nine, and the latest report credits Jupiter with thirteen. Romantic people may feel that earth has been discriminated against, but a mistake in the number of moons, or the size and distance of the one we have, might be disastrous. If the moon were half as far away, or twice its present diameter, great tides would wreck most of our harbors, submerge low-lying islands and coastal plains, and drive inland a hundred miles on some rivers. Some, who "love darkness rather than light," would prefer to have no moon or one much smaller or farther away. Such a moon would not raise sufficient tides to cleanse our harbors.
That all the adjustments of distance, size, altitude, temperature, revolutions, poise, and behavior of the elements happened by chance is as unlikely as to suppose that a blind printer, not understanding our language, standing before cases of type, would set up by chance Lincoln’s Gettysburg address.
The credulity of atheists is amazing.
It is impossible for thoughtful people to observe the cruelty in nature and believe that a God of love and pity planned it that way. A careless Creator might have left man to wonder why he designed such a carnival of slaughter as "nature red in tooth and claw," but God did not make that mistake. He saved our faith in his goodness by disavowing all responsibility when "all flesh . . . corrupted their way upon the earth" (Gen. 6:12, R. V.). Without a sixth chapter of Genesis it would be difficult to reconcile the pity of God with the cruelty of nature.
THE MISTAKE OF UNRESTRAINED DESTROYERS
After earth-life went wrong, the destroyers would have destroyed other living things and then have starved to death; but God set destroyers destroying destroyers, else would life have ceased on the earth long ago. Vegetation could not long survive if no enemies held worms and insects in check. It is a wise God who set the blood temperature of birds higher than mammals, thus making more foodfuel necessary. In the case of insect-eating toads, frogs, and bats, because of hibernation they must eat enough in six months to sustain them for a year. Some birds destroy their own weight of pestiferous insects and larvae in one day. A pair of wrens will destroy more foes of man in a day than a man could kill with a club in a month. Less hungry insect-eaters would be a disaster. It would be quite impossible for man to provide winter quarters for these friends, so God sends the birds south, and bats, frogs, lizards, and toads into hibernation.
Men who are willing to relieve God from overwork in the past have adopted, in lieu of a Creator, an abstraction called Evolution. I have not been able to keep up with the frequent revisions of this hypothesis, but its sponsors credit it with having given diversity of form and equipment to a million kinds of animals. If it has done all that is claimed for it, then it has manifested a sagacity that rivals Deity. If it has originated the pitiless horrors of nature, then it has manifested a cruelty that rivals the prince of demons.
IF INSECTS HAD ARRIVED TEN YEARS BEFORE THEIR DESTROYERS
Destructive forms of life must be held in check. Evolution is assumed to have worked very leisurely, taking thousands of years to make noticeable changes. Yet, if insect destroyers of vegetation had arrived ten years before their destroyers, earth would have been a desert. If creatures evolved haphazard, some creature would have evolved an equipment enabling it to kill or starve all others. The skunk has an equipment that makes it immune from the attack of all informed neighbors, but it has a colossal stupidity, and is so restricted in diet and speed that its multiplication beyond narrow limits would mean starvation.
HAZARD OR HANDICAP
Evolutionists have talked more or less convincingly about, "The survival of the fittest," but they have been strangely silent about, "The handicapping of the fittest." Why?
The most charitable assumption would be that they have never noticed it.
It would be a bold teacher who said Evolution would do that.
For every item of equipment that enables any animal to threaten the existence of its neighbors, there is some hazard or handicap that prevents it from doing so. I have never known a buzzard to be killed intentionally by any other creature, yet buzzards are so restricted in their diet that they are comparatively scarce. On the other hand, quail outnumber buzzards a thousand to one, though they are hunted by many killers.
If the animal birth rate of any group of animals exceeded the death rate by only 1 per cent for 1,500 years, that group would be multiplied by more than a million, and competitors would be crowded out. Would any blind force or unreasoning "law" preserve such a delicate balance?
IF EVOLUTION HAD EVOLVED A SKUNK-BUNNY
Suppose the rabbit, in addition to its present equipment, evolved the quills of the porcupine, the artillery of the polecat, or the fangs of a viper. Potentially, ten rabbits in ten years might multiply to fifty billions, and not be more prolific than some I have owned. If unchecked by destroyers, they would multiply until every edible plant was eaten, and then litter the land with their bones. Ask the people of Australia. Years ago a few rabbits were left on an island in the South Sea, where they had no natural enemies. In a few years there was left on the island neither plant nor rabbit—only their bones.
If crows had the speed and talons of a falcon, or progeny as numerous and easily cared for as pheasants, most other bird neighbors would speedily disappear.
The gannet lays but one egg, hawks two, a quail as many as fifteen, some sea turtles two hundred, and some fish several millions. It would have been most inconvenient if the evolutionary Santa Claus had been careless with his gifts. If the birth of human quintuplets had been the rule rather than the rarity—well, you figure it out.
Grasshoppers sometimes darken the sky with uncounted millions, and by any law of mathematics that multiplies insects by eggs, there should be ten times as many next year; but there are not a tenth as many. All destroyers have hazards and handicaps, for which we may give thanks.
Blind force never hung a handicap on any creature to preserve a balance, and without such handicaps evolution would destroy itself.
There are so-called gospels that would defeat themselves in their realization. Some missions have been more concerned with health than with holiness. As a result of their benevolent ministrations, more pagans were born than saved. Thoughtful people are beginning to suspect that scientific paganism may destroy the peace of the world.
There is a charity that breeds loafers; there is a mercy that fosters crime; there is a pacifism that invites piracy and brigandage; there is a social program that penalizes the frugal and puts a bonus on profligacy. God made no such mistake. He never planned that health, peace, or prosperity would be the heritage of families or nations that defy him.
Many kind-hearted people, with a pitying concern for the underprivileged, have been misled by movements that undertake to save people with soap, soup, salve, social security, and scholarship. No Christian can be indifferent to the poverty, hardship, or sickness of anyone, but God’s plan is that ministering to the physical needs of the unsaved shall be an incentive to repentance.
"The goodness of God leadeth . . . to repentance." Any ministration that convinces the sinner that sin is not so bad after all; any preaching that urges sinners to "cheer up" rather than repent, is not God’s Gospel. Alas, there are many who would usher in Utopia by giving more pay for less work, having more spending and less earning, more culture and less restraint, more revelry and fewer headaches. That sort of gospel is more concerned with a man’s dinner than with his deliverance from sin. It is called successful if its joiners respect themselves, even if they do not respect God. God never sent anyone on a mission of appeasement to coax recalcitrant sinners to be respectable and never mind God.
THE FUTILITY OF A POULTICE
Briefly stated, the aims of many devout and devoted people are to abolish war, pestilence, famine, poverty, domestic disruption, and health-destroying habits. Every informed Christian shares with God the desire to banish these evils by stopping the cause. Any "gospel" that puts a poultice on the symptoms, leaving the heart unregenerate, defeats itself.
One of the high priests of this creed was none other than the famous agnostic who was current in my youth. He reached the high watermark of Social Gospel and mathematical folly when he said, "If I had been God, I would have made health catching instead of sickness."
METHUSELAH'S FUNERAL IN UTOPIA
Suppose, during the lifetime of Methuselah, Utopian conditions had prevailed. What sort of funeral can you visualize for a man dying when he was 969 years old? Assuming that he married when twenty-one years old, how many descendants would there be to mourn his passing? A family of such hardy stock, if free from all the ills that social gospelers would abolish, would double oftener than every twenty years. Many records of early pioneers prove that this is a modest estimate. Why not pause long enough to register your guess as to how many descendants there would be? If your guess is wrong, it may emphasize the need of theological seminaries teaching mathematics.
To expediate the leave-taking, let us in our imagination, march the mourners past the bier in ranks of 1,000 say with 500 on each side. Let them pass at the rate of 2,000 ranks an hour and keep it up for ten hours each day except Sundays. Because some may be too old, or two young, or expecting company, let us excuse one-fifth of the clan from the funeral.
How long will it take for four-fifths of them to pass?
If the family doubled every twenty years, there would be time for forty-seven doubles with eight years to spare. Start with two (Mr. and Mrs. Methusaleh) and double the number 47.4 times, and you get 393,000,000,000,000 (round numbers).
And today, after more than 4,200 years, all would not yet have passed the bier, but would have 46,000 years to go, though three times the present population of the world passed every year. There would be enough descendants of Methuselah to fill 191,000 worlds as ours is filled. If Methuselah had more than one wife, if twins were numerous, if the children and grandchildren married outside the family, these figures would be too small. But I forbear! If you cannot see the hopelessness of any "gospel" that promises a birth rate greater than the death rate, then ditch the arithmetic along with the Bible.
If the agnostic had said he would make folly more contagious than common sense, it would have been true.
God did not make any mistake. With exceedingly few exceptions, man is the least prolific of any creature. What a world of horrors it would have been if most human babies were twins!
How would a God who makes no mistakes have taken care of the multiplying population if man had not sinned? He has not told us, but he could have taken care of all as he took care of Methuselah’s father, by translation. Many people believe that God put man on earth to prepare him for Heaven. If that is true, God could have discontinued earth probation when Heaven was full, or he could have discontinued the marriage relation. Certainly, he has a future for his saints where "they neither marry, nor are given in marriage." These were the words spoken to the Sadducees who sought to trap the Lord Jesus into inconsistency. On that occasion he located the cause of most doctrinal errors when he said, "Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God."
Read the third chapter of Genesis and note that after man sinned he was taken out of the garden, "lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever." If you want a mathematical nightmare, try to imagine a deathless world filled with multiplying sinners! God made no mistake; it is better for man to be mortal, seeking to escape sin and death, than to be immortal and bored with God.
Young people, hoping to carve out for themselves a career and be self-made men and women, will do well to reflect that not one in a thousand achieves human greatness, and that for those who do, the dust heaps of buried nations are the boundaries of human ambitions.
Why not team up with God, who makes no mistakes? Those who are "his workmanship" outlast the stars.
Why do frost crystals in a snowflake or on a window pane arrange themselves in such varied and beautiful designs? What good can such mysterious force accomplish? If God works such wonders with ice, that seem so needless, how much more shall he beautify the lives of His obedient children?
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Following the publication of MISTAKES THAT GOD DID NOT MAKE, in The Sunday School Times, a subscriber wrote to the editor and was answered as indicated in the following, which is reprinted from that periodical.
WERE THESE BIBLE STATEMENTS MISTAKES?
I have just finished reading the article by B. H. SHADDUCK in the January 6 Times. Mr. Shadduck has presented some fascinating and wonderful facts in this thesis, "Mistakes God Did Not Make."
But I wonder whether he does not wrongly imply that the Bible contains no mistaken or superstitious notions. Apparently he has overlooked the passage in Numbers 5:11-31, in which God is quoted as giving to Moses a method of determining the guilt or innocence of a woman accused of adultery. A reading of this section will reveal to one acquainted with the techniques of the primitive medicine man and worker of magic, elements of gross superstition. By no means would any modern Christian doctor or judge subject a woman to such an ordeal, or would he place any moral significance in the results of such a test.
Moreover, .what attitude can one take to the frequent statements in the Bible that the reins (kidneys) are the seat of intelligence? (e. g., Psa. 7:9; 16:7; 26:2; Jer. 12:2, etc.) Modern science now knows that the seat of intelligence is the brain, and that the sole function of the kidneys is to separate and drain off from the body certain waste fluids.
Wonder if you would call the attention of Dr. Shadduck to these matters, and ask him to comment upon them. A New York Reader.
The Editor was glad to act upon the suggestion of the New York reader and ask Dr. Shadduck for his comment on these interesting points. Dr. Shadduck’s reply which went as a personal letter to the inquirer, follows:
Dr. Trumbull, as you have suggested, has forwarded to me your comment on "Mistakes God Did Not Make." In his letter you cite portions of the Bible as evidence that the Bible does contain "mistaken or superstitious notions." I hope my reply will be in the same kindly spirit that is manifest in your letter.
You call attention to the use of "bitter water" to determine the guilt or innocence of a woman suspected of marital infidelity. (Num. 5:11-31). This was not overlooked by me. On the contrary, I was familiar with this portion of Scripture when it was cited by agnostics to discredit all the Bible. Perhaps you will see it in a different light if you reflect that it was one of several provisions in the nature of marital law to meet the needs of a nation when it was herded together in tents in the desert, and that it belongs in the forty-year chain of miracles that made possible the moving of the Israelites from Egypt to Palestine. To wrest it from its setting is to invite misunderstanding.
To prepare Moses for his great commission, God commanded him to cast a stick on the ground, and it became a serpent. Shall we discredit the record because educated folk deny that dropping sticks begets serpents?
Later, Moses cast ashes in the air and boils afflicted the Egyptians. You would hardly classify this with the superstition current in my youth, that a woman who accidentally dropped her dish cloth would have guests not otherwise expected.
Blood sprinkled on door frames saved the first born in that night when all the firstborn of Egypt were slain. Is this comparable with the superstition that makes a fetish of the left hind foot of a rabbit, killed at midnight in a graveyard when the moon is full?
In the wilderness of Shur the migrating nation found only bitter water, and at God’s command Moses cast into the water a certain tree and the water was made wholesome. If Moses so hypnotized the people that they imagined all this, the spell must have fooled the cattle also.
When the people were bitten by serpents, they were healed by looking on a brazen serpent. Is this to be rejected as falsehood because no physician now would prescribe brass for snake-bite?
So we might consider all the plagues; crossing the Red sea, quails, manna, water from the rock, durability of clothing, and other miracles. Logically we must accept all these miracles or reject all of them as inexcusable falsehoods.
I know of no series of miracles so difficult for a sincere thinker to toss aside as those occurring in the last forty years of the life of Moses. The Israelites were in Egypt. Later they were in Palestine. How did they get there? To assume that a dejected nation of slaves, without arms or military training, opposed by the armed forces of a mighty nation, escaped across a sea into a well nigh waterless, foodless waste of burning sand where, left to their own devices, ninety-nine percent of them would have died in thirty days, and then, after nearly forty years of wandering, possessing a land of walled cities defended by fierce foes, and all this without a miracle—well, it is easier for me to believe the miracles.
Even if it is taken out of its setting, and if we forget that it is recorded in the sacred Book of the only God who has ever made good in human history, yet this story of God’s plan to preserve decency in the camps of his chosen people in no way resembles such nonsense as the superstition that induced a baseball club to take with them a black boy to spit on the bats to insure many hits. On the contrary, it preserved the sanctity of the marriage relation better than the legalized wife-swapping and nudist camps tolerated in this allegedly cultured age. Most superstitions are reckoned to work just the same with bad people as with good people; this chastity worked a curse for the guilty and a blessing for the innocent.
Since the Bible records no case that was settled by this test, it may have worked its greatest good in preventing the misdeed. Again it was a double blessing in vindicating the innocent and assuring her motherhood. If it was a severe punishment for the guilty, it was, nevertheless, kindness to the nation.
If you study the baffling mysteries wrapped up in plant and animal life, you may take things for granted, or if you reflect, you may find yourself forced to believe the impossible—that is, impossible without a miracle working God.
In the demands it makes on our faith, this story is not strikingly unlike the stories of the boils, the blood-sprinkled door frames, the waters of Marah, the brazen serpent, or the leprosy of Miriam. If any one of these is superstition, all are. It is not logical to make Moses a witch doctor one day and a great man of God another day. He could not sponsor lying records and later appear on the Mount of Transfiguration with our Lord.
In discussing the Biblical use of the word reins (kidneys), let me borrow two words from your letter. I "wonder" if you have "overlooked" a thousand places in the Bible where the word heart is used for the seat of the affections, and the score of places where the neck is used as though it were the seat of stubborn disloyalty. Then there are the words, bowels of mercy. Heart in the dictionary is defined as the seat of the affections, and stiffnecked is defined as stubborn. So far as I have observed, all authorities accept these words as figures of speech. Then why not reins? In the Bible, which uses hundreds of words figuratively, why not make an exception of the word reins and decide that David believed he did his thinking with his kidneys? In so far as I have examined, every Hebrew authority understands the word reins as a figure of speech in the passage you cite. This is so general that the Revised Version substitutes another word, "heart."
However, the kidneys are most fitting symbols of the department of discrimination in the human mind. I know of no organs in the human body so wholly given over to the task, of determining what stays in the blood as building material and equipment and what is rejected. If they fail in this function, illness or death will follow. Continuing the figure of speech, the nominal church of today is sick with uremic poisoning. There has been too much indifference in selecting the building materials of Christian character. If you will observe the literary garbage that some professing Christians read and the questionable shows they patronize,—some of which shock the heathen mind, you may agree with me that the spiritual department of discrimination is not working.
You know, of course, that in cultured America we speak of a man having or lacking backbone. Of late there has come into our language a four-letter word that formerly meant intestines; now, for the man on the street, it means courage. Would it not be more or less rash for some man three thousand years from now to decide that we were so ignorant that we believed our courage depended on the volume of our entrails or the prominence of our vertebrae?
I assume that you are seeking the truth, as I did when as a youth, bewildered by agnostic teaching, I fumbled my way to Christ. I much wish that I may help you in your quest for truth.
A QUESTION ASKED BY PREACHERS
The mathematical absurdity of a sin-crippled world arriving at Utopian conditions—free from war, famine, and sins that destroy life, is so obvious that when the argument has been presented before Ministerial Associations it has been received with manifest surprise and silence, except when someone has asked, "Is not this an argument for contraception? Would not a reduced birth rate make possible the otherwise impossible?" The answer is four fold.
Such a program would be high treason to the doctrine of Evolution which is to produce many and kill the weaklings. If you believe in Evolution, don’t be a traitor to its philosophy.
It now and forever will be practiced by the wrong people. Dirty children will fight in the alleys of the slums and groomed and manicured dogs will play on the boulevard lawns.
The nations and denominations that stand for what the Ministerial Association condems, forbid it. They even offer a bonus for large families. The nations that forbid it will speedily dispossess those with low birth rate.
Even if it is now a sensible program, yet it cannot justify the scolding of the God of the Bible because he tolerated severities that eliminated degenerates, before science had shown people how to destroy potential life.
When, in Bible times, maternity was frustrated, the Scriptures treat it as a misfortune, a sin or a divine visitation of penalty. If any group wishes to commit itself to the theory that we should destroy potential life that might be good, to add comforts to the ones already bad, it may—and see if the devil cares.
Does not the human appendix prove that man has come from a lower order and a change of habits and diet make that organ no longer necessary?
Not so much as it would prove that man has fallen from a higher level. After Adam sinned, he left the garden where the vegetation was "good for food" and outside, he ate "the herb of the field" (Gen. 3:18). Later, animal food was added to his diet (Gen. 9:3).
Does not the Bible teach that the world is flat and four-cornered?
No other ancient book speaks of the "circle of the earth" (Isa. 40:22), or a "circle on the face of the deep" (Prov. 8:27, R. V.), or "the circuit of the heaven" (Job 22:4), and no other book dared to say that God "hangeth the earth upon nothing" (Job. 26:7). Jesus foretells an event when it will be working time one place and sleeping time another place—only possible on a spherical world.
THE CREDULITY OF UNBELIEF
This is an amazing universe.
If you observe the revelations of the microscope or telescope, the marvels will outreach human comprehension.
If you study the affinities and replusions, the marchings and counter marching of elements and forces, you may be thrilled or stunned.
If you wish to contemplate wonders and you are not equipped to pursue the studies mentioned, you may sit in your easy chair and marvel at the bewildering capers of the human mind. The credulity of unbelievers passes understanding. It was such inconsistency in professional thinkers, that Christ upbraided when he said (Matt. 23:24), "Ye . . . . strain out the gnat and swallow the camel." It seems that the more painstaking and eager people are to discredit the Bible, the more ready they are to swallow some untenable theory, "hook, line and sinker."
Multitudes believe that man was lifted from the family of reptiles, by a law that they call the survival of the fittest, yet they refuse to see that without tools, man is not so well fitted to survive as toads or turtles. They refuse to see that the lowly amoeba, that presumably has been left a billion years behind by those that were better fitted to survive, keeps on living and outnumbers the top notch survivors a billion to one. They refuse to see that all creatures that have pronounced advantages, must also have handicaps to hold them in check. To admit the fact of handicaps, would wreck the theory of life without a master mind.
Some reject much of the Old Testament because of its killings, yet they exalt and almost deify science that has killed more people in one century than all the recorded wars of forty centuries of Old Testament history. They have discredited the Bible on the plea that it was written when the race was in its childhood—when it lacked education and culture, but alas, the bombs that blast mothers with babies at their breasts are educated bombs ( poetical license claimed) and the machine guns are cultured. It just happens that the men who rape peaceable nations were educated in the land where my skeptical professors took their degrees. After rejecting much of the Old Testament because of its severities, with sublime inconsistency they commend Christ, who pronounced more doom on people than any prophet of the Old Testament.
Many church leaders have "thumbed a ride" with Evolution. They sit in the rumble seat and ride backwards. Now they call the conveyance, "Theistic Evolution." This means that God sponsored the assumed billion year period when evolution was elevating an innocent one-celled creature up to cannibal level by giving life, mates, and progeny to the best killers. During this period pity was unknown and morals never rose above tom-cat level. They can swallow this, but they strain out any suggestion that God could sponsor any survival of the fittest in the Bible.
Then there are those whose mental strainers filter out miracles, yet they promise their congregations a conscious existence after the body has turned to dust. The Bible records no miracle that transcends natural law more than the miracle of thinking without a brain. If there can be no thought without a brain there can be no thinking God.
Only an atheist can deny miracles and be consistent.
If that is not clear at first reading, think it over.
If there was a cosmic law that inconsistency would benumb the vocal chords, what a whispering world it would be!
The story of Adam’s creation will not go through some scholastic strainers, but the academic gullet has no difficulty with the theory that ancestors of the opossum were, perhaps 50,000 years developing a baby pocket for the mothers, and the amazing thing about the process is that the generation before it was ready, did not need it, and the babies that first used it could not live without it. I wonder what it looked like the year before it was ready for service. Alas, for the young people who got their ideas like a young pigeon does its breakfast—by regurgitation. They open their minds and the teacher saves them the trouble of thinking it through.
MAN, THE GREAT DESTROYER
Acres of stumps where once were great trees, polluted streams where once was clear water, bleaching bones where once roamed herds of bison, because man lives near. Noxious weeds and harmful insects go down before his scythe and poison spray. He kills himself and his neighbors with drink, dope, and dissipation. His armies, equipped with the latest contributions of science, plunder and destroy unarmed nations, yet there are men who cannot tolerate a God who would defend Himself. Jesus called some men goats, dogs, swine, wolves, progeny of snakes, children of the devil, yet there are self-acclaimed exponents of Christ who announce that all men are the children of God. This includes, of course, every level of degeneracy. To put it mildly, it seems hardly polite to select relatives for God and thrust upon Him for eternity those with whom you would not trust the family dog on the end of a string in a back alley for an hour.
SOME SAMPLES OF INCONSISTENCY
I once listened to a religious leader address 2,000 people and prophesy a future God-sponsored sinless, deathless, multiplying world, for a period of 30,000 years. He based his assumption on Deut. 7:9 linked with the last half of Gen. 9:1 and Rev. 21:3-4. Apparently the great crowd believed him, but any mathematician could show that his program would people a million worlds like this, with humans stacked up like cord wood a million miles deep.
Several years ago, someone published a book to prove that the Negro race had an inferior origin. He began, as many do, with assumptions. He assured his readers that the mark that God put on Cain was a black skin, that it was also on Cain’s children, that it was a sign that they were under a curse, and that all Negroes are descendants of Cain. If you accept assumptions as facts, any heresy is plausible. Many read this book with approval, overlooking the fact that all Cain’s descendants were "liquidated" in the flood.
In my youth, a famous agnostic ridiculed the story of the flood. He told his hearers that to make the flood story true, five miles depth of water must fall in forty days. He assured laughing crowds that if the ark were pushed up five miles in the air, the ark and all its contents would be frozen solid in the ice. To careful readers of the flood story, it is clear that the sea flowed over the land, because the land sank---as geologists know it has done a number of times in the far past. However, if the water level was raised five miles, the level of the atmosphere would be raised with it and the temperature would not be affected. The gullibility of agnostics is ample.
Some years ago an eminent preacher, before whom even professors made kowtow, explained away the difficulties some people have in believing that Adam, Methuselah, Noah and others lived more than 900 years. His explanation was that the years really means months. If you care to read Gen. 5:21, you may see that Enoch was married before he was five years old—if the noted theory were correct.
When the World War started in August, 1914, a neighbor some 23 miles away, threw his hat in the air and shouted, "Hallelujah. Jesus will be here in October." Later, on the advice of his teachers, he changed the date to 1916 and again it was changed to 1920. He was not prophesying: he was reciting.
"It is dangerous to be born."
That might be helpful advice if people heeded it before they were born. After they are born, why twit them of their carelessness?
The real danger is to arrive at the decision periods of life heedless of the guiding of God. Someone has said that there are 200 things to join, waiting to absorb the energy, loyalty, and spare time of American youth. Only one of them at a time can be first in any life, and if God is not first, there is always danger that some heresy will be.
After all, is it fair to put God on a waiting list, to be considered after questions of lodge, club, insurance, sport, and association are settled? Is religion to be like a spare tire-taken along for possible emergency?
Must not a young man work out all problems in religion for himself after weighing the offerings of all teachers?
No. It has already been worked out. God attended to that. There are not two Bibles or two Christs to choose from. Why should you pass your mind around like a piece of putty for every one to pinch it, who would reshape it? Why should one who is privileged to sit at the King’s table, look for dainties in the alley garbage cans? Of course, you are to be helped by teachers, if they are true to the Word.
The Great Teacher said, "Take heed what ye hear." Be a take-heeder.
Sometime I hope to write something about the things our Lord did not say. In Matt. 24:11, He did not say, "Many rethinkers shall arise and shall challenge many outworn doctrines. Be broad minded. Give them academic freedom. Do not be a heresy hunter."
Could you imagine Him saying, "My sheep hear anyone’s voice. Whomsoever they will, they follow?" What He did say was, "A stranger will they not follow." I have heard that a sick sheep will follow a stranger. I know a lost dog will follow any whistler, and a hungry dog is likely to follow anything that smells like a bone. A starving steer will eat poisonous weeds. The reason so many millions are creatures of wind, tide, expediency, reiteration, or propaganda is because their knowledge of the Bible is fragmentary, warped, or not accepted as authority.
ABOUT THE CARTOONS
FRONT COVER -The scales are out of balance. The puller and pusher mean well, but the world can never be saved that way. The skunk-bunny is a sample of what might have happened if, with the help of some abstract law, the creatures had created themselves.
TIGHT ROPE WALKER-Just to emphasize the fact that neither Luck nor Lingo can explain the marvelous balance of life, force and temperature. The peg-leg? Well, the men who would discredit the Bible have operated on their own theories enough times to put wooden legs on a centipede.
THE PELICAN -Read the words of our Lord in the Scripture reference given and the comment under the sub-title, "The Credulity of Unbelief."
THE PATIENT COW -The stump did not wind up the rope; the cow did that. She has exercised her freedom in the direction of bondage—as many humans do. Well, cows have a right to their own opinions, don’t they? Likely she has staged many "drives" and now thinks the stump should do something about it. If cows could pray, I think her prayer would be an effort to turn the stump. There is some excuse for the cow-she has had but little experience. Girls at her age would be in rompers, playing with dolls. There is less excuse for humans with 6,000 years of history to convince them that the Word of God will continue "towering o’er the wrecks of time." Millions of prayers go nowhere and bring nothing back because they are aimed in ignorance or disregard of the precedents and commitments of God. 2,500 years ago God said (Jer.44:28), "They that escape shall know whose word shall stand, mine or theirs." What a pity, that wealth beyond computation and millions of lives are wasted, because men refuse to see the cause behind the cause of their failures! God would discredit Himself if he allowed any group or system to discredit His Word and save the world. Dominant groups have selected from the Bible, only what pleased them, adding whatever they liked, from psycho-analysis to social-paralysis and it does not save society. God’s word will stand. The stump will not turn. Why not unwind?
WHAT THE DICTATORS HAVE DONE TO THEORIES
Thirty-five years ago, book-writing prophets, pulpit prophets, and political prophets promised that free schools, free speech, free press, and free libraries would speedily deliver the world from pagans and barbarians. Something else has happened.
The bombs of aggressor nations have blasted into picturesque ruins millions of sermons that promised peace, prosperity, and world uplift through education, playgrounds, contributions of science, and world brotherhood. If the pronouncements of the Bible and the claims of scientists were at variance, then such Bible pronouncements were avoided in selection of texts. Not only have the prophecies failed, but it is humiliating to reflect that many of our Theological Seminary teachers went to Germany to be "finished."
Millions of books in public and private libraries are worth only the price of old paper, because they promised so much that has not happened. They exhorted no one to repentance and regeneration, but offered, instead, everything from psycho-analysis to a correct color scheme in wallpaper and carpets. Just now it is difficult to explain the wrecks of a million homes, the tears of a million women, and the screams of wounded babies by the suggestion that the cheering nation which did it has unbalanced complexes in the subconscious realm of a retarded psychology.
Be advised that not one word of the Holy Scriptures needs to be changed to make them fit world conditions. I would like to write that across the sky in letters of fire.
For years I have wondered if the major portion of our popular preachers have unintentionally hurt the devil’s feelings. They have treated him with the insulting silence that a bogie man deserves or, if they have mentioned his name, they have used it only as a forceful figure of speech. Just now, world conditions are such that logic needs a devil to explain deviltry—unless he has died, and there is an indecent scramble of men seeking to take his place.
It may be well to say here, what preachers know or ought to know, that the words "end of the world" in Matt. 24:3, are properly translated, "Consummation of the age." It is clear, from the prophecies of our Lord in this chapter, that the closing years of the age must be identified with times of lawlessness, religious indifference, and trouble such as has not been and never shall be again. As though they were blissfully unaware of these prophecies of Christ, most of the preachers of my time insisted, up until the World War of 1914, that the world was getting better and would keep on getting better. The invasion of Belgium and the use of poison gas put a dent in the program, and various Youth Movements were started to show the old people how to build a New World. Many beautiful gestures were made, such as sending American dolls to the children of Japan to manifest universal brotherhood. Then came the repeal of prohibition, the rape of China, the break-down of the Sabbath, millions on relief, the national debt going into astronomical figures, but the "silver lining" brigade held grimly to its viewpoint in keeping with the slogan, "The old guard dies, but never surrenders."
Now, since the nation that cradled the Reformation has plundered the Jews and overrun its weaker neighbors, a preacher must have a rare gift of eloquence if he convinces his flock that the world is getting no worse, much faster than it is getting no better.
For the thinking man, the great war has shot to pieces the theory that science, which so many accepted in lieu of God, can never save the world; and, but for God, it would leave no world to be saved ( Matt. 24:22 ).
The World War loosened the foundations (if it had any), and the present great war has shattered a theory that has unscared millions who ought "to flee from the wrath to come." I refer to the assumption that all men are the children of God. It has assumed that there is a native divinity in every man that not even God can disown. The words of Christ to some, "Ye are of your father the Devil," have been waived aside, but it is hard to waive aside the diabolical barbarities of some of the "brothers".
The war has mocked the theory that God made man by sponsoring the survival of the brutally fittest. Jungle survival has now been stepped up to civilized high voltage and, if jungle survival made a super-ape, then this high voltage sort ought to make a super-man. Evolution has been obscured by pedagoguery and pettifoggery (shorten it to fog, if you wish), but the dictators strip it of its poetry and frills. It would be a courageous thing if disillusioned leaders would say, "I have been mistaken;" it would be heroic if, instead of waiting for the stump to turn, they would unwind.
Much is being said in these days about "the abundant life." There is no abundant life for anyone who has not been born again. It was Christ who promised the abundant life, and any abundant life without him is like a "cypher with the rim knocked off." Do not understand that I am opposed to bettering the conditions of the underprivileged. I would that every family on earth had a Bible and a bathtub, but a well used bathtub and not-used Bible can do more than contribute to a dainty paganism.
I am not a pessimist; no one is, who believes the prophecies of Christ. Referring again to Matt. 24th, the 8th verse declares, "All these things are the beginning of birth pains" (literal translation). The prayer of the centuries is to be answered--"Thy kingdom come."
Butterface was what the neighbors called a "calico" cat. Her fur was a patchwork of black, white, and golden yellow. All "calico" cats I ever saw were females. If credulous, you may believe that this color scheme helped the females to survive and hindered the males.
I met her 20 years ago when I served a delightful country parish. A little lad with a heavy heart was moving far away and he begged me to take his pet. She was the prettiest, cleanest, most intelligent cat I have ever known, and I have known many. If I went walking, she walked with me. I never saw her run from a dog. If any pooch insisted on playing a game of cat-up-a-tree, he left suddenly, complaining of rude treatment. She was a champion rat catcher, and baby chicks could nestle in her fur. If she found baby robins fallen from the nest, she brought them to me unharmed. Because of her rare qualities, the neighbors asked for my surplus kittens and believe me, there was a surplus. The first evidence I had that she possessed nine lives was when I found her with seven other lives in a cozy nest. Other men have served mankind by developing a superior strain of domestic creatures; why not supply the world with cats that would not harm our friends or compromise with our foes? For years I have tried to raise the standard of Christians so they would not hinder God’s friends or hobnob with His foes, and with many disappointments.
I gave away many kittens and then began to estimate how long it would take to supply the nation. I did not include tom-cats in the computation; their nocturnal concerts would invite flying missiles and many crooners might be killed by mistake. I covered much paper with figures. If the female cats continued free from sickness and misfortune and if I could borrow enough worlds for colonization, in 20 years there would be 100,000 female cats for every man, woman, and child in the world, and a litter of kittens for each cat.
I have no cat. I do not like to chloroform kittens, and most cats kill song birds. There are thousands of kinds of creatures that would overwhelm the world if they multiplied unhindered. Only God could adjust the handicaps. The pitiless struggle for existence could not have been His first choice; it was God’s expedient when sin spoiled the earth. Read Gen. 6:5-12 and note the words, "grieved Him at His heart," "The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence," and "all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth." If ever there is answer to the prayer: "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," violence must cease. Isa. 11:6.9 is a preview of the answer, yet many earnest men wave aside the program of God and undertake with pullers and pushers to drag in a kingdom without a king—a Pollyanna public sentiment that will make life tolerable for humans who have health and keep out of jail. Is that the high-water mark of human hopes? Not for me.
IS MAN’S MIND TRUSTWORTHY?
Rats will decide in five minutes what is not good for them; nations foster destructive forces for centuries.
Human thinking may be unbalanced by hallucination, hysteria, catalepsy, hypnotism, loss of temper, and insanity. Fever, alcohol, or opiates in the blood stream make the mind unreliable. The mind may be permanently warped by conceit, pride, ambition, greed, envy, and unjustified hate, passion, or jealousy.
Multiplied thousands of kinds of vegetation get along very well without doing any thinking. The cells in a stalk of corn do what they ought to, when they ought to, where they ought to, without thinking. The organs of my body and hundreds of millions of cells were working for me with some degree of perfection before I knew that I had a mind. I never needed spanking until I began thinking.
It is dangerous for humans not to think. It is more dangerous to think wrong. The safest form of thinking is to reason from effect back to cause. Be sure of your facts, and where possible, learn from the mistakes and failures of others. I never played with a hornet; someone else had already tried it. If you follow a desert trail and find a spring of water surrounded with bones, let it alone; some other creatures have tried it and died.
There are bullies who command a "dirty dozen" in a slum alley and other bullies who plunder nations; it is unfortunate for the race that the human beasts of the Bible, of history, and of the back alley cannot visualize finalities in the light of those who tried it before they did.
Billions have sacrificed to Baal, Dagon, Moloch, Chemosh, Rimmon, and other abandoned gods and never suspected the colossal swindles. I have an idea that the last mound builder that lived, lighted an altar fire and sacrificed to a god that never existed. There are nations in the dust, and later nations dig up their bones without discovering what snuffed them out.
The test of any religious system is what happens to its faithful devotees. The test of the true God, is what happens to nations that hear the gospel and disobey. There are communities where years pass without a prisoner in the local jail, and other communities where the family washing on the clothes line must be watched or the neighbors will steal it. Why?
There is not a heresy in religion or government that has not been approximated by others long ago. Why not have text books in our schools that inspire fear of the evils that destroyed nations and individuals in the past? Something is wrong with teachers or text books when pupils recite like sages and live like fools. Look in on a drunken New Year’s party at 2:00 a. m., and you may get the idea.
God has had experience with every sort of human folly. He has given us such a text book. Any scholar who is ignorant of its teaching is like a domesticated parrot—he has showy feathers, a surprising vocabulary, is well fed, but he never saw the stars. If you know your Bible, you need not be abashed in any company in heaven or on earth.