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Archive for the ‘Atheism’ Category

There is a lot of basic doctrine to be found in the pattern for prayer that Jesus gave us in Matthew 6:9-13. It is usually called “The Lord’s Prayer,” but it is actually a general prayer guide for his followers. It was given at the request of one of his disciples (Luke 11:1-4). I don’t see anything in the Bible that annuls this pattern or supersedes its particular doctrines. As usual, please forgive my inconsistent grammar in this writing.

“Our Father in Heaven,” I am glad that you have a haven where all would be welcomed if all would welcome you; a place where you can take us when this world becomes more than can be borne. Evolutionists believe in “Father Time,” but time is not our father. Time is a creation of God, our caring Father.

“Hallowed be your name.” The name of God; the name of Jesus, is despised, dishonored, and dragged through the mud.

“Your kingdom come.” The peaceful kingdom where the lion eats straw like the ox will become a reality. This earth whose nations now reject you, and wage war upon each other, will one day become a world where there will no more hurt or destruction. Your kingdom will become a physical reality (Isaiah 11:6-9).

“Your will be done on Earth as in Heaven.” Jesus is Lord, but we don’t yet see all things in submission to his will (Hebrews 2:8). We are far from it, which is why we are to pray for it. The perfect will of God has not permeated this world since the day Adam and Eve undertook to reinterpret all knowledge. Things are not beyond God’s control, but God is not a puppeteer.

“Give us this day our daily bread.” Sustain us Immanuel (manna and man, Man of Heaven); bread that is broken for us.

“Forgive our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” We all offend in many ways (James 3:2), but love covers a multitude of sins (1st Peter 4:8).

“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” A man in the Old Testament (Proverbs 30:8-9) prayed for God to give him “neither poverty nor riches,” but only that which was sufficient for him. He recognized the fact that just about anything can lead to trials for us. Lead us in some other way Lord. Let us not enter temptation. God tempts no man (James 1:13), even though all are tempted by life itself. Do we really want what we feel like we want? Sometimes our freewill does not feel free. Deliver us from the evil one.

“For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, to forever.” You have the right, and the power when you choose to exercise it. Hallowed be your name. One day your name will be cleared. Man’s assumptions and accusations against God will be proven false, and the truth will be evident. That is the true definition of the “glory of God,” not the vainglory of human definition. One day Jesus will be seen in his own true light, without our shadows casting doubts and deceptions about him. “For your’s is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, to forever. Amen.”

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Prejudice is always an injustice, and we should not misjudge the Bible’s stand against it. The tint of our skin is never justification for prejudice. Miriam, the sister of Moses, displayed prejudice against his Ethiopian (Cushite) wife, but God rebuked Miriam (Numbers 12:1-15) allowing her skin to temporarily become “white as snow.”

The Bible’s teachings regarding marriage between “believers,” and “unbelievers,” do not reflect prejudice, but were given for the sake of children, and as a safeguard for marriage. The differing viewpoints of believing and unbelieving spouses can create extra conflict within the close confines of marriage, and turn children against God. God knows there will be enough stress without those differences, and doesn’t want families fighting over everything under the sun. The Bible is promoting peace, and not prejudice.

There are special instructions in the Bible concerning marriages where only one spouse is a believer (1st. Corinthians 7:12-17). There are also a few special cases for such marriages (ref. Ester 2:1 through 4:14), though it is never wise to think of ourselves as a special case.

Besides that of Moses, there are other examples in the Bible where marriages between people of different nationalities were not condemned. God is not prejudiced (Acts 10:22-43). Whether we descended from Shem, Ham, or Japheth, is cause for neither pride, nor shame. Actually, we’re all so mixed up that it would hardly matter except for certain genetic diseases and things. Consider this; God, in becoming a man and uniting with us, took upon himself our sicknesses and our sins (Matthew 8:17, Isaiah 53:4,5). He became sin, who knew no sin (2nd. Corinthians 5:21). He did not become a sinner, yet he died because of our sin.

There are many prophecies throughout the Bible hinting that he would do this, thus the genealogies given in the Bible are primarily intended to help us identify the living God in a world of false ideals about God. They establish the bloodline of the God-Man, the Messiah (the Christ), the anointed sacrifice. The Bible genealogies begin in Genesis, and keep branching off until they lead to Jesus, and there they end. Another reason for the genealogies is to inform us that we all descended from Noah.

The Lord chose a family through which he would enter our world. Jesus, the only begotten son of God (John 1:14), was born of the virgin Mary, as foretold in Isaiah 7:14. The lineage of Joseph, his stepfather, is given (Matthew 1:1-16), as well as that of his mother (Luke 3:23-38). The lineages of Mary and Joseph converge at David, the King of Israel.

Jesus was of the bloodline of Noah’s son Shem, but some of his ancestors were not Semitic. Rachab (Rahab), of Matthew 1:5, was the Canaanite woman of Jericho who hid the Hebrew spies. The scarlet line that she hanged from her window to identify her family for protection during the siege (Joshua 2:18,21) is symbolic of her faith in the lifeline of God. She is in the bloodline of Jesus.

The Hebrew word translated as “line,” in these two verses, is in other Bible verses translated as “hope.” Many times in life, hope is the only lifeline that we have. Without hope, life becomes meaningless. Hope often makes the difference between life, and death. This lifeline is something God has labored to make real. Though secularism and false religion have striven relentlessly to hide the fact, the hope of Jesus is affirmed by history, science, and the experience of life. It isn’t an immaterial, empty wish that we grasp for in the mist.

In accordance with the prophecy in Isaiah 53:8 (ref. Acts 8:26-35), Jesus did not marry. He had no physical children. From Jesus forward, the bloodline of God runs in children of faith such as Rahab became.

The genealogies of the tenth chapter of Genesis are a significant part of the history of the nations of the world. I won’t go into detail, but Josephus, the ancient Jewish historian, expands upon this historical chapter. He also refers to “secular” historians of other nations, to validate material included in this section of the Bible.

On this subject, as with everything that I have written about in this blog, great and wonderful books could be written. Some good books have been written, of course, but there are none which do full justice to the subject matter of the Bible. I can only attempt to give a reader a little glimpse into them. Mysteries will remain until the Lord returns.

The prophetical genealogies of the Bible lead us not only to the family of the Lord, but to where he would be born, and to the place where he would live his life, and it is the land of Canaan. If there was a “curse” on the descendants of Ham, (ref. My preceding post on Canaan), then it was largely that Canaan chose to settle in an area that would later become a crossroads, trampled by most of the warring empires of history.

It is the land of the cross. Most of the land once occupied by Canaan is held today by the tiny nations of Israel, and Lebanon. Consider this also, that a town called “Cana,” in this land of Canaan, is the place where Jesus performed the first miracle of his earthly mission. Many of the miracles of Jesus took place in Samaria, and Galilee, which were areas of mixed populations. The Lord wants to include everyone in his bloodline (Revelation 5:9).

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The Bible doesn’t tell us why Noah got drunk (Genesis 9:20-29). Neither do we know how many years after the flood that this event took place, but it must have been several. Noah’s wife isn’t mentioned, and it’s possible that she might have died. The flood that destroyed the old world was an indescribably traumatic event, and perhaps Noah had been weakened by time and depression. Perhaps the first drink or two wrecked his judgement.

When the Bible doesn’t go into detail concerning an event, we should be careful of writing our own speculations in stone. Sometimes the original languages of the Bible offer clues concerning the rest of the story, but meanings of words can also change over time, so there are always places where we can become confused.

Anyway, inside his tent, Noah undressed for bed but passed out before he covered up. His son Cham (Ham), saw him naked in the tent, and told his brothers, Shem, and Japheth, who took a blanket, and covered their father. According to the Bible they walked backward until, I suppose, they found his feet. Ham should have covered his father when he first found him, instead of telling the whole world about it.

I’ve heard all kinds of speculative preaching about this Bible passage, accusing Ham of many things beyond what the Bible tells us. Ham, at the least, was disrespectful to his father. When Noah awakened, and understood what had happened, he was angry with Ham, but it sounds as if his anger was directed more against Ham’s son Canaan. I think that’s a misinterpretation however. I think it’s also a clue to the real story, and that behind the scenes, Noah was already having difficulties with Ham.

It would understandably be embarrassing for Ham to find Noah in that condition, but he may have taken advantage of the situation to humiliate his father. Ham’s wrong may not have been so much in telling his brothers, as in the way that he told them. He could have ranted about what a curse it was to have descended from such a father. Noah might then have retaliated in anger that Canaan was cursed to have a father such as Ham, who would leave a poor heritage to his descendants.

It makes sense to me that what actually happened was something of this sort. According to the Strong’s Concordance, the name Canaan means “humiliated,” which is likely another clue to the meaning of the story. That would not likely have been the original name of this son of Ham. The spelling of his name is different from that of a grandson of Shem (ref. Luke 3:36, and “Cainan,” in my archives of June, 2012), and also from that of the son of Enos in Genesis 5:9-14.

I don’t think that Noah would really have wanted to see all of Ham’s descendants become servants or slaves. At any rate, history has not specifically worked out that way, and tribes and nations which descended from Ham have subjugated other nations as often as not. For example, Egypt, a nation descended from Ham, enslaved the Israelites who were descendants of Shem. Canaanites (the Phoenicians), who lived in the area invaded by Israel after their deliverance from Egypt, also subjugated the Israelites for many of the decades of their existence together.

Over the course of history, leaders and prominent citizens have often sought to make slaves of their own people as well. These things are examples of the sin and greed preached against throughout the Bible. Some have tried to use this passage to justify the taking of human beings as slaves, just as people have always sought justification for their actions, and atheists are right to condemn those who have done so. Many atheists however, deliberately make use of such things to distort the interpretation of the Bible.

The Bible warns us against this also. Events are often reported in the Bible much as they would be in the news, and the reader is expected to exercise good judgement. The Bible doesn’t promote slavery, but it does predict its continuing existence until the time of the end (Revelation 6:15).

The words of Noah seem to me to be more generally true of the spiritual heritage of his descendants than of physical slavery. In Genesis 9:26, Noah mentions “the Lord God of Shem.” Shem, believing in one God, impressed monotheistic beliefs upon many of his descendants, while many nations descending from Ham have served a pantheon of “gods”. Jesus, the Messiah, entering this world through the virgin birth, was a descendent of Shem.

The serving of false gods often leads to a loss of freedoms. A heritage of rebellion against God, at least in the short-term, seems also to have run in Ham’s family. Nimrod, who established the city of Babylon, where God interrupted the building of the tower, was a descendent of Ham. Much of the labor on the tower would no doubt have been forced, as it has been in the building of many of the great monuments of man.

There are things that happen in families that affect later generations. A heritage of poverty affects many families, and poverty leads to borrowing. Borrowing has now become the American way of life, but Proverbs 22:7 says that the borrower is a servant to the lender. I understand the truth of that saying far too well.

Our heritage can bind us every bit as much as the chains of slavery. Note here that I recognize that much of monotheism is also based more upon spiritual imagination than upon reality. The Islamic terrorists who recently kidnapped 300 Nigerian schoolgirls (reports vary on the number) are either totally deceived by their heritage, or they are making use of that heritage to further their own personal agenda. According to the news, they have threatened to sell the girls as slaves if their demands aren’t met. The slave industry is very much alive in our day, and God only knows how many young girls around the world are kept as sex slaves. The term “wife,” often has little real meaning beyond being a convenient title.

The heritage of sin survived the flood. Ham must have rejoiced inwardly to see his father stumble, and that made a sad situation worse. There are usually many outside factors that contribute to the inconsistent behavior of humans, and though he didn’t look the part, this was the same Noah who had “found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” He built the ark that carried his family to safety, while all others perished.

Though he was at least somewhat inconsistent, it is imperfect people who need grace and hope; not perfect people. When people who realize their imperfections see the imperfections of the “heroes” of the Bible; it gives us hope. The Bible has been the source of hope to billions of people over the centuries, many of them slaves, for it has convinced them of deliverance to come (Luke 4:14-21).

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In this world, things which God must suffer to exist often overshadow that which he desires. We don’t always enjoy this world, and we can get many mistaken ideas about God’s will, but he doesn’t like the way things are either. God must even allow us the freedom to doubt him if we are so inclined, and many false beliefs arise in this mist of misunderstanding.

The following verses show a difference between the desire of God, and that which he must allow. Jesus said in Matthew 9:13, “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.” In that verse, mercy is the thing desired, whereas sacrifice is something that must exist. Just as we sometimes must do things that we would rather not, so it is with God, and his cross is heavier than ours.

Second Peter 3:9 says the Lord is, “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” According to that verse, everyone would be saved if God’s heart’s desire were fulfilled. Many wonderful things simply do not happen because even though God is willing, we are not (Luke 13:34). We need to pray for God to help us in spite of our reluctance.

I’ve been writing about Genesis 8:20-9:17, Noah, and sacrifice in particular, but I’m going to leave that subject for now. Genesis 9:2-6 is about God suffering man to attempt to govern the earth. Those verses hint of civic duty in regard to other people, and of responsibility to God. The idea is for man to become involved in establishing order to offset the natural tendency toward chaos. In the process, man should learn something about God, and about himself.

God desires human beings to exercise self-control, but when that fails, some form of law must come into play. Galatians 3:19 tells us that the law was “added” because of transgressions. Laws and rules don’t make anything perfect (Hebrews 7:19), but they allow society to function. We’ve heard the argument that morality cannot be legislated, and that’s true of the inner morality of the heart which God desires, yet all laws are an attempt to control outward morals.

By the same token, love cannot be legislated, yet God tells us to love. Jesus said in Matthew 22:36-40 that all biblical law can be summed up by the commandments to love God, and to love our neighbor as ourself. Commanding us to love doesn’t make it happen, nor is love always an easy thing, but it lets us know where God stands.

Genesis 9:2-6 doesn’t give a lot of rules, but in those verses, God states his opposition to “the shedding of man’s blood.” At the same time, he upholds the right of man to exact judgement rather than restraining it as he did in Cain’s case (Genesis 4:8-15). God suffered the establishment of governments, even though his own blood would be shed in a terrible misapplication of justice under the Romans. The alternative to government is chaos, and “every man for himself.”

In spite of chance, and God’s gracious intervention at times (Ecclesiastes 9:11, and Romans 9:16), history furnishes endless records of injustices forced upon people by those more powerful than themselves. The animal kingdom also suffers under man. In Genesis 9:2-4, which I wrote of in an earlier post, God sanctions the use of animals for food to sustain human life. A commandment is given that the animal not be eaten alive. You might think that such a command would be unnecessary, but maybe we should take a closer look at man’s appetite.

On 3-21-14, there was an article on foxnews.com about animals that are eaten alive by humans around the world, so, this wasn’t something done only when man was less civilized. Debates about animal cruelty are currently occurring over these practices. Man’s dominion is over that of the animal kingdom, but that doesn’t mean that God approves of man’s cruelty.

Genesis 9:2-4 is often taken only as a command against the eating of blood (ref, Leviticus 17:11-12, Hebrews 10:4-10), but I believe in a stricter interpretation of the verse. Without its blood, the animal is dead, and released from further suffering. God cares for all his creation, and his covenant in Genesis 9:12-13, is not only with man, but with all living creatures. One day, when God’s dominion over the earth is finally established, peace will come to our world, and to the animal kingdom (Isaiah 11:6-9).

This is a world in transition, and earth’s creatures are transient beings, but this is only the beginning for us; not the destination, and not the end. There is a rainbow; the token of the promise of God. I’m praying to write something about the rainbow next, but the truth seems to be as elusive as the rainbow itself.

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People must eat whenever they get together for a period of time, so it’s only natural that food would become associated with our celebrations. Practically all ancient people also retained some fragmentary knowledge of the existence of a creator, so prayers of some sort would tend to accompany their feasts.

The simple preparation of animals for food could partly explain why the practice of ritual sacrifice was common among ancient societies. An understandable expression of regret for the harsh realities of death could quickly evolve into elaborate ceremonies (ref. my previous post). Such ceremonies in most cultures were influenced by superstition, and little was left in them which related to reality, even in a symbolical form.

The word “altar” basically means a high place, a raised area of earth or stone. Such an area would have served as a butcher’s table in ancient times. The word “altar” is formed from two words. “Alt,” means “high,” and comes to us through Latin, but is derived from the shortened form of Elohim (El), the Hebrew word for God. Some languages have it as “Al.”

“Tar,” from the Middle English “tere,” or “terre,” is related to the words, “tree,” “truth” (from the Anglo-Saxon, treowth), and also “terra,” the Latin word for Earth. I personally believe that “terra” comes from “Erets,” the Hebrew name for Earth (ref. Heaven and Earth, in my September 2011 archives). “Ets,” the ending of “erets, happens to be the Hebrew word for a tree, so I think these things are all connected.

The black, sticky, substance that we call tar is obtained by the destructive distillation of wood, or coal and other products leftover from the decomposition of organic matter. That explains the connection of “tar,” to “tree.” The burning of the remains of animals on primitive “altars” likely has something to do with the association of “tar” with a burnt offering.

Noah’s ark was “pitched” inside and out with pitch (Hebrew “kopher”), a substance formed along with tar. The same basic Hebrew word is used for the sacrifice of the atonement (at-one-ment). I intend to write a bit more about this Hebrew word later. It is possible that Noah’s pitch could also have been obtained from tree resins, since “pitch” refers to such resins also.

Strong’s Bible Concordance notes that “Ariel,” a name meaning lion (or hero) of God, and also a symbolic name for Jerusalem, probably comes from “Harel,” meaning the mount (high place) of God. So, a symbolic name for Jerusalem, the place where Jesus was crucified has the same meaning as our word “altar.” A variation of “Ariel,” actually means “alter,” three places in Ezekiel 43:15-16. At this point in time, I have no idea why it’s so used in only these three places. I think that “high place,” “high ground,” “high tree,” “high truth,” “mount of God,” or “tree of God,”  can all be given as meanings of the word “altar.”

In this world, wherever there is a truth, there will many alterations of that truth, and if there’s a way to get things utterly confused, man will think of it. Though condemned by God (Jeremiah 32:35, Genesis 9:6), the horror of human sacrifice became commonplace in many pagan religions. Though unaccompanied by any ceremony, atrocities such as Herod’s murder of the young children of Bethlehem, in an attempt to kill the child Jesus, should be recognized as human sacrifice (Matthew 2:1-18).

False beliefs, myths, and false religions, supplant and suppress the revelation of God. They alter man’s perception of reality, and obscure the ultimate reality of God. Man alters the truth, and sacrifices it, without even knowing what it is.

The longsuffering of God (2nd. Peter 3:9) does have its limits however, and God has intervened in history, preserving the truth for us in the book that we call the Bible. He has sacrificed himself on the altar of the cross, that we might not sacrifice Heaven for the sake of the token life that we possess here and now. Speaking of his “sheep” in John 10:10, He said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” While this verse can be applied to his desire for our lives here, it will only have its full realization in the new earth, and in the new heaven (Revelation 21:1).

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Based upon multiple accounts of people claiming to have seen Noah’s ark on Mount Ararat, I believe the remains of the ark are somewhere on the mountain. It doesn’t seem likely that all those witnesses could have been mistaken, or have stretched the truth that far.

Someone might wonder why I’m including the story of Arthur Chuchian along with the accounts of more credible witnesses. Arthur Chuchian was an eccentric person. He believed things such as are found in supermarket tabloids. It appears that he must have been a very gullible person, but in spite of that, I don’t think his story should be rejected. I think it’s significant that Arthur didn’t claim to have seen the ark himself, but that his Armenian father, Jacob Chuchian, told him of seeing the ark as a young man. I don’t believe Jacob Chuchian would simply have lied to his son.

His story could be easily confused with that of George Hagopian, another Armenian who saw the ark as a young boy. I haven’t checked this out but the Chuchians must have fled from danger in Armenia around the time of World War 1, as did George Hagopian.

Jacob Chuchian lived in a small village close to Ararat, and his story fits well with those of other eyewitnesses. Jacob claimed to have visited the ark more than once, and that on one occasion, the ice was melted off of one end. At other times part of the ark could be seen only through clear layers of ice. According to him there were damaged areas in the front side, and bottom of the ark.

I haven’t been able to determine which of the sightings was supposed to have taken place first, the Chuchian or the Hagopian, but both happened only a few years before World War 1. The Hagopian story didn’t become public until 1970, and the Chuchian was five years later. George Hagopian only saw the ark as a boy, and probably due to his small size, he described the ship as being longer than the dimensions given in the Bible. He stuck with his impression of the great length of the ark, and wouldn’t change his story to conform to interpretations of the biblical term “cubit.”

The eyewitnesses I’m writing of in this post each spoke of a raised “catwalk” on the roof of the ark, with openings for light and air all along it. The individual accounts have several things in common, but are obviously not copies of the other stories. Hagopian thought the catwalk extended the full length of the ark, whereas Ed Davis, looking at the ark through binoculars, said that it terminated a little ways back from the end. The difference between the two stories is probably just a matter of perception, or a slight error of memory.

Abas-Abas, the elderly Lourdish guide of Ed Davis, told Ed that the window openings were about knee-high. George Hagopian, as a small boy walking on the top, thought they were larger than that, but I don’t see that as a discrepancy in their stories. A small boy, and a grown man, perhaps standing a different distance from the openings, would see them differently.

Hagopian said that he didn’t see a door in the ark, but that it could have been on the other side against the rock and ice. The only damage that he seems to have noticed was a big hole in the top of the ark. He walked on the ark, and looked into the hole, but it was too dark inside to see anything. Hagopian claimed to have seen the ark after several consecutive years of drought when the whole top of the ark was visible. Ed Davis said that the door couldn’t be seen from where he viewed the ark. Abas-Abas had seen the door, and told Ed where it was located on the other side.

Abas said that the ark was once a little higher on the mountain, and more upright, but that the ice had moved it downhill. The things that Abas told Ed Davis seem to tie the other eyewitness accounts together pretty good. Ed said of Abas-Abas that, although they were from different cultures and religions, they became  “friends.” The gifts given to Ed by Abas indicate that to be true. Abas wouldn’t part with any of the relics from the ark that were shown to Ed however.

Several artifacts were shown to Ed that Abas said were gathered from the mountainside when a section of the ark broke off. There was a large petrified cage door, and there were fragments of petrified wood that the Abas family had assembled to form crosses, even though they themselves were Muslims. Abas told Ed that the ark was pretty much in one piece when he was young (around 1900 or earlier), but that a piece of the back section had later broken off.

Through his binoculars, Ed could also see that section farther down the mountain. Abas stressed that they didn’t take anything out of the ark, but gathered some items that spilled out when the break occurred. Abas apparently thought that containers found with food in them belonged with the ark, but that idea has been ridiculed. Food, preserved for great periods of time, has been found in places such as the pyramids of Egypt, but there are other possible explanations for containers of food at the ark. The Armenians told of pilgrimages to the ark, and it’s possible that food could have been left there by some of the villagers.

Other things could possibly cause some confusion in the details of the ark sightings. There are stories that the Armenians once did some work on the ark, perhaps to strengthen a damaged area. That could account for the “young” Carbon-14 dates of wood found on Ararat. George Hagopian argued that wood found on the mountain couldn’t possibly be from the ark because the ark was petrified, yet he himself said that his uncle lifted him up to reach some steps to climb on top of the ark. He said the steps, which did not extend all the way to the ground, were not actually part of the ark. They must have been built when the surrounding ice was much higher.

That would be a strange thing for George to add to his story if he were simply making it up. If his account was not true, why would he claim that his uncle lifted him up to some steps that someone had attached to the ark? It would have been simpler just to claim that he had climbed on top from the ice at the back of it.

I wondered for a little while if American soldier, Ed Behling, might have copied his story from Ed Davis, but the Behling claim of a 1973 sighting actually came to light in 1981, four years before the 1943 story of Ed Davis was made public. Ed Behling was in the U.S. Air Force, and while stationed in Turkey in 1973, he was guided to the ark by the great-uncle of a Turkish soldier. He rode a four-wheel drive to a shepherd’s camp high on Ararat. The weather was good on their trip, though there was the usual fog, and they reached a section of the broken ark after a long day’s hike.

Both Ed Davis, and Ed Behling saw a long section of the ship, with a great, dark, gaping hole where it was broken. Ed Davis said the back was broken off, but Ed Behling said the front was gone. Behling saw only one section, possibly the piece farthest down the mountain. I think that “front,” or “back,” would be a matter of perspective unless there was something about the ark that allowed Abas, and Behling’s guide as well, to differentiate between the bow and the stern. Like Davis, Behling said that he did not see the door of the ark.

Behling saw his section of the ark from a cliff about fifty to seventy feet above it. His guides did not bring ropes, apparently planning to view the ark close-up without trying to climb to where they could actually touch it. They got another view of the ark from below, where they camped for the night before descending the mountain. The background stories of these witnesses have been verified.

George Hagopian’s family was from near the city of Van. Critics have questioned whether a small boy could have walked 15 miles or more per day on his two-week journey to Ararat and back. As a boy, I have hiked that far in a day, though not for consecutive days, but I believe that an active boy his age could have made the trip. I’m also not sure exactly where the starting point of their journey was.

The same is true of the starting point of the Ed Davis trip. Critics question whether he hauled enough extra gasoline in his Army truck to drive to Ararat and back from somewhere toward Hamadan, Iran. From what I’ve studied, I don’t see that as a problem. He left his truck in the village where Abas lived, and the other truck they took from there could have already had a full tank.

I haven’t seen any differences between these accounts that aren’t easily explained, though there are questions I would like to ask. In particular, Ed Davis tells a story that is hard for me to doubt. I’ll try to finish writing about the ark with my next post.

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Sometimes charges of fraud can be difficult to either prove, or disprove. According to links at the NoahsArkSearch website http://noahsarksearch.com, the 2010 discovery claim of Noah’s Ark Ministries International (NAMI) is suspected of being a fraud. This information can be found in the 2011 Updates at NoahsArkSearch.

If you happen to read something in the updates about Daniel McGivern, that article has nothing to do with the NAMI scandal. According to archaeologist Randall Price, Daniel McGivern prematurely released questionable information from a study of satellite data on an anomaly in the ice cap of Ararat. However, Randall Price is also one of those trying to call attention to problems with the NAMI claim. At this point in time it’s extremely difficult to sort it all out, and NoahsArkSearch appears to have simply made the information available just as it is.

NAMI, a Hong Kong based team, removed the English version of their website from the internet late in 2011, but so far as I know, they are continuing to make their claim. Many links to their videos and other information now lead nowhere, but reports from some who question the discovery can easily be found. Those who have expressed doubts include ark searcher Don Patton, archaeologist Randall Price, Dr. Carl Wieland of Creation Magazine, geologist Andrew Snelling, and Ararat tour organizer Dr. Amy Beam. Soon after the “discovery,” NAMI tried to recruit the help of several reputable people to add credibility to their claim. Some of those people questioned NAMI’s “ark,” and later became a target for personal attacks in one form or another.

The story revolves around a Kurdish guide named Armet Ertugrul (nicknamed Parasut) who led the NAMI team to a wooden structure in an ice cave in the Red Canyon area of Ararat. NAMI, apparently believing they had found the ark, began a campaign to make the discovery public, and to obtain funds to excavate the ark.

Before long however, the story surfaced that Kurdish workers had hauled old wood up Ararat to build what they thought was a movie set. The wood had supposedly been trucked in, and moved farther up the mountain by horses. Finally, it was carried by workers to the site at 13,000 feet. There the wood was assembled inside an ice cave to look like rooms within Noah’s Ark. A letter to that effect appeared with the signatures of two guides who worked for Parasut.

These two guides later claimed in a video that they did not write the letter, and that their signatures had been forged. I suppose this could have been part of a scheme to make those asking serious questions appear as if they were relying upon hearsay. Most likely though, the two guides were persuaded in some way to change their story. Trouble between Parasut and tour organizer Amy Beam developed along a different line.

She and Parasut’s pardner, Mehmet Ceven, were once business pardners of some sort. At her website, http://www.mountararattrek.com, she explains her concerns about the large amounts of money being donated to NAMI by people who have been misinformed. She also says that she wants to restore honesty to the Mount Ararat tourism industry. In a .pdf file, “The Turkish Guides and the Noah’s Ark Discovery Fraud (under Stories),” she mentions the fact that “honest search expeditions” have been conducted on Mount Ararat for decades, though she doesn’t personally believe the ark is there. I agree with her statement that “…fraud by some casts a shadow on the integrity of everyone.”

Also under “Stories” on her website is an account of the disappearance of Donald Mackenzie late in 2010. Initially, I confused this man with Joel David Klenck, who disappeared for a few hours from one of Amy Beam’s climbing tours. Apparently, after being told that no one could take him to the NAMI “ark” site, Joel Klenck slipped away and tried to find it on his own. He must not have been able to spot the site at the time, but was later successful in joining the NAMI team. He is the “expert” in the NAMI produced movie, “Days of Noah,” released in 2011.

So far as I know, the character of Donald Mackenzie isn’t considered questionable, as is that of some associated with NAMI. Mackenzie disappeared conducting his own personal search for Noah’s ark, and has never been found. He had also wanted to investigate the NAMI claim.

In 2010, I saw some of the photographs of the wooden structure on NAMI’s website which they later removed from the web. I thought that something looked odd about the man in some of the pictures, though I didn’t take time to study them. It turns out that the image of the man, standing in different “rooms,” was added to various photographs to give an impression of size to the rooms. I have read that the NAMI team has never been able to get into some of the rooms in the “photos.” They haven’t actually even seen them. One of the guides provided the photographs, which were supposedly taken at an earlier time when the rooms were more accessible.

I realize that it can sometimes be difficult to take a photo that captures the way something really looks, but it is deceptive to manipulate photos and film. NAMI has added to the confusion surrounding the stories of the ark on Ararat. If remains are ever actually found, some people will never believe it, simply because of the way the NAMI claim has been handled.

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