Posted in theology

The Math3ma Institute

By Elizabeth Prata

Great news! Gather ’round, dweebs, nerds, and geeks! The Math3ma Institute is live!

The Math3ma Institute is a research institute based at The Master’s University, “esteeming the voice of Christ in STEM through research, exposition, and dialogue”.

Pagans know that the world is created. I did when I was a heathen stomping about the world in my sin and going up and down upon it. It’s evident. Besides, my experience or opinion of this doesn’t count, not when the word of God tells us so:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, being understood by what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:18-20).

After salvation, we glory in His creation and the orderliness of it all. We praise Him for it!

The heavens tell of the glory of God; And their expanse declares the work of His hands. (Psalm 19:1).

I love learning about God as Creator. I enjoy nature shows and science shows, but often have to steel myself for the inevitable lies that secular science, physics, and math documentaries spout, that evolution made humans or a big bang made the worlds emerge from nothing or the earth is so many billions of years old…

Carl Sagan belatedly and sadly knows the truth now…

So I got excited when I read the mission of the Math3ma Institute:

In light of this, the mission of The Math3ma Institute is to reclaim the glory of God in Christ by acknowledging His supremacy and preeminence as Creator, and in doing so to help students grow closer to the Lord by seeing more clearly His glory, His majesty, and His genius in creation. As we explore the scientific and mathematical landscapes, our love and admiration for Christ and our sense of wonder and amazement at His handiwork motivates our day-to-day research. This then drives our desire to share the complexities of our work with wide audiences with simplicity and clarity — we find great joy in discussing the beauty, order, precision, and sheer brilliance of the Creator. In short, we are here to esteem the voice of Christ.

If you want to enjoy STEM lectures with a Christian base, then please know that The Math3ma Institute has a public lecture series, here.

Aimed at a general audience, The Math3ma Institute Public Lectures are engaging and accessible talks by TMU faculty and colleagues on a wide range of topics in mathematics, engineering, science, and technology, all from a Biblical perspective. All lectures are free and open to the public and include time for discussion and dialogue with speakers and attendees. Additional information on current and upcoming Math3ma Institute Public Lectures can be found here:

In addition to the public lectures, they also offer a Journal and a blog, here.

REVEL in scientific knowledge that won’t make your stomach clench when you hear lies, won’t make your head spin with the deep blindness of the scientist, won’t make you upset at their constant learning but unable to come to knowledge of the truth.

In addition, the TheoTech Conference is another arm of the Math3ma Institute and the 2021 conference videos are available. Happily, Saturday, October 29 was the 2nd Annual conference! The theme is “Inerrancy, Electricity + Divine Power.” Topics and speakers were:

9am: Joey Kim: “Maxwell’s Magic“
10am: Jason Lisle: “Power of the Planets“
11am: Joe Francis: “Electromagnetic Life“
12pm: Grant Horner: “Zeus’ Thunderbolts“
2pm: Speaker Panel 1: Kim, Lisle, Francis, Horner
3pm: Monica Vroman: “The Breath of Life“
4pm: John Eickemeyer: “Classical, Quantum, Artificial Faith and Ungrounded Power“
5pm: Speaker Panel 2: Lisle, Vroman, Eickemeyer, MacArthur, Horner
6pm: John MacArthur: “Fire from Heaven“
The TMU chorale sang at 9am, 2pm, and 6pm (Pacific time)

I do not know if the sessions will be recorded live of when or if the sessions will be uploaded (last year’s were, so I’m hoping).

Anyway, just a couple of resources for you on the science and math front. These resources of the Math3ma Institute and TheoTech Conferences offering edification from a Christian perspective, so needed!

Further Resources

The Queen of Sciences: Reclaiming the Rightful Place of Theology and Creation. Video Lecture/Q&A with Dr. Abner Chou, who “surveys through the issues surrounding creation and argues that a realism of biblical authority and revelation establishes theology and creation as a necessary framework for science. It also will contend that the interpretation of Genesis 1–3 is clear and clearly historical as well as that the doctrine of creation is inextricably linked with the totality of Christian theology.”

His article on the subject is here

The End Time Blog Podcast Season 2, Episode 272

Posted in theology

Of horseshoe crabs and barnacles

By Elizabeth Prata

I love looking at God’s creation and praising Him for it. Job 38-42 has an extended treatment on creation spoken of by God Himself.

When I was a pagan, I saw His creation and I wondered about it. I wondered how it got here, why it was so orderly, and who made it. It was obvious earth was made. So…who?

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, being understood by what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:18-20).

Giant barnacles on a giant sea scallop shell I collected in Labrador, Canada. EPrata photo

During the time I was living on my sailboat and cruising up and down the eastern seaboard and across to the Bahamas, I decided to make a scientific study of mollusks, all the shells and animals that lived in them, since we spent so much time beachcombing.

I challenged myself to look at the form of the shell and see what function it may have served- like angel wings are tall and skinny with a delicate shell so you know they aren’t going to be tossed around in the surf. In fact they drill down in soft sand and the sand protects the shell from breakage. A moon snail is round and thick so it can take being tossed in the surf.

I learned along the way that barnacles have a super cement that man can’t figure out how to reproduce, but that hasn’t stopped the Navy from trying. They have been trying for a long time to figure out what’s IN that glue to make barnacles soooo adhesive to hulls of ships! They are still trying.

You see, barnacle cement is interesting because it cures underwater, without the need for air drying, and is able to bind to materials with a wide range of textures. It is composed mostly of proteins (70%) and extrudes it from underneath its base plate to the surface below, (think, squeezing grout from between your teeth) and cures within a matter of hours. Once attached it is nearly impossible to get it off. The Navy really, really wants to know how a barnacle does that.

Its cement is among the most powerful natural glues known — with a tensile strength of 5,000 lbs per square inch and an adhesive strength that has been measured at 22 – 60 lbs per square inch. And that’s just barnacles. Blue mussels know how to make 21 different kinds of adhesives. That’s a quote from the Office of the Naval Research, btw. They are really interested both in getting rid of barnacles from their ships and learning how to make the cement for themselves.

Barnacles drag the boat, slowing it down. Often during our sailing journey we had to swim and dive around our boat with a chisel and chip those critters off the hull. Any time we docked for more than a few days the hull would have barnacles on them when we left.

Also, speaking of a wonderful created order, when we visited Woods Hole Oceanographic Lab we learned that horseshoe crabs have a kind of blood that clots instantly when encountering toxins or bacteria. See, in the 1960’s, “Dr. Frederik Bang, a Johns Hopkins researcher working at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, found that when common marine bacteria were injected into the bloodstream of the North American horseshoe crab, Limulus polyphemus, massive clotting occurred.” (Source) What? We humans need that!

Woods Hole Lab reported, “seawater is a virtual “bacterial soup”. Near-shore areas where the horseshoe crab lives can easily contain over one billion bacteria per milliliter of seawater. That’s a lot. So the horseshoe crab is constantly threatened with infection. Such bacteria do not affect us humans because we have an immune system. The horseshoe crab doesn’t. It doesn’t spontaneously develop antibodies to fight infection like humans can. But the horseshoe crab does have a number of compounds that will bind to and inactivate bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

Cool, so though horseshoe crabs have no immune system they can combat bacteria! How is horseshoe blood used today you might ask? So glad you asked! “The horseshoe crab plays a vital, if little-known, role in the life of anyone who has received an injectable medication. An extract of the horseshoe crab’s blood is used by the pharmaceutical and medical device industries to ensure that their products, e.g., intravenous drugs, vaccines, and medical devices, are free of bacterial contamination. No other test works as easily or reliably for this purpose.” (Source: Audubon). No other man-made test works like the natural horseshoe crab blood!

God is great! And He made a crab that is not going to win any beauty contests but has within its blood hidden gems!

Atlantic horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) in Sussex County, Delaware USA. Creative Commons/Public domain. Photographer, Kaldari

I am in awe at God’s creation and how perfectly he created every living thing.

By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their lights. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He puts the depths in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood firm. (Psalm 33:6-9)

Posted in theology

Our incredible God, the incredible Creator

By Elizabeth Prata

We read in so many books aimed at Christians that there is a secret code in the Bible. That life has a secret code. That there’s like hacks based on a code (enneagram, anyone?). There are no secret codes in the Bible and the only life hacks that do exist in the Bible are either indicatives or imperatives. But did you know there IS a secret, recently discovered, code to the universe?

I remember vividly when it was discovered and the wider general public became aware. January 1983. I subscribed to Smithsonian Magazine, the magazine associated with Smithsonian Museum. The cover displayed a weirdly balloon-like object on the cover, even more weirdly named a “fractal.” Intrigued, I read the article. I read it again, and re-read it many more times over the years, keeping that edition long past its sell-by date.

I never quite understood what fractals were or why the mathematics world was so excited about them. I wished I understood it. I wanted to understand it. I sensed its importance. But the point escaped me.

I wasn’t saved then.

Now I am.

This week I found a Christian scientist teaching about fractals at the Answers in Genesis Conference. His name is Jason Lisle and here is his bio:

Dr. Jason Lisle is a Christian astrophysicist who researches issues pertaining to science and the Christian faith. Lisle earned a PhD in astrophysics at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Dr. Lisle has worked at Answers in Genesis, the Institute for Creation Research, and is the Founder of the Biblical Science Institute. (Source)

Now, why are fractals a code to the universe?

When we discover a mathematical truth we have discovered something about the way God thinks.

Dr. Jason Lisle
The original fractal, now called the Mandelbrot set, after its discoverer

The video below is a really understandable video of Dr. Lisle explaining fractals and why they are a code to the universe, a peek at God’s mind, AND a mind-blowing, awe-inspiring concept. In fact, in watching him explain it (he does it really well- you WILL understand it!) I actually teared up with joy at seeing this peek at something that is behind and supports God’s creation- the universe. I urge you, if you’re feeling down, if you want to glimpse our Holy God, if you are simply curious, or for any reason at all, to watch the video!

Here are some other creation beauties. I applaud, exalt, and praise our God for His incredible beauty. RC Sproul used to say that God is good, true, and beautiful. He’d often ask, “What happened to beauty?” I am fascinated by this question and I speak of it often. Here are a few mind-blowing examples of our Beautiful Creator!

God has made everything beautiful in its time; also, He has given human beings an awareness of eternity; but in such a way that they can’t fully comprehend, from beginning to end, the things God does (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

This isn’t CGI, it’s a real-life creature known as a sea angel (Clione limacina) found in the cold waters of the Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans.

Did you know that Mercury is a planet AND a comet? Here’s NASA-

The black dot is Mercury! Photo from NASA

Researchers have known for years that Mercury has a huge tail. Last week, Andrea Alessandrini photographed her from the balcony of his home in Veroli, Italy. … First preceded in the 1980s, Mercury’s tail was discovered in 2001. Its origin is Mercury’s super-thin atmosphere. Mercury is so close to the sun that the pressure of sunlight can push atoms out of the atmosphere into space. The escaping gas forms a tail more than 15 million miles long.

We contemplate God in church when we worship, when we pray, when we read the Bible. But please take some time to contemplate Him as Creator.

Genesis 1:1 – In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Job 12:10 – In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.
Psalm 8:3-4 – When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?
Psalm 104:24-25 – Lord, how many are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all; The earth is full of Your possessions. There is the sea, great and broad, In which are swarms without number, Animals both small and great.

Contemplate the beauty of His creation and His beauty itself.

Further Reading

Smithsonian magazine 2017: Fractal Patterns in Nature and Art Are Aesthetically Pleasing and Stress-Reducing

Answers in Genesis: Beauty, the Undeniable Witness

Sproul: “What happened to beauty?

Posted in brain spirituality, end time, prophecy

Everyone knows God exists, we suppress it though

EPrata photo

I came to the Lord sometime between December 10, 2003 and January 1, 2004. There were many reasons for my accepting the Truth, (besides the fact that it is the LORD who opens eyes and hearts) but one of them was a long-time curiosity with how the world got started and a dissatisfaction with the secular answer of evolution, Big Bang, and simple chance. During this time of my peak curiosity, I was fortunate to be able to travel the world for ten years. I saw many sunsets, the majestic Alps, active volcanoes, the Northern Lights, myriad exotic animals, the ocean at peace and in turmoil, and I would think, ‘there HAS to be more to it than a Bang…this is all so beautiful and delicately complex.’ In this, the scripture in Romans 1:20 comes into play, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:” Eventually, I clearly saw, and I understood. More important, I believed.

Continue reading “Everyone knows God exists, we suppress it though”
Posted in theology

I was without excuse

By Elizabeth Prata

I was looking through an old travel journal I’d kept on my first big trip. I was a senior in high school, and the class was taking a trip to London. My parents gave me the trip as a graduation present.

I’d never flown before at the time (except a small Cessna a few feet off the ground in Provinceown) so the thought of flying through the night, at such a high altitude, over the ocean, I was very excited.

My travel journal captured my excitement: “Just completed takeoff. It was the most fantastic experience I ever had in my whole life! At first we were going slow and then fast and the next thing we knew we were over the lights of Boston. They were beautiful, like spider webs in the morning. In the next second we were over Provincetown and the next second I saw Nantucket.”

At that point we were at an altitude of 22,000 feet, the captain informed us, and our top altitude would be 33,000 feet. My next entry was a few hours later, when the sun began to peek over the horizon. We were flying east, so we were meeting the sun as we traveled over Nova Scotia, Canada, then the Atlantic, then Ireland.

“Beautiful. I’m watching one side of the world wake up while the other side is still sleeping. It’s all pink and blue, and the clouds are like cotton. The stewardess asked us to close our window shades, I’m not. I’m not going to miss this for all the gold on earth. This is God’s handiwork. I’m not turning down an offering from God.”

I remember the giddy feeling of having left earth and flying through realms I’d never been. Unhitched from the world, able to see above the clouds and into the heavens from a new perspective was startling to me and made a big impression. I’d written:

“I’ve decided that this is heaven. When I die I want to spend eternity here. Nothing but God could have made this. This is another world. The sun just came over the horizon. It’s too beautiful to describe.”

I’ve always loved geography, maps, locations, and boundaries like the sand-sea boundary, the 45th parallel, the equator. Edges of things. Being above the clouds and seeing in one glance the earth below and space above; the dark vs. light areas of the earth, and the stars above while the world wakes as not only fascinating to me but moving.

I know when the astronauts went into space they were moved also. I think we can’t help but be moved. The scripture says

The heavens tell of the glory of God; And their expanse declares the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge. (Psalm 19:1-2).

How can we look at the magnificence of the skies, moon, stars, and sun progressing across the skies in such an orderly march, each in its sparkling place, note the sunrise and sunset. I see that at age 17, even though having lived with a rabidly atheist father and a constantly seeking but never arriving at the knowledge of the truth mother, I could and did see God in the skies, as it poured forth speech. It’s obvious.

Poor me.

I was a perfect example of Romans 1:19-20,

that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, being understood by what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

Acknowledging God as creator actually put me in a worse position “when I die”. I wasn’t going to heaven if it happened. I’d be going to hell. It isn’t enough to see God’s handiwork, acknowledge it as His, and go on my way, deciding to enter heaven after I die. Why?

For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, (Romans 1:21a).

It is not enough to say “God made this” yet go on my way as before. The knowledge of God as august, majestic, powerful creator should move us to look at ourselves in comparison and say, “God have mercy on me, a sinner” like the tax collector did, and was justified. I was moved that there was a God, it’s obvious enough that He made the world as Romans 1:20 states (‘He has made it plain to them’), but I did not know THE God. His handiwork did not stir in me a self-awareness of my puniness and filthiness next to His holiness. His handiwork is supposed to do that for the Gentiles, as the Law was supposed to for the Jews. (Romans 2-3).

The Law was supposed to demonstrate to the Jew that he could not attain moral perfection. His inner man would prevent it, being totally corrupt. Therefore, we are both under condemnation, both Jew and Gentile, for “all have sinned”. Only God is perfectly moral, just, and holy.

I hung there, in that precarious position of acknowledging God as Creator, but foolish enough to ignore Jesus as Savior. I thought I had made a wise and philosophically advanced decision, and God should applaud me for it. Not consciously, but unconsciously. I was the person that the verse in Romans 1:21b-22 speaks of,

they became futile in their reasonings, and their senseless hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and they exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible mankind, of birds, four-footed animals, and crawling creatures.

No, lol, I didn’t worship snakes and crawling things but I did worship myself, my goals, my intellect, my wisdom, my pride. I worshiped idols as the verse says.

It was another 25 years before my incessant questions as a pagan would be resolved. If God made the world, then all the cultures who ever worshiped a god must be right that there is an afterlife. Since it’s obvious there’s an afterlife, hell must be real too. What makes heaven so great? What is the standard by which a person goes there? Because if everyone goes there, what makes it heaven? Everyone here is awful. (I acknowledged others’ sin, our depraved nature being obvious, except for meee, of course…)

God graciously gave me Jesus, and upon His moment of time pre-planned before the foundation of the world, I finally recognized my sin thanks to His grace and opening my eyes through the gift of faith. I repented of sin and fell upon Jesus’ feet. I understood the cross.

All those years I’d asked those questions, but whenever my mind tread closer to the cross, Jesus, and my own sin, my mind skittered away and I said, ‘No not that. It can’t be THAT.’ I don’t think many Christians understand the torment of the conscience, and the weariness to the soul of trying to find the answer but that our sin-darkened minds refuse to allow the holy light of the answer to burst through. It takes God passing HIs hand over us to do that, the external understanding of our need for Him, seen because of Him, by Him, through Him. I never would have gotten there on my own never. I know that.

Therefore we should be weak-need because of His grace. Grace through faith.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Posted in theology

The creation of a unique snowflake…a quadrillion times over

By Elizabeth Prata

It is raining here today and tonight we are supposed to receive snow showers. Here in north Georgia the word ‘snow’ elicits squeals of excitement and also more than a little fear. In other words, it’s rare.

I’m from Rhode Island. I lived through the Blizzard of 1978, one of the worst blizzards that ever fell in America anytime in weather recorded history. I moved to Maine just afterward and stayed for about 30 years. I am quite familiar with snow, and lots of it. I do not squeal with excitement when the forecasters say the word, I groan instead.

My life ln Maine included a lot of snow…

Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, And have you seen the storehouses of the hail, (Job 38:22)

For He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the gentle rain, ‘Pour out a mighty downpour.’ (Job 37:6)

But I do love to ponder His creative work. I particularly enjoy His work as Creator. Jonathan Edwards did too. Edwards said,

The end of the creation is that the creation might glorify [God]. Now what is glorifying God, but a rejoicing at that glory he has displayed? ~Jonathan Edwards

Edwards took a horseback ride or a walk every day, and pondered great thoughts, and enjoying thinking of God as creator. Edwards enjoyed the creation he admired so much, and praised God for it always.

It’s hard for me to imagine the infinite capability God has in creating every snowflake differently. If one snowflake is this beautiful, how gorgeous will heaven be?

And even more amazing, He created all the souls on earth that ever were, uniquely and individually. Each person looks different, has different DNA, and a different personality. What an amazing creator God we have!

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— (1 Corinthians 2:9)

Posted in theology

What’s that glow in the middle of the universe?

By Elizabeth Prata

In my earliest days of my walk with Jesus, I tried to witness to a close friend. She rejected Jesus as God, the notion of personal sin, and God’s creation work because, she said, Genesis shows that God made light before He made the sun, and that’s just illogical. You can’t have light without the sun, she asserted.

I didn’t have an answer to that, except that if God could make the sun He certainly could make light too, and in whatever sequence He wanted.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day. (Genesis 1:1-5).

Continue reading “What’s that glow in the middle of the universe?”