News to Note, May 10, 2008

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint


The amazing platypus, a modern bird in the wrong place at the wrong time, and more!

1. MSNBC: “Death Toll Passes 22,000 in Myanmar Cyclone”

Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims of the cyclone and tidal wave that crashed into Myanmar (formerly called Burma, in southeast Asia) this week, reportedly causing more than 22,000 deaths (as of earlier this week).

Additionally, an almost unfathomable tens of thousands more were reported missing and up to a million homeless in the literal and figurative wake of the cyclone, which included a tidal wave up to 12 feet high that washed away many of the houses in low-lying villages. The people of Myanmar will also have to cope with the destruction of agricultural areas known as the country’s “rice bowl.”

When natural disasters strike, the question of “where was God?” echoes in the hearts and minds of people worldwide—especially when today’s high-tech media can bring us raw footage of the disaster and the affected masses. For many atheists, the existence of death and suffering was the prime reason for their abandonment of God. But understanding Genesis as true history allows us to see the destruction of nature as not part of God’s original “very good” plan for earth and humankind, but rather as something aberrant—not what God originally intended.

And so, starting from Genesis, we can give answers to those who ask where God was in the midst of the Myanmar cyclone. God created this world and pronounced it “very good,” and it was not then a world of death and destruction. However, in Genesis 3, Adam and Eve violated God’s commandment and ate the fruit of the tree, which brought death into the world (Romans 5:12) as part of the Curse. What we see today is not the “best possible” creation of a loving God, but rather the sin-filled, cursed corruption of the original paradise. Natural disasters, suffering, violence, and death are all signposts that point us back to the effect of sin in making our world what it is today—but they are also crucial reminders of our need for a Savior (Romans 5:17)!

2. Examining the Platypus Genetic Code

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for: the mapping of the genome of the funny, furry duck-billed platypus.

3. Bird Fossil Found, Dating Back to the Dinosaur Era

Dubbed “the dawn of the Confucius bird,” a new bird fossil discovered in China is said to be from the time of the dinosaurs but is remarkably well preserved.

4. Bloodline: A Documentary Follow-up to The Da Vinci Code

Under the subtitle “New film takes Da Vinci Code conspiracy theories and shaky evidence to new heights,” Canada’s National Post looks at the follow-up to The Da Vinci Code: the upcoming “documentary” (if it can be called that) Bloodline.

5. Florida Passes Bill to Allow Critical Analysis of Evolution

Despite a series of losses, the movement to allow more open discussion of evolution in public school classrooms hasn’t been silenced.

Remember, if you see a news story that might merit some attention, let us know about it! And thanks to all of our readers who have submitted great news tips to us. If you didn’t catch last week’s News to Note, why not take a look at it now? See you next week!

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