Friday, May 21, 2010

The Carbon Dioxide-Oxygen Cycle and the Gospel

The Carbon Dioxide-Oxygen Cycle and the Gospel


Interdependence is the idea that everything in nature is connected to everything else; what happens to one plant or animal also affects other plants and animals.  (Some say that in human relations interdependence is a sign of maturity.) This concept is true in positive and negative ways.  In interdependence there is an implication that things depend on each other for survival.  This is evident in how plants, animals and humans exchange air.  It is called The Carbon Dioxide-Oxygen Cycle.   It is a continuously occurring process whereby animals inhale Oxygen [O2] and then exhale Carbon Dioxide [CO2].   Simply put, Plants and other producers use carbon dioxide in photosynthesis.  They produce oxygen as a waste product.  Oxygen moves from the plant into the air through the leaves.  Animals and humans breathe the Oxygen used in cellular respiration.  Cellular respiration is a process which releases energy from the sugar molecules in food. Carbon dioxide is produced as a waste product.  We exhale Carbon Dioxide, which in turn moves from the air into the leaves of plants. The plants use carbon dioxide in photosynthesis.


Our lesson correctly states that high-quality fresh air is the best suited to transfer oxygen to the blood through the lungs and to carry off the carbon dioxide that the body produces. This high-quality air is most available in natural environments, where trees, plants, and flowing waters are found.  As said above, the plants absorb the carbon dioxide in exchange for renewing the oxygen content of the air.  It is no wonder that God placed Adam and Eve in a garden setting sur­rounded by plants of all types and watered by a river that flowed through the Garden and became the headwater for the great rivers of the antediluvian earth.


Good clean air usually may be found in abundance in natural outdoor environments, especially around evergreen trees, green plants in mountains and forests, near moving waters such as oceans, lakes, and waterfalls, and after rain. It is estimated that the algae in the ocean provides almost 90 percent of the oxygen in our atmosphere, with the rest coming from plants. Live plants in your own home can help to clean the air there and remove carbon dioxide.


The tragic story in the beginning of this week's lesson tells us how dangerous the lack of Oxygen and abundance CO2 can be for humans.  Let us read it,


A few years ago, a family of five went to a cabin in the moun­tains for a short Christmas vacation. One evening they shut all the windows tight in order to keep cold air from coming in, and they turned the furnace on full blast in order to keep the cabin warm through the bitter night.  The only problem? The whole family died because the furnace had used up all the oxygen in the air!


There was nothing to replace the oxygen used in the furnace instead carbon dioxide from the furnace spread over the room, thus poisoning the whole family. 


In a certain way we can see the Gospel represented here.  In this case the plants represent God, and all oxygen breathing creatures represent us.  Sin is represented by CO2, and God's righteousness is O2.  When we breathe God's righteousness we let go of our Sin, which God takes away from us. 


We know that the Father imputed our Sin and transgression on the Son, and in turn imputed His righteousness on us.  This objective truth is expressed in 2 Corinthians 5:21, "For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."  We can also see sanctification in this process.  We know that the Holy Spirit dwells in us, and if we allow Him He will sanctify us, thus separating us from Sin.  Breathing in God's oxygen (Righteousness) pushes out our CO2 (Sin).  So, subjectively, it means that when we by faith accept the objective truth, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us and gives us the righteousness of Christ while He takes away our Sin.  Paul expresses this in 1 Corinthians 6:11,


1 Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.


He also expresses this in Hebrews 10:14-16


Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

Hebrews 10:15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,

Hebrews 10:16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;


Exhale Sin, inhale righteousness: that is our cycle. 

Raul Diaz

Friday, May 14, 2010

Commentary: To accomplish more and better you have to do less

To Accomplish More And Better You Have To Do Less


Our lesson opens with this puzzling story,


A bright, young medical student at Loma Linda found himself burning out. Getting up at four in the morning, working until midnight, he struggled to keep up with his strenuous curriculum, but to no avail. He fell farther and farther behind.


"In desperation he went to his professor for help. Being an astute man, the professor recommended that Tom get at least seven hours of sleep each night, no matter what, and thirty minutes of vigorous exercise everyday. Tom was incredulous, . . . but at last he reluctantly agreed to give this program a try. After all he was so far down he had nothing to lose. To his utter amazement his grades began to improve within just two weeks. By the end of the year he was in the upper third of his class and in due time successfully completed his medical training."—"I'm So Tired," Hardinge Lifestyle Series (Loma Linda, Calif. Loma Linda University School of Health, 1988), pp. 3-5.


There seems to be a paradox: to accomplish more and better you need to do less.  Yet, our world frowns on rest.  It is seen as weakness and laziness.  Doing more is celebrated.  People brag and complain about how much they do and how little they rest.  But, soon enough they run out of energy and are forced to stop to "catch a breath," refresh, restore, or reinvigorate.  Sometimes, they are forced to do it in very distressful conditions – disease, recovering from accidents, depression, etc.  Had they included rest as part of their routine the severity of their forced rest may had been avoided. 


Our memory verse seems to tell us that Jesus was instructing His disciples to do less and rest, "Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them, 'Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest' " (Mark 6:31, NIV).  He made sure the disciples paced themselves so they could continue to work after.  Any person chopping down a tree would know to sharpen the saw or axe.  The more you chop the duller the saw or axe gets, and the less effective it becomes.  Stopping for a few minutes could actually improve and haste the job at hand.  Even car racers do pit stops every few laps.  Christ stopped the disciples so they could replenish themselves.  In order to give you need to have.  Christ would not allow for the disciples to be overspent.


Christ himself took time to rest.  In Mark 4:38 we read that he was asleep while the disciples fought for their lives against the storm.  A large part of Jesus process of restoration was through prayer, we read in Mark 6:45 – 46 after, "…He had sent them away, He departed into a mountain to pray."  Sometimes He spent all night praying.  We read in Luke 6:12, "And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God."


While many may consider it wasting time, Christ rested and He encouraged His disciples to do that.  Christ used His time wisely.  He followed the Father's will.  Christ yielded completely to the Father.  He repeatedly said that he only did and said the Father's will.  Christ is quoted in John 5:30 saying,


John 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.


All Christ did was the Father's will.  This would include the hours spent resting, sleeping, and praying.  We could argue that while others ignore or consider rest and prayer time and effort wasted, all else Christ did was possible because of the time He spent resting and praying.  If it was important for the Father that His Son did it, then it must be important to Him that we do also. 

Raul Diaz

Friday, May 07, 2010

Commentary: Faith’s Thermometer

Faith's Thermometer


The way we typically measure temperature is not really a direct measure of heat.  Your typical mercury or alcohol thermometer really measures the amount of space displaced by the liquid in the vacuum sealed cylinder.   Someone figured out that liquids expand when place under heat.  You can see this every time you boil water in a pot over a stove range.  The hotter the flame the higher the water will raise in the pot.   The same amount of liquid now occupies more space. 


That is how a thermometer works.  The hotter it is the liquid inside the cylinder expands, the colder it gets the liquid contracts.  This phenomenon is predictable and reproducible.  This is why using these principles they can build thermometers. 


Faith is also measured indirectly.  Christ told his disciples that a little faith can accomplish great things, we read in Matthew 17:20, "And Jesus said… If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."  Christ established that our faith will be evident to others.  James famous discourse on faith and works is often quoted on this subject,


James 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.


So many say, works is the proof of faith.  Paul says we are not saved by works.  In other instances Christ seems to agree.  In Matthew 7, Christ tells the disciples,


Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.


The works of the people mentioned here did not show faith.  However, Christ still insists, "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them" (Matthew 7:20); a concept that seems reiterated in John 15 in connection with a display of love or agape.  Christ tells the disciples in John 13,


John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.


So, it seems to be that the way in which we measure someone's faith is by His love in us toward others.  In 1 John we find a connection between faith and love.  By studying the passage from 1 John 4:12 through 1 John 5: 5 we can arrive at this statement: "By faith we overcome when we are born of God, Who is love and we cannot see, but He dwells in us (and us in Him) and casts away our fear."  So, we can conclude that where there is faith there is no fear for love casts it away.   So, in the presence of self-less, self denying, unconditional, perfect Love there is no fear and only faith.    How do we know when this love is in us?  When 1 John 3: 16 is true about us: "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."  It takes faith to do this. 

Raul Diaz