Darwin’s Theology

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

C Darwin

Charles Darwin earned only one degree in his lifetime and that was in Theology. He majored in medicine before leaving school. And when he returned to school he studied theology with enthusiasm. His interests also led him to the field of natural science and he coupled this with his work in theology to study everything he could about natural theology, what we call creationism today. As far as the record shows, Darwin is the most famous natural theologian in history. And his natural theology was natural selection.

As a student at Christ’s College, Cambridge in the University of Cambridge system, Darwin studied to become a member of the English Clergy along with his cousin William Darwin Fox. Darwin and Fox became fast friends while at school. And they spent considerable time together studying the natural specimens (beetles) they could find in the English countryside. It was the tradition of the English Clergy to study natural science in order to give God praise for his natural creation.

During his first year in 1828, Darwin’s professors included the geologist Rev. Adam Sedgwick and Rev. William Whewell. Whewell was a natural theologian who later wrote the third in a series called the Bridgewater Treatise (1833), two years after Darwin graduated. Whewell was a natural theologian who used the philosophical scientific tool of Induction in his study of natural theology. Darwin included a quote from Whewell as an epigraph to his book, Origins, showing that his work would present his view of natural theology and like Whewell he would use the philosophical tool of Induction to present his evidence.

In his second year Darwin took residence in the same quarters that once housed the famous natural theologian William Paley. In his third year Darwin studied Paley’s Evidences of Christianity with enthusiasm. In his fourth year he studied Paley’s Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy. Darwin also read Paley’s Natural Theology or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity. Darwin later recalled:

I do not think I hardly ever admired a book more than Paley’s Natural Theology: I could almost formerly have said it by heart.

[Darwin to John Lubbock (22 Nov 1859)]

Paley not only set out to support the idea that design in nature proved that there was a creator (a 19th century version of ‘Intelligent Design’), he also set out to refute the naturalist arguments of David Hume who opposed the design argument of a creator. Darwin was in effect a student of Paley and absorbed much of his thinking while in school.

Darwin was also enraptured with the work of John Herschel who wrote, Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy, in which he praised the philosophical tool of science called Induction. This was supposed to be a key to discovering God’s design in nature where observation and theory found a balance. Darwin was so enthusiastic about Herschel that he later called him one of the greatest philosophers.

When on board H.M.S. Beagle, as naturalist, I was much struck with certain facts in the distribution of the inhabitants of South America, and in the geological relations of the present to the past inhabitants of that continent. These facts seemed to me to throw some light on the origin of species — that mystery of mysteries, as it has been called by one of our greatest philosophers [Herschel].

[Origins, Introduction]

As noted earlier with Whewell, Darwin set out to present his own version of natural theology in his Origins using the philosophical tool of Induction.

Beagle

After graduating with his degree in Theology early in 1831, Darwin set about his work on the famous voyage on the Beagle. He had read the work of Alexander von Humboldt whose tales of adventure sparked his own interest in the discovery of the natural wonders of the world. Humboldt presented the idea that species were fixed in various geographic zones due to climate and geography. The variation of these species occurred due to these elements. Darwin set about to repeat this effort of von Humboldt’s and exceed it if he could.

While aboard the Beagle Darwin happily wrote his family about his prospects of becoming a member of the Clergy and continuing with his work in natural science. He wrote to his sister-in-law, and later his cousin, about his prospects for the future.

I find I steadily have a distant prospect of a very quiet parsonage, & I can see it even through a grove of Palms.

[Charles to Caroline Darwin (25–6 April 1832]

To a person fit to take the office, the life of a Clergyman is a type of all that is respectable & happy: & if he is a Naturalist and has the “Diamond Beetle”, ave Maria; I do not know what to say.—You tempt me by talking of your fireside, whereas it is a sort of scene I never ought to think about.

[Darwin to W. D. Fox (9–12 August 1835)]

Fox had graduated before Darwin and was giving Charles Darwin good reason to anticipate a career within the Clergy working in the study of natural science.

Although the young Darwin was ambitious to serve in the Clergy and continue with his studies in natural science a change took place during his voyage around the world. Darwin was introduced to many ideas of 18th century evolutionary (Transformationist) thinking by his teacher Robert Edmund Grant who was a Lamarckian evolutionist who supported the idea of acquired characteristics. Even his grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, had written a book titled, Zoonomia (1794), that the young Darwin read while in school. Erasmus followed this same line of thought as Lamarck and was a part of the 18th century Transformationist community. The younger Darwin was open to the idea of the transformation of species but had not commented on it for the record while in school.

During his time on the Beagle he became acquainted with other works such as Thomas Malthus’ An Essay on the Principle of Population and Charles Lyell’s Principles of Geology. Of Malthus Darwin wrote:

In October 1838, that is, fifteen months after I had begun my systematic inquiry, I happened to read for amusement Malthus on Population, and being well prepared to appreciate the struggle for existence which everywhere goes on from long- continued observation of the habits of animals and plants, it at once struck me that under these circumstances favourable variations would tend to be preserved, and unfavourable ones to be destroyed. The results of this would be the formation of a new species. Here, then I had at last got a theory by which to work.

[Charles Darwin, from his autobiography. (1876)]

Sadly, Darwin confused species variations with species transformations. Natural selection works to make changes in species characteristics but not in creating new species.

Captain Fitzroy also gave Darwin a copy of Lyell’s book, Principles of Geology, while they were aboard the Beagle. Darwin discovered a geological perspective of uniformitarianism where the slow layering of the earth’s surface occurred over many geological ages. This impacted his thinking about both geology and biology. Humboldt already connected geography with biology and Darwin continued to fuse the two branches of science into one idea of the slow development of both.

As Darwin put his notes together in his diary he had an entry titled Zoonomia showing his thinking on the subject at hand. Darwin was slowly embracing the idea of evolution even though he had previously been a student of natural theology and could have been called a Creationist (a modern term) while in school.

Darwin’s ‘aha’ moment reportedly came during his voyage to the Galapagos Islands off of South America. There he saw the variation of species that made him wonder how that could have occurred. He combined the ideas of species variation with the idea of transformation (E. Darwin and Lamarck), with population dynamics (Malthus), with bio-geography (Humboldt), and with long geological time (Lyell) to present his own view of natural selection. Natural selection was Darwin’s explanation of the variation of species that he presented in his book, On the Origin of Species, by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (1859). His work focused on the origin of speciation and not on the origin of life.

Darwin’s career as a theology student conflicted with his new theology of natural selection. After publishing his Origins, Darwin wrote his friend Charles Lyell telling him about his conflict of soul.

…thinking of the many cases of men pursuing an illusion for years, often & often a cold shudder has run through me & I have asked myself whether I may not have devoted my life to a phantasy.

[Darwin to Lyell (23 November 1859)]

old C Darwin

Lyell had not accepted the notion of Lamarkian transformation theory when he first wrote Principles of Geology but he finally supported Darwin’s transformationist view in his Origins. This gave Darwin some relief but as he said, he was torn in his own mind about whether this idea of natural selection was true. In fact, natural selection is true only for species variations but false for species transformations.

As noted previously, Darwin used a philosophical tool of science (Induction) to present (not prove) his thesis of natural selection. As such he organized his ideas around a materialist approach to the origin of species without the influence of God (the Holy Spirit). To Darwin the selection of species that would survive required no action from an active Creator. The mechanism of species variation/transformation was therefore material and not spiritual. And instead of divine selection for species variation, Darwin’s approach was natural selection. Ultimately, Darwin’s natural theology was natural selection that was materialist not spiritualist (Wallace, etc.).

Today many people believe in evolution following the work of Charles Darwin. However, most people do not know that what they believe in is a form of natural theology. In fact, Charles Darwin is the most famous of the natural theologians who never rejected a belief in God; Darwin was not an atheist. Many people talk about evolution as being atheistic but it began with a theistic viewpoint without the active agency of God; theistic evolution was Darwin’s viewpoint. However, as Darwin did not require God to make changes to species in time and space, atheists embraced the new theology of Darwin’s materialism and have since turned evolution into the religion of atheism.

In the early 20th century, the Modern Synthesis worked to remove any vestige of spiritualism (Wallace, etc.) from the theory of evolution. The ideas of vitalism, entelechy, and teleology were removed and rejected as having no place in the materialism of modern Darwinian evolutionary theory. However, instead of removing them, they have been replaced with self-complexity, self-organized criticality (SOC), autocatalysis, and hyper cycles. These modern explanations of increased complexity in life forms from simple forms still bear the emblems of the earlier spiritualized ideas of vitalism, entelechy, and teleology. Instead of removing the spiritual ideas that comprised 19th century evolutionism, they traded it for the ideas of 20th century materialism. Materialism is a central element to Darwin’s natural theology.

Sadly, Darwin never proved his philosophical thesis of evolution empirically. His own cousin, Francis Galton, disproved the idea of pangenesis, which Charles Darwin thought was the mechanism of evolution. Pangenesis, however, was originally the thesis of Erasmus Darwin, the grandfather of Charles Darwin and Francis Galton; so Galton actually disproved his grandfather’s idea. And to date, all Neo-Darwinists have also failed to prove their ideas of evolution empirically, resorting to philosophical arguments instead to substantiate it.

The theology of Darwin is a widely held belief in the modern world. Although God is active in the affairs of man and nature (aka the world), evolution leads people to reject this in the minds of some. While natural selection can explain the variations of characteristics within a species it cannot explain species transformations. There have never been any observed transformations of species in nature or the lab and Darwin’s failure was not recognizing that species can mutate but do not trans-mutate. Darwin’s idea of Origins of Species and Natural Selection was original to him but having removed God from the daily life of nature and mankind opened the doors to theological error. His theology remains a central part of modern society and thinking but has been rejected by those who view his theology as without foundation in either the Bible or science. As a theology, evolution is heresy. As a science, it is philosophical without empirical foundation. All-in-all, it simply is not true for species transformations.

Blood Moon Theology Exposed

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

23 March 2016 Eclipse

16 Sept 16 Eclipse

In 2014, a few Christian writers promoted the idea of blood moons as though they would herald some cataclysmic event in conjunction with prophecy about the nation of Israel. However, none of the blood moons of 2014 and 2015 led to anything of significance other than babies being born and ordinary people living and dying. Now, 2 more moons in 2016 are supposed to herald some great event (23 March 2016 and 16 September 2016); but these so-called blood moons are not what they appear to be either.

Without criticizing writers who popularize false notions of theology, one should understand that derivative interpretations of the Bible are just that, not scripture. Scripture requires our attention and obedience. However, the trouble with the derivative prophecy that some promote is that they turn the Bible into a crystal ball to predict the future with; that that is not what the Bible or prophecy is for. Prophecy is given to return people to God and not to sell books. If the foretold events are not foretold in the Bible, then we must review these claims on their merits and regard them as mere curiosities.

From the dynamics of physics, NASA can predict the type of lunar eclipses that would occur in 2014, 2015, and 2016. From theology, when a moon turns red during an eclipse, they are supposed to be a sign that certain unknown events will take place that will affect the nation of Israel. But you may be surprised to find that either these blood moon eclipses cannot be seen from Israel or their color is not red when that can be seen from Israel. As such, they do not meet the requirements of what a supposed sign in the heavens is supposed to be.

The two eclipses in 2014 (15 April 2014 and 8 October 2014) cannot be seen from Israel at all. The first eclipse in 2015 (5 April 2015) cannot be seen from Israel and the second one (28 September 2015) can barely be seen from Israel. The first eclipse in 2016 (23 March 2016) cannot be seen from Israel but the second one can (16 September 2016). However, both lunar eclipses in 2016 are penumbral and not red at all.

A red moon, sometimes called a Blood Moon, is simply the color of the moon during a full lunar eclipse when light rays from the sun pass through the earth’s atmosphere and becomes attenuated before they hit the moon. This attenuation causes the light to be absorbed in the earth’s atmosphere allowing only the red wavelengths of light to hit the moon, causing it appear red.

A red moon is seen only during a total eclipse but not during a partial or penumbral eclipse. As a total eclipse aligns the sun, earth, and moon in a straight line, a penumbral eclipse is slightly offset so that the red that still hits the moon is masked by the bright white light of the sun that also reaches the moon without having first gone through the earth’s atmosphere. The combination of light in a penumbral eclipse causes the light of the moon to be dimmed but not red.

Writers who popularize the idea of ‘blood moons’ have failed to recognize the fact that just because there is a lunar eclipse in the sky doesn’t mean God is at giving us some sort of sign. However, they insist that past events that affected the Jews or the nation of Israel were heralded by ‘blood moons.’ Examining these claims exposes the defects of ‘blood moon theology.’

Some say the expulsion of the Jews from Sparin in 1492 was heralded by a blood moon. However, the possible lunar eclipses that would have occurred in the year 1492 would only have been penumbral. The expulsion of 200,000 Jews on 30 July 1492, was not heralded by any lunar eclipses on this day. And the ones that did occur that year showed no signs of being ‘blood moons.’ Further, the first eclipse could not have been seen from Spain and the second was not a total eclipse.

For the victory of the Jewish war of independence on 15 May 1948, again, there were no lunar eclipses on this day but of the two that did occur that year, the first was a partial eclipse and not visible from Israel. The second eclipse that could be seen from Israel was only a penumbral eclipse and not a ‘blood moon.’

For the six days war, fought on 5 – 10 June 1967, there were no lunar eclipses during this time. Of the two that did occur that year (24 April 1967 and 18 October 1967) both were total eclipses and could be seen as red moons. However, neither could be seen from Israel.

The evidence is clear. God did not tell us to look at the cycles of the moon to discover His timeline for prophetic events in the last days. Prophecy is not a forecast of future events but a reminder for us to return to God during various trials and tribulations. Blood moon theology is unbiblical and casts a false light on truly scriptural teachings. At best, the idea of a blood moon should be regarded only as a curiosity and not a sign from God in the heavens.

Where was Jesus Crucified and Buried?

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

Cross of Jesus

When you visit Israel, you’ll find a modern country filled with all the comforts of culture and technology. They even have an internationally famous theme park called Jerusalem. People from all over the world travel to the capital city of Israel to see the attractions. Jews, Christians (Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox), as well as Muslims find religious sites of all kinds. Called a Religious Disneyland by some, Jerusalem offers Christians many sites that are willing to sell you on their particular part of the theme park. This includes sites that claim to be the place where Jesus died, was buried, and resurrected. However, there is evidence that none of these sites present the genuine location of these historic events.

Site of Jesus’ Crucifixion

In 325 A.D. (C.E.) the mother of Constantine, Helena, went to Jerusalem to discover the sites of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. Tradition says that she found the site of his crucifixion outside the city gates at what is presently called the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Although the site is inside the present city walls, there is evidence that it was outside the walls of Jerusalem in Jesus’ day (1st century). Jewish law forbids executions and burials within the city walls.

The site that Helena discovered was originally a site dedicated to the Roman god Jupiter Capitolinus. Tradition says the Emperor Hadrian built this Temple on the site of Jesus death and burial in the 2nd century. So there is some evidence that this may have been the site where Jesus was crucified. This was the tradition of Christians living there when Helena visited them. However, this site is located west of the city of Jerusalem and not a likely candidate.

The site of Jesus’ crucifixion has been called Golgotha from the Hebrew/Aramaic language and Calvary from the Latin/English language. Both refer to the place of the skull but refers more to the skull cap than an entire skull. An early reference in Christian literature confirms this.

A spot there is called Golgotha, – of old the fathers’ earlier tongue thus called its name, ‘The skull-pan of a head’.

[Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 4 – Five Books in Reply to Marcion Book 2]

An alternate site for Jesus crucifixion is called Gordon’s Calvary. This is a recent identification that is far from the Temple site and resembles the eyes of a skull and not a skull cap. Further, it too is situated west of the city and not a likely candidate.

Given the narrative of the scriptures we may conclude that the site of Jesus’ crucifixion was east of the city and not west. This presents a problem for the two most notable sites of Jesus’ death, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and Gordon’s Calvary.

44 Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.

45 Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the Temple was torn in two.

46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last.

47 So when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, “Certainly this was a righteous Man!”

48 And the whole crowd who came together to that sight, seeing what had been done, beat their breasts and returned.

49 But all His acquaintances, and the women who followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

[Luke 23:44-49 New King James Version (NKJV)]

From this narrative we see the centurion witnessing the veil of the Temple being split in two. This veil was ~80’ x 24’ and placed on the outside of the Temple. The Temple faced towards the east so those who witnessed this veil tear saw it first hand from the east and not the west. Any site claiming to be the site of Jesus’ crucifixion would have to be east of the city of Jerusalem near the Temple mount.

The Romans also publically executed Jesus on a road near the city of Jerusalem.

39 And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads

[Matthew 27:39 (NKJV)]

21 Then they compelled a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, as he was coming out of the country and passing by, to bear His cross.

[Mark 15:21 (NKJV)]

Taking a look at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem today from Google Maps, we can see that the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is far to the west. And the place of the skull called Gordon’s Calvary is further west than that.

Jerusalem

A site that is east of the city and near the Temple and near modern roads and is a hill that could be seen by all is situated at the place I’ve designated as Golgotha on this map of Jerusalem. Below is another view of this site shown with retaining walls.

Golgotha

While there is no direct evidence that this is the location where Jesus died, it is certainly a candidate location given the requirements of what that site would be like.

Site of Jesus’ Burial and Resurrection

We are given the same number of possible sites of Jesus’ burial from the tradition of Helena, and the Garden Tomb associated with Gordon’s Calvary. The Bible tells us that after Jesus was dead, he was buried nearby in a new tomb that was in a garden.

57 Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus.

58 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him.

59 When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,

60 and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.

[Matthew 27:57-60 (NKJV)]

41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid.

[John 19: (NKJV)]

Nearby to the east of the Temple was a garden called the Garden of Gethsemane. This was on the Mount of Olives to the east of the Temple and city of Jerusalem. It is on Mount of Olives that Jewish custom tells us that the first person to be raised from the dead would be resurrected, based upon Zechariah 14:4.

And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south.

Zechariah 14:4 (New King James Version (NKJV))

Since ancient times, Jews have been buried on the Mount of Olives as this was said to be the place where the Messiah would come and the resurrection of the dead would begin.

2 After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, That we may live in His sight.

[Hosea 6:2 (NKJV)]

So given the biblical evidence, we can place the crucifixion of Jesus east of the Temple on a mount that is next to a garden of Gethsemane. This garden is on the Mount of Olives where the first resurrection of the dead occured.

Conclusions

So we find that the ancient location of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is not a valid candidate because it is west of the Temple and not east. The same can be said of Gordon’s Calvary site and the associated Garden Tomb. However, there is evidence to show that Jesus died just outside the city walls on a hill that overlooks both the Temple Mount and the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives.

Why did Jesus spend so much time in the Garden of Gethsemane? It may be because he not only knew he would die on the Cross for the sins of mankind but also he knew where he would die and be buried and rise from the dead. With Jesus on the Cross, the Temple was to his right and his tomb was to his left.

I cannot fault those who travel to Israel to see biblical sites. If I ever get to go I’m sure I’ll go and visit the popular attractions like everyone else. However, I’m more interested in visiting the hill east of the city where Jesus may have died. I’d also visit the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus spent so much of his time knowing that he would suffer on the Cross just a few yards from there and afterwards be buried and raised from the dead an equal distance from the Garden.

The exact location of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection is historic but secondary to the fact that he did pay for the forgiveness of our sins and rose from the dead for our victory in him. You can share in this victory personally by praying this prayer.

God of heaven, I believe in Jesus Christ who died on the Cross for me. I believe that he paid for the penalty of my sin, which I admit I have done. I ask for your forgiveness of my sin and thank you for your love. Please bring me closer to you so that I may know you. By your Holy Spirit, please make in me a clean heart, a renewed spirit, and a right mind that I may do those things that are pleasing to you. Thank you God, Father of the Lord Jesus Christ and now my Father in Heaven. Amen!

Are Hispanics a Part of the Missing Tribes of Israel?

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

Sephartic Jews

Sephardic Jews

Speculation abounds as to the whereabouts of the missing tribes of Israel. Ever since the division of the Kingdom of Israel in two and the subsequent destruction of the northern kingdom, the children of Israel (collectively called Jews) have been dispersed throughout the world. The identity of these Jews in the nations (gentiles) of the world has led to a new focus of Jews within the Hispanic community.

The discovery of Jews living in Ethiopia has opened new doors to discovering more of the lost tribes of Israel. Historical evidence along with DNA samples show the linkage between the Jewish culture and community. This same evidence exists to show that many people within the Hispanic community have ties with the Jewish culture.

The name, Hispanic, is a Spanish name for New Spain. However, the ancient name for Spain was Sepharad. And as Jews had lived in Spain since the time of King Solomon, these Jews have been called Sephardic Jews. Some of these Sephardic Jews migrated to the New World in Mexico and their descendants, Hispanics, carry many of the customs of the culture of Judaism.

Jews have been living in Spain since ancient times. The Bible shows us that during the times of King Solomon, the mineral wealth of Spain was being exploited.

22 For the king [Solomon] had merchant ships [of Tarshish] at sea with the fleet of Hiram.

[1 Kings 10:22]

The name of Tarshish as a place name is also found in the Bible as the name of one of Israel’s great-great-grandchildren.

6 The sons of Benjamin were … Jediael ….

10 The son of Jediael was Bilhan, and the sons of Bilhan were … Tharshish …

[1 Chronicles 7:6, 10]

Benjamin was a child of Israel and Tarshish is one of Israel’s great-grandchildren. The name of a place and of a descendent of Israel in the Bible is identified by some with Tartessos, which locates the ancient city of Tarshish in Southern Spain. Tarshish is a likely home of descendants of Benjamin who lived and worked there since ~950 BCE.

Jews (generic name for the descendants of Israel – tribe of Judah) lived in Spain in relative peace for a 1,000 years before another group of Jews were exiled to Spain from Jerusalem. We get a look at this dispersion from another passage in the Bible.

The captives of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad shall possess the cities of the South.

[Obadiah 1:20]

Hebrew scholars have identified the captives of Jerusalem to mean the Jews of Jerusalem (from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin) who were exiled into Spain (Sepharad) by the Roman Emperor Titus, the same person who destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD/CE. The exile of Benjaminites to Spain makes sense in the context of Benjaminites already living there as a suitable place for them to live. Another 1,500 years would pass before the Jews of Spain would once again be dispersed. This time, they would be forced to convert to a different religion or face deportation to Muslim countries throughout the Mediterranean.

In 1492, the Alhambra Decree, or Edict of Expulsion, was issued by the Monarchs of Spain, Isabella and Ferdinand, to Jews on 31 March 1492 to leave Spain by 1 July 1492 or convert to Catholicism. This led to many Jews living in Spain, some from families who had lived there for 2,500 years, to become Conversos. As Cryptic-Jews, many simply embraced the Catholic religion publically while maintaining their Jewish customs privately. One famous Converso was Christopher Columbus who was Jewish.

While many Jews were headed east, expelled from Spain and sent to the Muslim dominated countries through the Mediterranean, Columbus headed west towards the New World of the Americas. His travels are well documented but poorly documented are the accounts of Jews who went west with him while others were being exiled east. The story of Conversos, who entered the New World, is that they became Cryptic-Jews in New Spain – Hispanics. And many Hispanics today are descendants of these Sephardic Jews.

During the expulsion, some Jews left Spain for Portugal instead of the New World. However, many Jews left Portugal and came to the New World. The name “Portuguese” was later used derisively to connote Jews living in Spanish communities. Luis Carvajal y de la Cueva was a Portuguese Converso who gained authority from the Crown of Spain to settle Nuevo Leon (northern Mexico). He was also granted permission to accept newly converted Christians to this area (that was denied elsewhere), which opened up the doors for Jews to migrate to this northern part of Mexico. This allowed many people who were in danger of the Spanish/Mexican Inquisition to flee to a safe haven in northern Mexico.

The traditions and culture of these New Spanish, Hispanic communities in northern Mexico can be seen in one particular item associated with the Jewish festival of Passover. Also called Pesach, Jewish law prohibits one from owning or eating any chometz (leavened bread) during Passover; and one must eat matzah (unleavened bread) on the first night of the festival. Since the Jews did not think corn was kosher enough for the Passover festival, the unleavened bread was made from flour that was imported from Europe. This Jewish flat bread is known today as the flour tortilla.

flour tortilla

Flour Tortilla

The flour tortilla, made from wheat and not corn, is common in the northern regions of Mexico where the Crypto-Jews immigrated to. The Jews fled as far north as possible given the pressure of the Spanish/Mexican Inquisition and there is even evidence that they went as far north as New Mexico.

David Kelly wrote an article in the Los Angeles Times, “DNA Clears the Fog Over Latino Links to Judaism in New Mexico” (December 5, 2004), that shows DNA evidence linking Hispanics in New Mexico to Jews.

He [Father William Sanchez] launched a DNA project to test his relatives, along with some of the parishioners at Albuquerque’s St. Edwin’s Church, where he works. As word got out, others in the community began contacting him. So Sanchez expanded the effort to include Latinos throughout the state. Of the 78 people tested, 30 are positive for the marker of the Cohanim, whose genetic line remains strong because they rarely married non-Jews throughout a history spanning up to 4,000 years.

Michael Hammer, a research professor at the University of Arizona and an expert on Jewish genetics, said that fewer than 1% of non-Jews possessed this marker. That fact – along with the traditions in many of these families – makes it likely that they are Jewish, he said. …

It also explained practices that had baffled many folks here for years: the special knives used to butcher sheep in line with Jewish kosher tradition, the refusal to work on Saturdays to honor the Sabbath, the menorahs that had been hidden away. In some families, isolated rituals are all that remain of a once-vibrant religious tradition diluted by time and fears of persecution. …

‘We believe a fairly high percentage of first families [arriving] in New Mexico were nominally Catholic, but their secret religion was Judaism,’ he [Bennett Greenspan of Family Tree DNA] said. “We are finding between 10% and 15% of men living in New Mexico or south Texas or northern Mexico have a Y chromosome that tracks back to the Middle East.’ They are not all Cohanim, and there’s a slight chance some could be of African Muslim descent. But Greenspan said the DNA of the men is typical of Jews from the eastern Mediterranean.

Jews from the eastern Mediterranean refers to the Sephardic Jews of Spain.

Two years ago, in March 2014, Spain apologized to the Jewish community worldwide and opened the doors for descendants of Sephardic Jews who had been exiled to return to Spain and hold dual citizenship in their new home country and Spain. Although the Edict of Expulsion was formally rescinded by the second Vatican council in 1968, this new opportunity for descendants of Crypto-Jews is unprecedented in world history. I doubt that many Hispanics will take the opportunity to become citizens of Spain as they no longer practice Judaism but it was a good gesture by a country in a world that appears to be at war with Jews just because they are Jews.

The expulsion of Jews from one country to another is a part of the long history of Judaism in Spain and Hispania. Israel had 12 sons, and we get the name ‘Jew’ from the tribe of ‘Judah’, which is a son of Israel. There are other sons/tribes of Israel who are mixed within the nations (gentiles). It is well documented that the descendants of Sephardic Jews have lived and are still living in northern Mexico, parts of south Texas, and in New Mexico. As Hispanics, they are a part of the missing tribes of Israel. May God bless them one and all.

The Joker’s Wild – Playing the Trump Card

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

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Donald Trump has become the darling of the media. His ability to gather a larger plurality than his fellow Republican candidates has drawn admiration from an institution geared to bring low those who make too much of themselves. Far from holding Mr. Trump accountable for his vitriolic speech, the media is profiting from using his sensationalist approach at campaigning to sell ads. While Trump is apparently gaining in the polls, his campaign tactics of verbal abuse will come back to limit his ability to win the Presidential campaign 2016.

Excusing the liberal media bias for a moment, the media has a basic drive to publish sensational material to draw in viewers, listeners, and/or readers to their published material – the media. Selling ads in these publications is how the media makes money. And with the outspoken rhetoric that Mr. Trump presents, the media finds they can gain an audience with him through which they can sell more ads.

But more than a profit motive, many news institutions share liberal values that are not present in the Republican Party. The media is playing a Trump card against Republican candidates who want a principled, issue led debate. Instead, the debates have been turned into a long ‘he said’/’she said’ ‘free for all’ of one candidate abusing another at the direction of the media; the media is facilitating debates without the discipline of a real debate. The media is playing the candidates against themselves with the wild card of a candidate who could care less which Republican he insults. But in the end, the Trump card will prove to be a losing hand.

One thing the media is failing to understand, or at least they’re not reporting to the American people, is the fact that if you get less than 1/2 or 50% of the vote in any election, you did not win the election. Even if Mr. Trump gets the largest plurality of the vote, if it is less than a majority (50%+1), he did not win. The media, however, continues to herald his victories to draw in an audience, undermine the real perspective of the Republican candidates, and sell more ads.

Not one Republican Primary has a candidate for President who has won a majority of the vote in any state. Mr. Trump and Mr. Cruz have come close but neither of them have ‘won’ a primary election with 50% or more of the vote. Few states will award all the delegates in that state to the candidate who has the largest plurality. The majority of states award delegates to candidates on some proportional basis.

Attacking people who do not support him or who challenge him in the primaries means that Trump will get 1/3 of the primary delegates at the Republican convention while offending 2/3 of Republicans who will not support him. The kind of campaign that verbally attacks fellow candidates in the primaries to gain sensational headlines will prove to be a failure when the delegates at the convention will vote for the Presidential candidate for the general election.

Looking ahead at the general elections, 1/3 of American voters vote Republican and the same number vote Democrat. Roughly 1/3 of Republicans support Trump while 2/3 do not. Similarly, 2/3 of Democrats have a strong negative reaction to Mr. Trump. Do the math! 1/3 of 1/3 is 1/9 or ~11%. 2/3 of 1/3 is 2/9 or ~22%. The numbers show that Trump has 22% of the Democrats committed against him and 22% of the Republicans who do not support him. Mr. Trump already has 44% of all American voters who already do not support him long before the general election begins.

With the foul language that Mr. Trump has used to get ahead in the polls, he has gained ~1/3 of the GOP vote or ~11% of the American population. Far from winning elections, Trump is losing ground with more voters than any other candidate. Not only will the tactics of the Trump campaign fail to gain the approval of the majority of Republican delegates at GOP Convention in 2016, he would fail to get a majority of Americans to support him for President in the general election. While the media continues to play the ‘trump card’ the result of all his abuse proves that the ‘joker is wild.’

 

Where Did the Star of David Come From?

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

Star of David

Star of David

The geometry of the Star of David has two intersecting triangles, one pointing up and the other pointing down. Many have commented on the two triangles as the trinity of God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and the trinity of man (body, soul, and spirit) intersecting into one fellowship. This is a religious allegorical speculation and although it does nothing to tell us where the symbol originated, it is a nice picture of the relationship we can have with God. However, the origin of this symbol is not known. From one speculation to the next, we can put the pieces of the puzzle together to see just how this symbol came to be the national symbol of Israel.

From the Hebrew Bible we find the garments used by the High Priest in his service to God in the tabernacle and the temple. Among the many items that the High Priest wore was the breastplate that had 12 precious stones representing the 12 male children or tribes of Israel. Connected with the High Priest’s breastplate is the Urim and Thummim. Translated as Light (Urim) and Perfection (Thummim), this was a means by which the High Priest could communicate with God and get answers to questions long before the age of the Prophets.

Jewish tradition tells us that the High Priest would take a scroll with a question on it and put it behind the breastplate. The High Priest would then stand in front of the candelabra in the Holy place of the tabernacle/temple and pray. As he prayed to God about some matter pertaining to the nation of Israel the light from the candelabra inside the tabernacle/temple would reflect off of the 12 stones of the breastplate and reflect to the walls inside to provide some answer. The actual use of the breastplate and the Urim/Thummim is not described in particular detail in the Bible so we do not know for certainty how this was done.

What we do know for certain is that David was both a King and a Priest and he may have attempted to communicate with God using the High Priest’s breastplate along with the Urim and Thummim. Praying to God, as was David’s habit, God may have answered David using the light from the candelabra onto one stone in particular.

David was born from the tribe of Judah, which is Jacob’s (Israel’s) 4th son. The 4th stone in the High Priest’s breastplate was an emerald. And it is from this emerald, reflecting the light of the candelabra, that David may have been given the sign of a star that became the national symbol of Israel – the Star of David.

The passage in the Hebrew Bible that tells us of the High Priest’s breastplate is in Exodus 28:15-30 (King James Version (KJV))

15 And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it.

16 Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof.

17 And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row.

18 And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond.

19 And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst.

20 And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings.

21 And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes.

The list of gem stones varies from translation to translation so it is not perfectly clear which stone was the symbol of which tribe. But it is entirely possible that the gemstone representing the tribe of David (Judah) was an emerald.

The properties of light shining through an emerald varies from stone to stone. Some stones have a star that appears when put to the light due to a process called asterism. From the gemologyproject.com online we have a description of asterism:

Asterism, like chatoyancy, is caused by reflection on inclusions. However, the inclusions are arranged in different directions causing several streaks of light on the surface of the en-cabochon [uncut natural] stone. In general, the inclusions which cause the stars are orientated parallel to the crystal faces. There can be 4-pointed, 6-pointed and 12-pointed stars.

… Emerald has been reported to show a 6-pointed star. … We describe stones that show asterism with the prefix Star as in Star-Emerald.

Star of David Emerald

Star-Emerald with a Star of David in the Light

There are other gemstones that may show asterism but it is clear that in rare cases, emeralds can produce a 6 pointed star when held up to the light. Is this the origin of the Star of David? No one can say definitively but there is enough information to begin putting the pieces of the puzzle together.

King David went through many trials throughout his life before and after becoming King of Israel. As a priest, he may have entered the tabernacle and prayed for God to answer some question, which may have led him to use the Urim and Thummim and the High Priest’s breastplate. It is possible that the light from the candelabra reflected off the stone representing the tribe of Judah giving him a sign of a 6 pointed star. This may be the origin of the Star of David – an answer from God to David’s prayer.

The Star of David has also been called the Shield of David, which refers to God as his shield. And as the allegory of the Star of David is an intersection of two triangles, one pointing down and the other pointing up, representing God and man in a common bond, this can also represent the God-Man Christ Jesus who was both God and Man in one. Jesus was a descendent of David and also born from the tribe of Judah.

The conclusions presented here are possible but speculative to be honest. While I cannot prove my conclusions what I can say is the Star of David may very well be an answer from God to David’s prayer and further, that answer is found in Jesus Christ – the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. What a blessed thought it is to think that the national symbol of Israel is an answer to prayer from God to David. My prayer is that they find their answers in Jesus, the Messiah, God’s gift to Israel and the world.

Pray this prayer to God:

God of heaven, I believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of David, who died on the Cross for me. I believe that he paid for the penalty of my sin, which I admit I have done. I ask for your forgiveness of my sin and thank you for your love. Please bring me closer to you so that I may know you. By your Holy Spirit, please make in me a clean heart, a renewed spirit, and a right mind that I may do those things that are pleasing to you. Thank you God, Father of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!

A Cuban Presidency of the United States

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

Two candidates for President of the United States are descendent of Cuban parents, who represent Christian Conservative values for the future of this country. Their candidacy has been as separate individuals in the Primaries but the combination of their campaigns in the general election would prove unbeatable. Not only would they represent the first Hispanic/Latino Presidency in the history of the U.S., they would be an unbeatable team in persuading Cuba and the U.S. to join as one.

Ted Cruz is the son of a Cuban immigrant. His father, Rafael Cruz, came to the United States in 1957 to study at the University of Texas at Austin before the Castro revolution. His student visa expired after the revolution put Castro in power in Cuba 4 years later at which time he was granted political asylum in the U.S. Rafael then moved to Canada, where Ted was born (his mother was a U.S. citizen), and then moved back to Texas bringing his family with him later.

Ted grew up in the Bible belt of Texas learning about the Christian faith and Conservative values. His father is an outspoken Christian Conservative, which is not lost on his son Ted. Ted Cruz carried his passion for Christian Conservative values to Princeton and then to Harvard where he earned his legal degree. His career in law and politics is second to none in the nation. Cruz became a U.S. Senator in 2012 where he has stood strong for the values that made American great.

Marco Rubio is the son of Cuban parents, Mario and Oriales Rubio. They came to the U.S. in 1956, one year before Rafael Cruz, and eventually settled in Miami where Marco grew up. His background included the teachings of the Catholic Church (Roman Catholic/Latino influence) that provided Marco with a strong conviction for Christian values.

Marco earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and a J.D. from the University Of Miami School Of Law. He has been an advocate of Christian Conservative values throughout his career holding many offices before becoming a U.S. Senator in 2010.

The 2016 Presidential campaign has been anything but normal. Given the complexion of the race, values have taken a back seat to ‘potty mouth’ rhetoric. The field of nearly a dozen candidates has been reduced to 4 candidates, 2 of which are Hispanic/Latinos. It’s time to consider just what a Latino ticket would look like for President and Vice-President during the general election in 2016.

A Cruz-Rubio or Rubio-Cruz ticket would be unbeatable in the general election against the presumptive Democrat candidate for President, Hillary Clinton. She would represent herself as the first woman elected President whereas Cruz and Rubio would represent the first Latino Presidency in America. The campaign would have to focus on the issues that Americans face along with the values we hold. And the differences between left and right would be crystal clear in a contest between the ‘firsts.’

And just suppose we have the first Hispanic Presidency in the history of the U.S. Both Cruz and Rubio are descendants of Cuban immigrants before the time of Castro. Their term in office could result in the reconciliation of Cuba with the U.S. in new and vibrant ways.

Cuba became an independent republic after the Spanish-American War in 1902. For 100+ years their country has been riddled with political coups of one kind or another. The Castro brothers have ruled Cuba for more than 50 years, most of which was supported by the Communist dictatorship of the USSR. Political and religious freedoms have recently been granted to the Cuban people to some degree. Yet they remain in economic depression due to the history of their governments. It may be time for Cuba to consider joining the 50 states of the United States as the 51st state of the Union.

Given the political climate in America, no two people could encourage the people of the U.S. and Cuba better to become a territory/state of the U.S. more than Cruz and Rubio. As President/Vice-President, they could turn the page of history for the people of Cuba who reside in both the U.S. and Cuba. The full repatriation of Cubans to their home country would then turn to become a new chapter in U.S. history where they would again become patriots of this country.

The election of the next President of the United States is a look into the future of our country and the world around us. Hispanic/Latinos born of Cuban descent represent more than the solid values that made this country great. They represent a future for America that combines the wealth of people, not just material wealth, that will enhance the culture of us all.