There’s Intelligent Life Alright!

There’s Intelligent Life Alright!

JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Curiosity, NASA’s miraculous Mars rover, has already revealed a remarkable discovery.
From the October 2012 Trumpet Print Edition

Nasa landed a nuclear-powered robot car with a rock-zapping laser on the surface of another planet using a sky crane. It sounds like science fiction. It’s actually science history—the rover touched down on August 5.

There is intelligent life after all—it’s back here on Earth. And the mission to send Curiosity, the six-wheeled Mars Science Laboratory, to the Red Planet is one of its greatest technical achievements.

Precision Operation

Curiosity traveled 354 million miles, the equivalent of driving around the Earth’s equator more than 14,000 times. As it neared Mars, it was traveling at 13,000 miles an hour—fast enough to fly from London to New York in just over 15 minutes. Entering the Martian atmosphere, its heat shield was blasted with temperatures higher than 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit.

To land safely, Curiosity had to decelerate from 13,000 miles an hour to a standstill in seven minutes—without damaging its robotic arm, laser, spectrometer, cameras, radiation detectors or other equipment. Radio signals from Curiosity take 14 minutes to reach Earth, so the landing had to be completely automated. Scientists wouldn’t even know that Curiosity had hit the atmosphere until seven minutes after it had already touched down—or crashed.

The atmosphere slowed the rover down to “only” 1,000 miles per hour. Then the craft deployed its “super-chute.” Still traveling faster than the speed of sound, the 50-foot-wide chute deployed, slowing the streaking craft down to 200 miles per hour. Explosive bolts released the chute, then eight rockets blasted to life. The craft dodged the newly released parachute, and the descent slowed further.

But the rover couldn’t land using the rockets: The dust cloud would have damaged its instruments. Instead, a sky crane held aloft by rockets floated above the ground and lowered Curiosity down by tethers onto the Martian surface.

Then nasa really showed off. The whole mission was perfectly timed so that the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which reached the planet six years ago, was overhead to take a photo. The orbiter’s controllers had to upload their final commands 72 hours before the picture was taken. If the orbiter took its picture one second too late, it would have completely missed the rover and simply photographed the lonely Martian desert. But it didn’t.

Wil Wheaton, who narrated a video of the rover’s landing, wrote: “Gene Roddenberry always talked about how amazing humans were, because we could do amazing things when we worked together. He was right.”

Yes, he was. Human beings are incredible. Our remote-control rover is leaving tracks on Mars right now.

Mission Impossible?

The Mars mission brings to mind both the dramatic strengths and the tragic weaknesses of our human minds.

Consider the paradox here: The human mind can surmount thousands of technical problems and land a perfectly functioning, high-tech, remotely controlled robot on another planet.

Why, then, cannot humanity’s best minds solve poverty? And end war? Surely getting along with one another can’t be much more complicated than vaporizing Martian rocks with lasers?

Actually it is.

Man “is limited in knowledge to that which may be transmitted into the brain through the physical senses of sight, hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling,” Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in his magazine, the Plain Truth, predecessor of the Trumpet. “Man’s most serious problems are spiritual in nature. But man is naturally confined to thinking solely in terms of the physical and material. He cannot grasp or comprehend spiritual problems or spiritual knowledge.”

That’s why human beings can solve some of the most complicated technical problems out there, but cannot bring peace to our own homes.

On a physical level, man has “a God-type mind,” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has said. It’s a “mind power that ought to just stagger us in wonder and awe.”

The accomplishment of nasa’s Mars rover team is staggering. It is one spectacular example of incredible God-type minds at work!

Mr. Armstrong wrote that the “human mind’s capacity for material accomplishment seems unlimited.” As God looked down on mankind working together at the tower of Babel in antiquity, He said, “nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.” God agrees with Gene Roddenberry: Humans can do amazing things when they work together.

But God had to stop mankind at Babel. He effectively jammed their communications and decentralized them. Why? Because when man uses his brilliant human mind and his five senses, he only brings himself closer to destroying others and himself. Without the vital spiritual dimension of knowledge, man can still build towers and rockets—but he cannot bring peace.He cannot stop crime, hatred, perversion or hopelessness. He hasn’t even really gotten a handle on famine, epidemics or poverty.

With that spiritual dimension missing, mankind’s amazing physical accomplishments have just meant more wars with increasingly destructive weapons.

Missing Spiritual Component

In 2004, nasa landed the Spirit rover on Mars. The scientists had reached the Red Planet with a piece of machinery, but, as Mr. Flurry wrote at the time, “[C]an scientists and engineers transform that wasteland into a Garden of Eden?” As stunning as our technical achievements have been, enlivening a dead planet is still quite beyond our scope. And even if we did have the ability to eventually develop that technical capacity, we are already close to wiping ourselves off our own planet. We wouldn’t survive ourselves long enough to beautify another!

The physical part of our God-type minds can do incredible things. But the spiritual part is much different. The part responsible for living in harmony, building character, working together and making the world a beautiful place—that spiritual component is dreadfully askew.

On Earth, man’s warped spiritual mind brings death and destruction—not life—to his surroundings. The same would be true on Mars.

Before we could ever think of succeeding at populating another planet, we would first need to change human nature.

The wonderful news is that human nature will change!

A Universal Future

God promises that He will give mankind that missing spiritual component, and soon! First, man will need to learn just how deficient, how incomplete, his mind is without the spiritual dimension from God. Then God will make it so that “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”

When mankind is willing to listen, God will show the world the way to peace. He will give it the spiritual answers to its problems and the will to provide the crucial component that is so conspicuously absent from intelligent life here on Earth: His Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:11-14).

When mankind finally receives this missing spiritual component, just think of what we will be able to accomplish! What will we achieve when this entire world is working together, using all of humanity’s God-type minds in harmony? Not only will it be a utopia of happiness and joy, but we will also accomplish feats that will make the Mars rover seem like a toy.

“Mankind is destined to remove that decay from Mars and the entire universe!” Mr. Flurry wrote. “It’s hard to even imagine what a direct and strong connection mankind has to the universe. We will make the universe look like the Garden of Eden! That is man’s destiny—and you can prove it from the Bible” (Trumpet, February 2004).

Man already has a God-type mind on the physical level. God plans on adding to that, giving man a God-type mind on the spiritual level, as well. He wants to create His perfect mind in mankind! In fact, the Bible states that God is creating His character in mankind so that He can ultimately transform men into members of the God Family! Then the God Family will revolutionize the universe.

That is why man has a God-type mind, on the physical level, today. That is why man can create amazing things like the Mars rover. And that is why these amazing accomplishments arenothing compared to the real potential of mankind’s incredible mind.

What’s Mohammed Morsi Doing in China?

From the October 2012 Trumpet Print Edition

On August 28, Mohammed Morsi landed in Beijing and was warmly welcomed by Chinese President Hu Jintao. For two days, the president and his 80-person entourage of Egyptian business leaders and politicians discussed billions of dollars in investment projects and deals with some 200 Chinese counterparts.

This was Morsi’s first state visit outside the Middle East and Africa since he became president. It was no routine state visit. China is the nation world leaders visit when they want to oppose and undermine America.

China’s foreign policy right now is substantially aimed at undermining U.S. power. You can see it in china’s ongoing naval and military expansions; its regional territorial acquisitions; its maneuvering inside international organizations like the World Trade organization; even its outright support of anti-American states like Venezuela and North Korea. More than any other reason, this is why China remains an ally of Iran.

The fact that Morsi chose to visit china indicates that Egypt may be looking to join this Iran-china axis.

On August 24, David Schenker and Christina Lin wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Timesin which they warned that “if Morsi gets his way, improved bilateral ties to Beijing will embolden, if not enable, Cairo to downgrade Egypt’s ties to Washington.”

For more than 30 years, Egypt has relied chiefly on America for financial, political and military support. It has received tens of billions of dollars in food, merchandise and military hardware. This has given America great leverage: To receive this aid, Cairo has basically had to endorse, even if unwillingly, U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa. As long as Washington held the purse strings, Cairo could not practically engage in any actions overtly hostile to U.S. foreign policy.

That will change if Morsi can decouple Egypt from Washington, and Egypt develops a significant partnership with China.

Morsi cultivating a friendship with china may also indicate that he is planning some radical changes to Egypt’s foreign policy such as severing or rewriting Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel; forming some sort of political or trade agreement with Iran; perhaps exploiting the Suez canal as leverage against the U.S. or Europe. These moves would be controversial and un-popular, and could provoke some heated responses from the international community. But with china’s support, Egypt is far likelier to withstand the inevitable backlash.

From China’s perspective, Morsi’s outstretched hand is a no-brainer. Egypt is the largest Arab country in the Middle East. It owns massive stockpiles of American military hardware. And Cairo isn’t one to harp on respect for human rights, currency manipulation or trade equality.

Beyond all that, a partnership with Egypt comes with enormous benefits for china’s maritime ambitions. Egypt controls the Suez Canal, one of the world’s most important sea lanes. For China, or any global power,developing a healthy relationship with the government that controls the Suez is a strategic necessity. That appears to be something that the United States has lost.

Hurricane Isaac’s Trail of Destruction

Seven years to the day that Hurricane Katrina made its second landfall, tearing levees and flooding 80 percent of New Orleans on August 29, 2005, Hurricane Isaac made its second landfall on Wednesday, drenching the city.

Isaac brought flooding rains and devastating 80 mile-per-hour winds. Plaquemines Parish was hardest hit, prompting authorities to intentionally breach a levee to relieve pressure from flood waters. Billy Nungesser, president of the parish, told reporters the city had “never seen anything like this, not even Katrina.”

Near the town of Braithwaite, dozens of homes are surrounded by murky water. Trees were submerged to their upper branches. Part of Interstate 10 is also underwater. A local cemetery has had trees uprooted and caskets unearthed by the flood.

In the city of LaPlace, crews have been evacuating residents and working to save livestock. Many residents have said they lost all their property except for what they could carry with them.

Read our articles “A Jewel in America’s Crown—Lost” and “Hurricane Katrina: A Nationwide Catastrophe.” Also watch our recent video from Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry, “Is Hurricane Isaac a Warning From God?

Putting the Solomonic Era ‘On the Map’

Putting the Solomonic Era ‘On the Map’

Ryan Friesen

Student volunteers from Herbert W. Armstrong College begin work on the second phase of Eilat Mazar’s Ophel Excavation.

Seventeen Herbert W. Armstrong College students and Trumpet staff members recently joined my family in Jerusalem to volunteer on an archaeological excavation at the Ophel, under the direction of Dr. Eilat Mazar. The excavation, located at the foot of the southern wall of the Temple Mount, is the site of a monumental royal complex that has been dated to the time of King Solomon.

Dr. Benjamin Mazar, Eilat’s grandfather, pioneered the excavations at this location beginning in 1968. For 10 years thereafter, our predecessor Herbert W. Armstrong supplied financial support and Ambassador College student volunteers to help with Benjamin Mazar’s excavations.

Following history backwards, Professor Mazar and his crew dug every summer for 10 years before they reached a wall dating to the first temple period. The ruins were so well preserved that some parts of the wall stood 5 to 6 meters high.

Picking up where her grandfather left off, Eilat Mazar began a small excavation in 1986 that concentrated primarily on the first temple area of the dig. Her excavation fully revealed a large stone gateway complex, 45 by 54 feet, constructed sometime before the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem in the sixth century b.c. Also attached to the gate was a short section of the city wall of Jerusalem, built by Solomon.

Announcing the news at a press conference in 1986, Mazar said the gateway complex was probably one of 12 gates mentioned in the biblical record. The Associated Press quoted Benjamin Mazar, who attended the briefing with his granddaughter: “Now we have more or less the feeling that this is really a gate of Jerusalem from the period of the kings of Judah” (April 21, 1986).

In 2009, Eilat Mazar reopened the Ophel Excavation and Armstrong College quickly agreed to send student volunteers. During that season, more fascinating details emerged about the first temple period. Inside the royal structure, Mazar discovered two floors, one layered on top of the other. Using pottery and other finds, she was able to determine the upper surface was a renovated floor that had been installed during the eighth century. The bottom floor and the walls of the structure had been constructed during the tenth century b.c.

“Solomonic time,” Dr. Mazar was quoted as saying, “is very much on the map now.”

Standing next to Solomon’s wall, you can’t help but think about the massive size of the ancient Israelite kingdom that constructed these edifices. Biblical minimalists like to relegate David and Solomon to puny chieftains of an obscure tribe, but these are obviously not the buildings of wandering nomads.

This wall and other archeological finds from the first temple period provide tangible evidence of an impressive and sophisticated kingdom, just as the Bible describes.

Early on in David’s reign as king, somewhere around the late 11th century b.c., David captured the city of Jerusalem and established it as the nation’s capital (2 Samuel 5:1-9). After this, David “went on, and grew great, and the Lord God of hosts was with him” (verse 10).

When David died, the throne of Israel was passed to his son Solomon. Under Solomon, the kingdom of Israel emerged as the most dominant kingdom in the region. We are given a glimpse of Israel under King Solomon in 1 Kings 4. Notice verse 20: “Judah and Israel were many, like the sand which is by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking, and making merry.”

The Bible says Solomon’s reach extended all the way to the Euphrates in the northeast, to the Mediterranean Sea in the west and to the border of Egypt in the south (verse 21). Israel in the 10th century was a far-reaching, fabulously wealthy kingdom.

The Bible also says that Solomon was world-famous, known throughout the inhabited world—not for his power and wealth alone, but for his God-given wisdom and understanding (verse 30).

Here again, this was not some petty king or a simpleton ruling over an obscure tribe. He was a powerful, wealthy, world-famous king ruling over a large, affluent and stable kingdom. And the stones Dr. Mazar is uncovering at the Ophel and City of David excavations are beginning to confirm what the Bible recorded thousands of years ago.

Like David, Solomon expanded, fortified and beautified Jerusalem. He spent 13 years constructing his own magnificent palace in Jerusalem. In addition to his palace, he built the outstanding “house of the forest of Lebanon,” a facility laden with gold, silver and other precious materials. In addition to these two gigantic structures, we read in 1 Kings 9:15 that Solomon fortified the city by strengthening the Millo, and building a wall around Jerusalem.

“The city wall that has been uncovered testifies to a ruling presence,” Dr. Mazar told theTrumpet.com last year. She went on to explain that we now have scientific evidence of a fortification line that is described in the Bible.

“People believe, in their ways, that which is written in the Bible,” Mazar said after the first phase of the Ophel Excavation was completed. “But they have no idea that sometimes, lots of it, can really be seen. And can be touched.”

The second phase of the Ophel Excavation started this week and continues from where the last season left off. It will encompass an area that is approximately twice as large as the first phase.

Given this expansion, Dr. Mazar is very happy to have much better facilities on site this time around—including spacious offices inside a Byzantine monastery and a wet sifting station adjacent to the excavation.

This season, Dr. Mazar has also granted our television crew unprecedented access to her excavation as it unfolds. Every week, Armstrong College students, alumni and faculty will be producing a video update about the excavation and posting it on the new website “The Key to David’s City.”

All of these upgrades will dramatically improve the turnaround time for processing and publicizing her finds. And how significant will these findings be?

“We are in the very core of the Ophel—the most important part,” Dr. Mazar said during a staff meeting on August 12. The potential, she said, is fantastic—and we should expect to find royal construction.

Deal or No Deal?—Russia Suspends Naval Base in Syria

Deal or No Deal?—Russia Suspends Naval Base in Syria

AFP/Getty Images

Russia has suspended the use of its only warm-water naval base in Tartus, on the Syrian coast. Moscow has maintained that it will continue to support Syrian President Bashar Assad on a political level, but the naval withdrawal has sent a clear message that Russia will not go so far as to support the regime with military force.

“Our naval base in Tartus will not support a military option. We cannot physically act militarily against countries supporting the Syrian opposition,” a Russian Defense Ministry source told the Russian daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta.

The message comes at a bad time for President Assad’s Alawite regime, when the West has begun to actively support the opposition.

Russia has gone to lengths to shore up its relationships with Syria and Iran over the last few years, but with the recent suspension of the Tartus naval base, Russia may be making a clear change in foreign policy. Earlier this month in an interview with Courcy’s Intelligence Report, former Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeniy Primakov confirmed that Russia would continue to support Syria and President Assad. But he also indicated that such support might have its limits, calling the current stance “not necessarily a winning position.” Assad’s situation has since deteriorated further.

It appears that a deal over the future of Syria is in the process of being cut between Russia and the West.

German-Foreign-Policy.com released a report on Wednesday stating that Germany has constructed a plan of action concerning the situation in Syria. The plan includes a concept for a new ruling order to replace Assad.

Germany’s intervention in the Syrian situation is interesting. It clashes with its overt hands-off approach toward other Arab Spring uprisings in Libya and Egypt. Why the sudden change?

In his Trumpet column on April 19, Brad Macdonald stated, “One of Germany’s primary aims in the Middle East is to develop an axis with Middle Eastern states that opposes Iran.” That is the reason for Germany building its relationships with nations like Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Syria is perhaps Iran’s greatest ally, but the Syrian civil war has a chance to change that. Along with other Western nations, Germany is stepping up its influence over Syria to gain another fulcrum against Iran. This is why Germany has made a stronger move in Syria—and why Russia appears to be reacting.

The Bible predicts that Syria will eventually leave its alliance with Iran—and form a confederacy with other anti-Iranian nations, including Germany. This forecast was made thousands of years ago in an extraordinary prophecy found in Psalm 83.

For the time being, Russia seems content to step back—but don’t let that fool you. Read editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s article “Russia’s Attack Signals Dangerous New Era,” which reveals why Russia may be abandoning Syria.

Drought Hammers U.S. Food Production

The United States is experiencing its worst drought since 1956, with 55 percent of the country being affected by the lack of rain. Not only are corn and soybean yields down, but the crops that are harvested are suffering from poor quality.

Meanwhile, as poor grain production has caused feed prices to climb, ranchers are being forced to cull their herds. The breeding stock of beef cattle in the U.S. has now been reduced to fewer than 98 million, the lowest number in four decades.

In a bid to help farmers by raising the price of meat, the federal government has ordered the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Defense to spend millions purchasing beef, pork, chicken and even catfish. The side effect, however, is that the rest of the nation will also experience an increase in food prices.

Ironically, due to government subsidies, many farms will make more money plowing their crops under than they would have in a normal harvest. Since government farm insurance pays damages at the going rate, many farmers will reap large payoffs by filing claims for lost crops. Many of those who will benefit the most are large agribusinesses. In fact, the agricultural lobby has convinced the current administration to increase farm insurance subsidies.

Unfortunately, the taxpayer is left with the bill at a time when America’s economy is already withered.

While big agriculture businesses may gain from the ongoing drought, the average American—and much of the rest of the world—will only experience higher prices at the grocery store.