A Wisdom Retreat - April 7

Apr 07, 2021

Dry Bones

Ecclesiastes 12:13
The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, for this applies to every person.

In his book Bones of Contention [the leading creationist work in fossil study], Professor Marvin Lubenow tells the story of Sir Arthur Keith, one of the greatest anatomists of the twentieth century.

Arthur Keith [1866-1955] was a Scottish anatomist and anthropologist who became a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. In 1908 Keith heard that bones had been found just forty miles from downtown London. After inspecting the bones himself, he considered them a monumental discovery. It was soon announced by the Geological Society of London that these were the remains of the earliest known Englishman, Eoanthropus dawsoni—otherwise known as the "Piltdown Man."

The bones quickly became the darling of the scientific culture and the personal obsession of Sir Arthur Keith. To him they were the validation of his evolutionary beliefs.

Over the course of his lifetime, Keith would write more on the subject of the Piltdown Man than anyone else. His most famous work, The Antiquity of Man, used the bones of the Piltdown Man to explain our human origins.

In 1953, however, science caught up with speculation, and the British Museum proclaimed the entire discovery a fraud. Their investigation undeniably shattered the myth of the bones as a missing link to prehistoric man.

The Piltdown Man was actually nothing more than the tampered-with remains from a human corpse. The bones had been treated with iron salts to make them appear old. Careful observations through microscopic lenses revealed scratch marks on the surface of the teeth—evidence that the teeth had been filed down to make them appear sharp.

Sir Arthur Keith was eighty-six years old when the fraud was discovered.

Some of his colleagues visited him at his home to break the difficult news to him. The bones which had captivated his entire adult life [his believing they were evidence that discounted creation] had themselves been discovered to be a hoax.

His life's work—the foundation upon which he had based his speculation—was now meaningless. And he found out at the end of his life!

One man in Scripture who experienced something similar was King Solomon. As an old man, he looked back over his accomplishments and achievements. All his wealth, chariots, horses, gardens, buildings, and wives were now meaningless. He realized the only thing that really mattered in life was to fear God and keep His commandments. Nothing else would bring purpose and satisfaction to life.

As a young man, Arthur Keith attended evangelistic meetings in Edinburgh and Aberdeen and watched students make their commitment to Jesus Christ. He even claimed that during a few of those meetings he felt "on the verge of conversion." Instead, he chose to reject the Gospel because he thought it contradicted the truths of science.

The tragedy of Sir Arthur Keith and Solomon is that they are not alone. Men and women all over the world live their lives every day for what they think will bring them pleasure.

No matter where you are today—rich or poor, single or married, old or young—learn from the lives of two men who failed to live for what mattered.

Follow the advice of an aged Solomon who learned late in life: obey God's Word and live a life that respects and trusts His leadership.

This kind of lifestyle will never be meaningless. In fact, it is the only life that produces satisfaction . . . both now and forever.

Prayer Point: Give this day to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to guide all your steps—even the ones that seem insignificant—so that in the end, you won't have to look over your shoulder with regret.

Extra Refreshment: Ecclesiastes 12.

Wisdom for the Heart online

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