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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                       Aug. 16, 1996 V4, #151
All the News the Big Guys Missed

News for Holocaust Survivors with Deposits in Swiss Banks

Jewish Agency Chairman Avraham Burg reached an agreement with representatives of the Swiss banks about the repatriation of deposits left in the banks during World War II. It was agreed to set up a timetable for the return of the funds and the establishment of a center to aid the committee in determining the amounts due to the account holders.

Hizbullah has acquired long-range missiles

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Amnon Shahak said Israel has information indicating that Hizbullah has acquired missiles with a 25-mile range. Shahak said such missiles are capable of reaching the coastal city of Acre and the southern Galilee city of Carmiel.

Officials in the IDF Northern Command said Hizbullah would not dare to use its long-range missiles for fear of the expected IDF response. The sources expect an escalation of tensions in southern Lebanon even if no Katyusha rockets are fired toward Israel. The officers said Hizbullah has been concentrating less on guerrilla warfare lately and more on planning comprehensive military activity.

Does a Conflict Exist Between Life on Mars and Genesis

By Valerie Gartseff (VOA-Washington)

Scientists' recent report of finding signs that life may have existed on Mars has been described as a stunning first step towards discovering whether or not we are alone in the universe. But these new scientific findings are challenging traditional views of religion, including the biblical account of creation.

Excitement erupted earlier this month when NASA invited scientists to scrutinize results from a two-year study of a Martian meteorite discovered in Antarctica in 1984. NASA researchers cited evidence of fossils from micro-organisms in the rock they believe may have come from life on Mars about 3.6 billion years ago.

So what if life was discovered on Mars? Would the idea of extraterrestrials threaten belief in the biblical creation story that God created the world in six days?

Actually, most theologians say this discovery won't threaten traditional Jewish and Christian theism -- that all life is created by God.

For the Rev. Barbara Smith-Moran, an astronomer and Episcopal priest, the idea of extraterrestrial life forms poses no theological problem.

"Speaking theologically, I am a liberal, and this would not surprise me at all; it would excite me tremendously, and also as a scientist I have been waiting for such a discovery for a long time, feeling very certain that life does exist elsewhere."

But theological conservatives who take the Bible literally may have some trouble with the notion of life on other planets. The organic material found on the Martian meteorite suggests the presence of simple bacteria, and poses a tough question. Dr. Nancy Murphy, associate professor of philosophy at Fuller Theological Seminary, says the issue for creationists -- whether Christian, Jewish or Islamic -- is not whether life in the form of bacteria may have been found on Mars. It's what happened to it later.

"To put it simply, Genesis doesn't say anything about 'and then God created bacteria on Mars,' and they can, of course, get around that by saying that 'Creation accounts aren't complete -- even in terms of the life we know about on Earth.' But still, it adds one more bit of evidence that favors an evolutionary form of the development of life, and creates one more anomaly for a literal reading of the Genesis stories."

Of course, for most biblical creationists, who interpret the Bible literally, evolution is out of the question. God created everything at once. They hold the Genesis creation story to mean Earth was created in six days, making it only about 6,000 years old.

But surprisingly, even creationists don't rule out the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Earth may not be all God created, they say, and so older life forms elsewhere could also exist. Dr. Dwayne Gish is vice president of the San Diego-based Institute for Creation Research.

"Wherever life exists in the universe, it had to be created. They don't have anything there that we don't have here. And I know that based upon the facts of science, the facts of chemistry and physics and thermodynamics, the laws of probability, a naturalist origin of life is simply impossible, I don't care how much time we have."

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