11.30.2005

"Minions of the Devil"

"You're nothing but a minion of the devil!" Strange words, coming from a biology professor at a 'Christian' college.

A few days ago I received a mailing from Dordt College. The leaflet's message was very positive and apparently conservative; every page mentioned God in one way or another. Their point? Taken from their website, http://www.dordt.edu/, "Ours is a community where faith and life and learning are not separate ... they're one." Since many Christian schools teach evolutionism and liberal ideology, I decided to see whether Dordt had a strong stance on the authority of Scripture. I left a message with one of their professors. Yesterday, the professor called back. He introduced himself as the top biology teacher at Dordt (I didn't get his name). I asked what the school taught about origins. He asked me to explain, so I asked specifically what the school's position was on the origin of life. "We teach that God created everything but we don't assume when or how," he replied. I wanted more details so I asked whether they taught the earth was thousands or billions of years old. After explaining that he was not a geology professor, he assured me that "of course, the earth is much more than thousands!" I did not agree, but kept it to myself. He began asking me questions about my beliefs about origins. As the conversation went on, it soon became apparent that the college teaches what sadly is prevalent in the mainstream Christian world today: 'God did it, but instead of looking to His Word for answers we will teach whatever the secular scientific consortium tells us.' I politely but firmly defended a Biblical interpretation of Genesis as he continued to question me. The professor avowed his support of the 'framework theory', which apparently ignores Genesis 1 and loosely interprets Genesis 2. He said that "if you just read Genesis 2, you would have a much different story than if you have the bias given by Genesis 1," implying, of course, that any "bias" is negative. I pointed out that if I only had the first chapter of my science textbook, I would have a very different idea of physics than if I read the whole book. He indicated that he had left a six-day interpretation of Genesis because of scientific 'evidence'. I replied that as "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God," it is and should be its own best interpretation guide. He countered by exclaiming that I was "making an idol" of the Bible. Not my interpretation of the Bible, but the Bible itself. I was somewhat taken aback. After all, isn't that what we are supposed to do? I quoted John 1: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Also, Psalm 138:2: "For You have magnified Your Word above all Your name." I said that making an idol of Scripture sounded like a good idea to me, as it is the living Word of God! He replied that I was "just making an idol of the Bible," and went on. He quoted almost every evolutionist stock answer in the book: from "it doesn't matter how God did it as long as we get the right message" to "the Bible isn't a science textbook." He finally asked me how old I thought the earth was, and laughed when I gave an age of 6-7 thousand years, due to the genealogies and a plain reading of Genesis 1-11. He then attacked the validity of Scripture by saying that the genealogies are full of errors. He called my position "historically bankrupt," declaring that hardly anyone in history supported six days of creation. I politely contradicted him, pointing out that Sir Isaac Newton, Galileo, and Jesus all believed in a young earth; after all, Jesus said "at the beginning of creation He made them male and female." I had told him earlier that I planned to go into a legal field, so he asked why the creation-evolution issue was important to me. I explained that the foundations of morality and sin lie in Genesis, and that unless it can be trusted there is no rhyme or reason to anything I might do in law. "Besides," I said, "my entire faith hinges on the fact that there was no death before sin." I quoted Romans when it says that "through one man, Adam, sin entered the world, and death through sin." He hastily asserted that "obviously, he is speaking of spiritual death and separation from God!" But, I told him, Paul had just said that if Christ did not conquer the same death that "entered by Adam's sin" by physically raising from the dead, our faith is in vain and we are of all men "most miserable." So unless I believe that there was no death, physical or otherwise, before sin, I cannot believe I am heaven-bound. Rather than considering God's Word for what it says, the biologist again struck at Scripture by asking whether I believed Adam and the animals ate before the Fall. I knew what was coming, and sure enough he played what he thought was his trump card against God's Word: plants died before the Fall so it proves death before sin (and, therefore, apparently proves Paul wrong). I pointed out the concept of nephesh chayil life; that just as "the life of the flesh is in the blood" and that God "breathes the breath of life into life," that as plants have neither blood nor breath, it follows that plants are not alive in a biblical sense and cannot really die. He cut me off and quickly told me that the entire biological system is built around the 'fact' that plants are alive and can die. Which is patently false: as Dr. Lisle of Answers In Genesis pointed out when speaking with progressive creationist Hugh Ross, plants are really nothing more than complex biological machines. But rather than argue from a scientific basis I just said that "God apparently does not rely on scientific models to determine truth." By this time the professor was getting rather agitated. He told me my life was a waste and that my view was "junk science and junk theology." "If you know so much about it, I suppose you don't need to come to college." "The only point of Genesis," he said, "is to show that we are depraved and need a Savior, and that we should respect God's creation. When you stand before God, if you get there, He will ask you what you did with His creation and all you will be able to say is that you argued over a six-day creation viewpoint. You won't have anything to say!" I refrained from replying that I believe upholding the authority of God's Word and making sure it is believed from cover to cover bears eternal fruit. He declared that debate on origins was a lie from the devil, and that for talking about origins I was "just one of the devil's minions." Then he calmed down and informed me that he had just been "professing", and that as a 'professor' that is what he teaches at the college. This really sold Dordt well. After all, if upholding God's Word and being ready to give an answer is "the work of the devil" according to the teachings of this college, I will definitely not be applying there. What struck me about this conversation was that he had the boldness to say that upholding the authority of Scripture is equivalent to the work of the devil. This puts me in mind of Isaiah 5:20, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness." The reason that we defend a plain-sense interpretation of Scripture is this; Christ told us to preach the Good News of His redemption: that all men are depraved and in need of a Savior, and that He is that Savior. In order to do this, we must tell why we are depraved, that God created the world perfect but man fell into sin and so brought death and suffering into the world. If we do not teach the first part of God's Word, telling everyone why mankind needs a Savior, they will have no reason to believe us when we tell them Who that Savior is. As Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:12, "If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?"

In Him,

David S. MacMillan III

12 comments:

Travis said...

GO DAVID!

Your post has encouraged me beyond belief this morning. Keep up the good fight of faith.

1 Tim 4:12 Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but {rather} in speech, conduct, love, faith {and} purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.

The Blogging Boy Scout,
Travis

David Ketter said...

Keep it up, D3!

I know exactly what this is like. I went to an overnighter for a "Christian" college in my area called Waynesburg College. I had the opportunity to sit in on two classes - Intro to New Testament (very good) and the Intro to Philosophy (not so good).

The class has, apparently, been watching a biographical movie about Charles Darwin (dramatic portrayal, actually) and, during that time, he has also been explaining "evidence" for evolution.

Near the end of the class he asked for questions. Well, I had one. ;) He had pointed out the 98% similarity between the DNA of a chimpanzee and a human. He also said this indicated a recent relationship between the species. I asked him how he would account for the similarity between the DNA of a banana and a human (50%). He had nothing to say since he had never heard such a thing...

In defense of the college, they were known as liberal for a long time...but are only now getting back to conservative Christianity. Tenure is the main problem. :(

Kirk said...

Now I really do believe in the Genesis account of a literal six day creation, but I just wanted to point out that the universe does have the appearance of great age. Perhaps God created it with this appearance as when Jesus turned the water into wine (the wine had to be fermented - old) or perhaps not, I don't know ('cause of course I wasn't there).

Lindsey said...

Way to go D3!!!!!!!!!!!! :D

Alex King said...

Incredible job D3!!!

BTW - Kirk - enough water can make things look old very fast, such as the Grand Canyon.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me, that if your not interested in learning anything more than what the Bible says literally, you could save yourself alot of money and not waste it on college tuition, rather just stay at home the bible. But either way I am curious what your opinion on the Bible's references to Pi?

Certain parts of the Bible imply that Pi is three. For example where it makes reference to a circle of 18 people with a radius of 6 people. What's your input on this?

David S. MacMillan III said...

Thanks for all the comments, guys! This makes my day!

Kirsten:

Exactly what physical property or observation are you referring to when you speak about "the appearance of great age"?

No observation alone can determine age. If I observe a woman adding accessories (steering wheel cover, seat liner, etc.) to her Mazda Miata at a rate of approximately 50 grams per minute, and I estimate the total mass of the car to be approx. 1.3 million grams, this tells me nothing. However, if I assume that the car was assembled by the same process I see now, I can calculate that the car began to be assembled about 18 days ago.

Likewise, if we see the universe expanding at a set rate, and we assume that this rate has remained constant and that the universe originated at a single point, we can calculate the age of the universe at 13.5 billion years old. But in each of these cases it is the pre-existing assumptions that determine our conclusion, not the data itself.

Anonymous:

I am not aware of that verse; if you could give me the reference I would appreciate it.

However, if I have a circle of 18 people, it is a safe bet that it is not going to be an exact circle. At all. Have you ever tried to arrange that many people in an circle? It looks like a convoluted oval/peanut shape.

This and other variables, such as the fact that no 24 people will have exactly the same wingspan, should make it obvious. A circle of 18 people probably will be spanned by about 6 people, and no one is going to report "6 people and Joe had to stretch 1.06 times his normal length."

If a book said "Behold, the edges of the circles I have created shall be traversed by a tripling of the broadspan of the circle," I might have a problem with it. But someone reporting that 6 people of differing wingspans form the diameter of a circle made of 18 . . . give me a break!

Another case is where independent contractors reported a huge bowl as being 30 cubits around and 10 cubits across (1 Kings 7:23). But of course the cubit is not a precision instrument, and noting the precision to which the values are reported it is safe to say that some kind of rounding occurred. See a full explanation by Answers In Genesis.

Anonymous said...

okay, I was just curious how literally you intrepret the Bible.

Alexander Blair said...

Or maybe God rounded to 1 significant digit. :D

Alexander Blair said...

BTW, awesome post, David! :) Keep up the good work! :)

David S. MacMillan III said...

Thanks SecDef.

Yeah, I do not take the Bible 100% literally. That would require me to believe that there is no God, for Psalms says "the fool has said in his heart: 'There is no God' ". Instead, I take the Bible in the context that the author intended it. Usually that does not require extreme intellect. God says "The evening and the morning: one day" in a non-poetic text. I might assume that he means 1 day, not one giaganturum time-period with a 10-million year evening and a 10-million year morning. See?

Anonymous said...

who are you? (to know when God is being poetic)