By Sean Pitman
The recently published Adventist Review article on the proposal of six LSU science professors regarding the teaching of origins is very disturbing to me, especially where the leaders of our church seem to happily accept the proposal of the LSU professors to continue to do what they’ve been doing all along – teaching mainstream evolutionism as the only valid “science” or empirically-based position on origins while biblical creationism is defined for their students as a “faith-only” position without any meaningful or rational backing by science or empirical evidence of any kind.
The LSU science professors who signed the document, especially Professors Grismer and Greer, are the very same ones who have been the most ardent in promoting mainstream evolutionary theories as the true story of origins while telling their students that the Biblical account is hopelessly out of touch with reality – at least without the input of enormous amounts of incredibly blind faith. Greer and Grismer, in particular, certainly don’t believe in a literal six day creation week during which all life was created on this planet just a few thousand years ago nor do they believe in a worldwide Noachian-style Flood. They’ve taught their students and have made many public statements that the only empirically-rational interpretation of the currently available evidence overwhelmingly favors the mainstream evolutionary model of origins. They’ve explained, over and over again, that the Biblical model simply isn’t rationally tenable from their own perspectives and that they personally do not and cannot support such a model in their own classrooms. Clearly then, such professors would be more than happy to sign a document that claims that the Biblical perspective on origins has absolutely no meaningful support from science or empirical evidence and is, rather, completely within the realm of empirically-blind faith and historical Adventist tradition.
Why then are Elders Dan Jackson, Richardo Graham, and Larry Blackmer, high-ranking leaders within our Seventh-day Adventist Church, so excited about this proposal for LSU science professors to keep doing what they’ve always been doing? – promoting evolutionism as the only empirically-rational scientific conclusion on origins while Biblical creationism is presented as being completely out of touch with empirical reality? a faith-only relic of Adventism and outdated Christianity in general? Do they not realize that faith is meaningless without at least some support from empirical evidence? that even scientific conclusions, theories, and notions of reality are based on leaps of faith to one degree or another? that modern evolutionary ‘science’ is no less faith-based than is Biblical creationism? that the greater the available evidence the greater the faith of those sincerely looking for truth? Did the faith of Jesus’ disciples increased or decrease after empirical evidence was given to them of the Resurrection?
Therefore, for our church leaders to go along with the notion that the Biblical account of origins has no basis in rational empirical evidence that goes beyond empirically-blind faith is a huge step backward in the church’s understanding of faith and its relationship to evidence. Is this the message that we really want to give to our young people? that there is no rational or otherwise substantive empirically-based reason to believe the Genesis account of origins? that the Genesis account of origins must be taken on blind faith alone in the face of otherwise overwhelming empirical evidence to the contrary? Or, is this more about politics within the church than it is about upholding the supposedly “fundamental” positions of the church as something incredibly valuable to present to the world as a basis of a solid hope in the Gospel message?
Back to square one we go…