By Shane Hilde
Jan Paulsen released an appeal recently, addressing the issue of evolution in Adventist education. Iâ€™m excited Paulsen has acknowledged the issue, and hopeÂ his appealÂ adds to the momentum for reformative action in some of our schools, such as La Sierra University.
There are a couple of points Paulsen makes in his appeal I would like to address. First, he seems to be saying the world of faith and the world of science are separate and findings in science do not always reflect Godâ€™s creative power.
The first indication of Paulsenâ€™s separation comes from the following statement:
Faith has that [Scripture] as its final resting point of reference.
While this is a true statement, he neglects to mention the dependency of science on the Word of God as a reference point. Ellen White said:
We are dependent on the Bible for a knowledge of the early history of our world, of the creation of man, and of his fall. Remove the Word of God, and what can we expect but to be left to fables and conjectures and to that enfeebling of the intellect which is the sure result of entertaining error. (2 MCP 742)
The Bible is our anchor in all it touches upon. Paulsen makes another statement insinuatingÂ this separation of faith and science:
â€¦the world of faith is the world in which Godâ€™s creative powers are on constant display. Sometimes the findings of science may reflect some of this, but often not. Faith is certainly not subject to findings of science.
Ellen White said that, rightly understood, â€œscience and the written word agree, and each sheds light on the otherâ€ (2 MCP 739). Our faith is subject to God, and thus to His written and created revelation, which are in total agreement. The Bible, however, is the ultimate authority and is â€œnot tested by menâ€™s ideas of scienceâ€ (PP 114). Itâ€™s interesting Paulsen thinks only some findings in science will reflect Godâ€™s creative powers. This is certainly not the case, because â€œrightly understood, they [science and the Bible] are in perfect harmonyâ€ (ibid). If science and the Word of God are in perfect harmony, how can it be that findings in science will â€œoften notâ€ reflect Godâ€™s creative power?
Paulsen makes another point, sayingÂ when teachers are exposing students to evolution, they eventually Â need to ground students in their faith too. This is a good point, but doesnâ€™t address the important issue with La Sierra.
Paulsen said, â€œwhen you take your students out on the journey, bring them safely back home before the day is over,â€ that home being the â€œworld of faith.â€ He fails to address those teachers who do not share the same world of faith in regard to the Genesis account of creation. Here is what Ellen White said about such people:
These persons [who disbelieve the Genesis account] have lost the simplicity of faith. There should be a settled belief in the divine authority of Godâ€™s Holy Word. (ibid)
Paulsen gives an earnest plea for our educators to â€œarticulate and reflect our stand as a community of Creation.â€ But how can that happen when there areÂ teachers and administrationÂ who don’t believe in a literal six-day creation?Â There are quite a few teachers at La Sierra, and other Adventist colleges and universities, who are not part of the church’s â€œcommunity of Creation.â€ They are evolutionists. Whatâ€™s to be done with those who are not teaching according to the Word of God and church doctrine? We can’t make professors honestly teach what they don’t believe.
Perhaps there are some who have read Paulsenâ€™s appeal and feel pacified and that the matter is settled. It is even more imperative now thatÂ church membership shows its support and affirmation of our belief in a literal six-day creation, and that it should be taught as truth in our schools. The primary mission of EducateTruth.com is to inform the membership of this issue so that they can empower our leadership to take action. You can sign the petition, write to our leadership and take a stand with us on this issue.