What Does “Conversation” Really Mean?

(With AiG researcher Steve Golden.)

As the debate over evolutionary ideas and a literal Genesis continues, more and more people want to get into the discussion. Ryan Pettey, a documentary filmmaker, recently released a documentary called From the Dust: Conversations in Creation. One of the groups backing the documentary is BioLogos, which promotes the belief that God used evolution—so we guessed what his stand would be! Pettey took the angle that we’re having a “conversation” about origins.

When Mr. Pettey’s team asked our publicist (one of the best in the business) about filming at our Creation Museum and interviewing some staff, our publicist shared with us that according to the filmmakers, the video would be (in our publicist’s words) “about the scientific data in support of creation, reading and interpreting Scripture, theological and social implications of creation and of macro-evolution.” But we were cautioned by our publicist that the filmmaker was a fan of BioLogos on his Facebook page, though the filmmaker assured our publicist that his video “would examine Genesis in a balanced way.” The longer I’ve dealt with the opposition to biblical creation, the more I’ve come to realize that even words like “conversation” or “balance” lose their meaning. But we thought it was important to get out our message of biblical authority, so we agreed to have Mr. Pettey’s crew here.

After watching the final video, we saw that it was hardly a “conversation” about creation, despite the documentary’s name. What the people involved really wanted to do was push their agenda of promoting theistic evolution (or “evolutionary creation,” as BioLogos calls it). Biblical creationists were presented as people who only want “war” in the Christian faith and who deny what is claimed to be “truth” (i.e., evolutionary ideas). The Creation Museum was presented as the primary opponent throughout the documentary, with footage of the museum and of one of Dr. Terry Mortenson’s lectures, and an interview with astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle (who is now with the Institute for Creation Research).

Those interviewed for the documentary included N.T. Wright, Peter Enns, Darrel Falk, Alistair McGrath, John Polkinghorne, April Maskiewicz, Richard Colling, and Ard Louis. Many of these scholars hold views similar to theistic evolution, and they argue that evolution and millions of years can be meshed with the Bible.

One of the most blatant instances of the bias toward evolution and millions of years in this documentary was near the beginning. Richard Colling, a former biology professor at Olivet Nazarene University (a Christian college), talks about how sad it is that children are taught by their parents and pastors that “believing in evolution is sort of like denying the Christian faith. And so then they come to college and in that setting they learn that evolution is real, and that it’s part of God’s grand design. It literally broke my heart to see so many young students sometimes in my office in tears because their parents are telling them and their pastors are telling them that you’ve got to reject the science to be a Christian. And I just didn’t see that that was necessary.”

Colling wrote a book called Random Designer, in which he asserts that “life began apparently 3.8 billion years ago” (p. 93). So here is another example of a professor in a Christian college teaching students that they can mix evolution and millions of years with Scripture. Of course, as I’ve said many times before, believing in a young earth and six literal days of creation is not a salvation issue—but it is an authority issue! What Colling is teaching in his book is that man’s opinion on origins is far more trustworthy than God’s account of our origins in Genesis.

Alistair McGrath, professor of theology, ministry, and education at King’s College, London, criticizes biblical creationists as being “superficial” for concluding that evolutionary ideas lead to a purposeless existence. Ard Louis, a reader in theoretical physics at the University of Oxford, goes so far as to claim that, even though Christians see value in God’s active creation of the universe and Adam and Eve, the way we were made doesn’t matter! He says that instead of focusing on a literal creation, Christians should find their value in what God thinks of them.

John Polkinghorne, an ordained Anglican priest and former professor of mathematical physics, closes this segment of the film by saying that truth can come through science, but that some Christians are “turning their backs on certain types of truth.” Polkinghorne is obviously implying that biblical creationists are denying the alleged “truth” of evolution and millions of years.

Do any of the above comments sound like a “conversation”? All of these scholars say they want to talk about science and faith, but they really just want to push their compromising view of theistic evolution without entertaining a response to their claims. The most disturbing part of this documentary was footage from a biology class at Point Loma Nazarene University—another Christian college.

April Maskiewicz is an associate professor of biology at Point Loma Nazarene, which is also where Darrel Falk (who has been the president of BioLogos) teaches. Maskiewicz is no stranger to BioLogos, having served as an instructor last year for a Christian school teachers training program BioLogos put on. In From the Dust, Dr. Maskiewicz asks her students to discuss evolutionary ideas. In the documentary footage, the students were clearly being challenged to reconcile evolution and millions of years with the Bible. The majority of these Christian college students took a theistic evolution stance, saying that God’s supposed use of evolutionary methods to create was far more “glorious” than the Genesis account.

Dr. Maskiewicz explains how she went to college and did not have a chance to have a “conversation” about origins. She says that, as a result, she accepted the “no brainer” ideas of evolution and “left college an atheist.” She continues, “Ultimately, within a couple more years, I came back to trying to reconcile my faith with what I knew about the biology.” Her story sounds awfully similar to Dr. Falk’s, doesn’t it? (I blogged about Darrel Falk’s struggle with evolutionary ideas in a post recently)

Dr. Maskiewicz is not having a “conversation” with her students either. We know what God’s Word says about creation, and yet she calls evolutionary ideas a “no brainer” and teaches students and other teachers how to reconcile them with Genesis. I’ve talked and written before about the compromise on biblical authority going on in our Christian colleges and seminaries, and Dr. Maskiewicz is another in a long list of examples.

It’s sad to see the authority of Scripture abandoned when it comes to the Genesis account of creation, Fall, Flood etc., all in the name of having “conversations.” And it’s even worse to see that those “conversations” are just opportunities to indoctrinate students into evolutionary ideas. If you’re looking for Christian colleges that boldly teach the authority of God’s Word from the first verse of the Bible, visit www.CreationColleges.org for a list of schools that hold to a literal Genesis. I also urge you to read my book Already Compromised for more information on the state of Christian colleges today. Lastly, I encourage your young people who are considering a Christian college to attend November’s college expo here at the Creation Museum.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

Ken