Monday, July 28, 2014

What I Learned as an Evolutionist

It was the first semester of my sophomore year at Austin Peay State University.  In order to graduate, I was required to take two science courses.  And I did not want to take a science that would make me deal with a professor determined to make me believe the Bible was a storybook.

So I chickened out. 

My buddy from high school said his geology class was a breeze.  "For real, all we have to do is look at rocks, learn the names, and take a matching test.  It's simple."  I stared at him, thrilled that I could bypass the gauntlet of evolution teaching that I was sure to face in a biology or chemistry class.

So I signed up.  It wasn't until I was in the bookstore, searching for my "Historical Geology" textbook, that my heart began to sink.  As I flipped through the book, it looked like it should have been called "Evolution 101" instead of "Geology."  "Oh well," I thought optimistically when I realized I had registered for "Historical Geology" instead of "Physical Geology," like my friend had taken.  "Surely the class can't be THAT bad."

Spoke too soon.

The first day of the class.  Big auditorium, maybe one or two hundred college kids.  The professor walks up, and one of the first things he says is, "THIS is a science class. We are going to teach how evolution made the world.  If you would like to talk about some other way of the world getting here, I suggest you drop this class and go take a theology class."

There was no raising hands. No asking questions.  No dialogue.


"Oh well," I thought. "I refuse to be brainwashed.  I'm not gonna believe this guy's stuff about how the world is billions of years old, and how everything that is here today just somehow morphed into its present state from a rock exploding.  I'm gonna be strong!  BE STRONG, REBEKAH!"  

So every class as I listened to the professor lecture, I would write big notes every time he said something that didn't make sense logically.  "If Archaeopteryx is a missing link, why aren't there fossils everywhere?"  "If there are missing links, why are there no fossils?"  "If the fossils tell us how old the rock layer is, and the rock layers tell us how old the fossils are, how does that make sense?"  I wrote a lot of things down that he would shrug off or be unable to explain, but it was still all to hard for me to understand either.  All I knew was that the Bible was true.  I had based all my beliefs on it.  I couldn't let this one class steal my faith!!!

Well, as time passed and I refused to learn the lies of evolution for fear of getting brainwashed, guess what?  I flunked my tests. One. After. Another.  My dad had said if I ever flunked a whole class, I had to quit college.  And here it was, almost the end of the semester, and I still hadn't made a single passing grade!  

Let me tell you.  I was praying.  In some ways I didn't want to go to this university, but in a way, I did because I KNEW God had called me here.  As the semester wound down, it looked like maybe my time here was over.  It was going to take a miracle to pass the class.

Well, the professor had told us at the beginning of the semester that we would have one BIG project at the end.  We could do it on WHATEVER we wanted.  So I decided to take all the questions I had written in my notes, show how they proved how illogical evolution was, and use the Bible to prove creation was correct.  I had seen people talk about how they won debates that way.  I figured I would win a big battle for the cause of creationism!!  To victory!!!

So I went to the college library and went upstairs, hunting for every single book on evolution I could find.  I got a big stack and went down to a table, where I set my Bible next to the stack of False Books.  I was ready for any scientific argument that could be thrown at me. I would just look up what the Bible says, and show THEY WERE WRONG.  So I picked up the first one, opened it, and began to read.  

And my mouth fell open.

The opening, fundamental premise of this book was not any scientific point.  It was about the Bible.  On the cover it claimed to be about evolution, but on the first page, instead of a logical sequence, I found simply a diatribe against the Bible.  Like a  message written for the sheer purpose of stripping away all faith in the Creator.  There was nothing to refute scientifically; it simply explained how the Bible could not be true.  

And suddenly, like a flash of light darkness, I knew it was so.  
Like a zombie mindlessly repeating a mantra, I could have told you with absolute certainty that the Bible was a Big Lie.  That I was simply a random piece of luck that time and chance had thrown together.  Just as I knew my name, my mind was that convinced of the truth of evolution.  It wasn't a choice to change my mind.  It was a sudden, instantaneous jolt of discovery that convinced me that my life had been built on nothing.  It was the deadest, most miserable feeling I have ever experienced. 

I walked across campus to my job at the Business Office, sat down, and stared at the computer screen.  I thought of the irony: this whole time I could have been drinking, partying, living a wild life like other college kids.  There was no reason NOT to waste my life; there was no God who cared or had a grand plan for my life.  Everything I had done, every "good" decision I had made with the belief that God was directing my steps, had been in vain. 

It was awful.

Then, between answering phone calls, I opened up my Hotmail and stared at the screen.  Mechanically, feeling like a complete idiot, I typed in the address field, God.  

And I wrote God an email.  

I no longer have a copy of it, but the gist of what I typed was, Dear God.  Although I know you don't exist, I have lived my life for the past few years believing that You do exist.  My mind now screams at me that You are not.  I feel very foolish writing this to You, but I want to try something.  I want to go on acting like You are there.  Even though I know You are not.  I am going to try to believe in You even though it seems like foolishness. And I ask You, in case I am wrong, to please help me believe in You again.  If You are.  Thank you.  In Jesus' name.

Of course, I didn't hit send, but I figured it wasn't likely for God to get it anyway.  

So I went through my day, feeling dead.  Friday was the same.  Saturday afternoon, I sat in the kitchen, wishing God was real but knowing He wasn't.  Still, I would believe even though my intellect told me I was being a fool.   I looked up as my brother headed out the door with a full garbage bag from the packed closet he'd been cleaning out.  "Hold it," I barked.  I pulled open the trash bag for inspection, checking to make sure he wasn't going to throw away something that belonged to me.  

There, amid old papers and inkless pens, I saw a tattered copy of an old textbook from my mother's college days at Liberty.  I snatched it up.  The cover was missing, but the spine read, Scientific Creationism.  

Here's what the cover looked like decades ago, before the book found its way to my brother's closet!   :)

Like a life raft, I grabbed it and ripped it open, and there I found the answers to every question I had scribbled in the margins of my notes.  "Archaeopteryx!" I yelped in delight.  My brother looked at me like I was crazy.  I thumbed through the book feverishly, stunned at how forcefully God had answered my prayer!  He is real!  He would help me believe!  He would work everything out!

The final project was almost due.  I had not done anything on it, and so I raced to the library and began forming my Powerpoint presentation, now using viable scientific information gleaned from secular scholarly journals that refuted evolution.  I turned it in the last day of class and held my breath.  Finally, when I got my grades, I gasped as it sank in...I got a C in the class!  Never passed a single test or quiz, but I got a C for my final grade!!! 

So what did I learn?  I learned that:

A. Creation vs. evolution is a religious discussion.  The titles "Creationism" and "Evolutionism" are really just smokescreens for a much more important discussion:  "Yea, hath God said...?"  As I learned from my experience as an evolutionist, the battle is for belief in the Bible.  Everything else is incidental.  

B.  There is an evil force capable of brainwashing.  People who don't believe in God may not be evil people who have chosen to reject God, although I'm sure some are.  Some of them have simply listened to a lie and that lie has molded their brains so that they KNOW something that is false.  

C.  I am not as wise, or as godly, or as strong, as I thought I was.  Jesus Christ alone gives me strength.  When I think I am above falling, I have no idea how close I am to the edge of the cliff.  Jesus is able to keep us from falling, however, and it is His grace that allowed me to believe even when I knew (falsely) that there was nothing in which to believe. 

D.  Everything rises and falls on belief.  In the end, I chose to believe in something that seemed ridiculous, and God blessed that belief even though I didn't deserve it.  Jesus promised that belief in Him would be rewarded with everlasting life!  It's all about Whose word you believe.

God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.