Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

A response to Evolution in Education article by Jay Gallimore

The President of the Michigan conference has posted an article entitled Evolution in Education. Jay Gallimore begins his President’s Perspective found at by saying:

“Adventists have always shown a keen interest in science. After all, the God of the Bible is the God of creation. Unlike some other denominations, we have not promoted a separation between faith and science. In our view God uses true science and true faith to work together to reveal Himself to His children. From the revelation of Scripture we know that the world and nature have been heavily damaged by sin. Therefore, empirical evidence alone is not able to give us a clear picture of truth. So when there is a seeming contradiction between Scripture and science we have chosen to trust Scripture.”

When I read this article I was struck by the rather contradictory statements made throughout the article. As in the first paragraph the author says that we Adventists have not promoted a separation between faith and science and then saying since the world and nature are heavily damaged by sin empirical evidence can’t give a clear picture of truth. Instead of accepting the evidence we have chosen to trust Scripture. That is pretty much the definition of separation between faith and science, at least the way he is using it. It is certainly possible to trust Scripture as a revelation about God and man without the insistence that every story is literally true. But that is certainly not the author’s intention.

One has to wonder what the author thinks sin is that it so heavily damaged the world and nature. It almost sounds like it is some sort of physical presence that goes around stocking the plants, animals and minerals of the world. As if when I see a dike intrusion into Granite I can say, “sin did that!” If I see a dinosaur bone I can say “sin did that” it originally was an animal as cute as a bunny rabbit but sin made it huge and vicious.

The scary thing about this is that many in the Adventist church are allowing scientifically semi-illiterate church administrators to define what education should be. Because he uses undefined terms like “true science” and “true faith” some people believe that he knows what he is talking about. Of course if he can show that his science is true than the battle is over, but since he cannot. His truth is not literally truth it is his interpretation of truth. We see this a bit later in the article when he writes:

“No one is against academic freedom. Yet all academic freedom has a context. In secular universities it is “human reasoning.” In confessional universities it is “divine reasoning.” For the secular, “human reasoning” is the final court of appeal because that is what they trust. For confessional universities, “divine reasoning” is the last word because that is what we trust. This means academic freedom in a confessional university is viewed in the context of our faith in God and His divine revelation in Scripture. If we do not understand and support this criterion, then it is only a matter of time before our confessional schools of higher education will become secular like other universities that started out as institutions of other denominations.”

Gallimore here sets up a false dichotomy “human reasoning” versus “divine reasoning”. We all have a pretty good idea of what human reasoning is because we all do it, some of us more than others, but what is “divine reasoning”? It appears from his usage it means his interpretation of what the Bible says. But would not that be human reasoning? If divine reasoning is simply what the Genesis account says than it is hopelessly in conflict with itself as Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 do not agree with each other. In that case the divine reasoning seems to actually be traditional human interpretations used to combine the two accounts into one that seems reasonable. The fact is he can’t get away from “human reasoning” it is all we humans have after all. Faith in God is a far different subject than faith in some traditional Genesis interpretation but if one falsely calls their tradition “divine reasoning” they are intentionally fooling themselves and then placing themselves as the authority in all faith matters.

Gallimore continues his fictions by writing the following:

“It is my belief that, by and large, most of our science teachers are creationists, not evolutionists. Many are doing a great job of helping young adults understand arguments on both sides. Where there are appearances of contradictions between science and inspiration they are teaching students to trust divine revelation. This is wise because history is full of examples of how science ends up confirming facts of faith that it once denied. It is also reasonable in a world where science keeps changing its theories. Waiting on God has always brought large rewards. Unlike human reasoning in connection with science, God and Scripture never change.”

One has to wonder what all these examples of faith confirming facts that science once denied. What would those histories full of examples show us? The flood, no, science sees no evidence for a world wide flood. The pillars of the earth or maybe stars created after the earth…no. The necessity of a woman to be unclean for twice as long after having a girl instead of a boy baby? (Lev. 12:1-5)? About the only think I can think of would be that at one time there may have been people who because they did not have any evidence of Hittites did not believe there were Hittites, back in the infancy of the archeological science in the 1800’s. Do God and scripture never change? Well, when was the last time you attended the stoning of someone who broke the Sabbath? Does God still ask you to bring a sheep or dove or flour to be sacrificed, that once was the God proscribed way of worship. The whole progressive of the Old to New Testament is filled with changes in what Scripture is teaching about God and man. The written words certainly don’t change but the concepts continue to grow and expand at least if one allows their human reasoning to investigate things.

One final quote:

“Let me say again that I believe most of our colleges and universities are supportive of our fundamental beliefs. There are many blessings for our youth at these institutions. Nevertheless, parents and students should remain vigilant. I have been assured by Dr. Keith Mattingly, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, that Andrews University, while making students aware of the evolutionary arguments, is committed to teaching that creation, as revealed in Genesis, is the true understanding of origins.”

Why does Andrews University even bother with making students aware of evolutionary arguments? If Genesis is the true understanding of origins what use is it to know anything else? We don’t teach the old theory of germ development from spontaneous generation we don’t teach them how witches cause thunderstorms or moles or insanity. What is the point of teaching in a science class things that you know can’t possibly be true because your faith says they are not true? If they aren’t true then they could have not practical application whether science used them or not after all faith has won so many victories over science, history is filled with examples…I and Mr. Gallimore just can’t think of any right now.


Elaine Nelson said...

If Gallimore's thesis is correct, we have no need for any science textbooks. Simply use the Bible and make it ultimately simple. Just don't call it a university education, nor expect to receive accreditation.

Bulworth said...

You could stick the Pope's name on this article by Gallimore, and few people would know the difference. It's exactly the same mind set.

I also noticed that Gallimore, and many others like him who refer to the same point, don't seem eager to inquire as to why many universities that started out as more religious in orientation, over time became more "secular". I wonder what Gallimore and his ilk think the reason is.

Bulworth said...

"One has to wonder what all these examples of faith confirming facts that science once denied. What would those histories full of examples show us? The flood, no, science sees no evidence for a world wide flood. The pillars of the earth or maybe stars created after the earth…no. The necessity of a woman to be unclean for twice as long after having a girl instead of a boy baby? (Lev. 12:1-5)? "

I hate to pile on here, but the...I don't even know what to call it...bamboozlement coming from church leaders such as Gallimore is just embarassing. And ultimately deceitful.

Anonymous said...

Did you read the article "Creation and the Certainty of the Second Coming" in the July 23, 2009 Adventent Review? Fantastic!!

Ron Corson said...

Yes I read the article, you can read the article I posted in response at

If you thought that article was fantastic it is likely that you only liked it because it agreed with your views rather than being a well written or even intelligent article.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. I am no expert on whether it was well written or "intelligent", I was just nutured in my faith by the more than 30 Bible texts to ponder and meditate upon. I find my strength in God's word.

Ron Corson said...

I understand and that is part of the problem you were nurtured in what you already believed. Your term "my faith". The use of texts can be used for anything the question is the interpretations one places upon a text. Watch a number of the televangelists, they will use lots of texts and often they are used wrong, against the context or with a particular meaning inserted into their interpretation of the text.

The point of learning and the application of knowledge is not to confirm what someone already thinks they know.

Anonymous said...

I imagine that what is going through his head, and many others at SDA Universities is that he likes his job and doesn't want to say anything that would get him called on the carpet by his conference's version of the Concerned Bretheren.

Al said...

Who is being honest?

Ron Corson said...

I watched the first 6 minutes of the blip tv link. To answer Al's question. It appears that the blip tv person is not being honest. When we look at the oldest fossils they are simple bacteria. No pollen grains just bacteria. So it does not work at all with the creation of all complex things at one time. Even the blip tv program just jumped to the Cambrian explosion. Ignoring the serious evidence against the YEC viewpoint.

The thing the creationists need to learn is that they are other ways for God to create, He can still be the creator even if He creates in a different way then outlined to primitive people.