Creation Ministry International’s Lita Cosner interviewed Dr Lainna Callentine who has a Masters in Education and an MD from the Illinois School of Medicine. She has been married for 22 years, and is a home school mum with three children.
Lainna Callentine grew up as part of a large family of eight. As the fifth of six children, Lainna always wanted to learn, and found educational opportunities even before going to school.
"My favourite activity in the summer months was to go down streams, turn over rocks, and look at all the critters. I also loved looking at my father's old medical textbooks. Even at five, before I could read, I would look at all the pictures. My family was worried it would give me nightmares, but it just fuelled my curiosity."
Though she had a good upbringing, her parents were not churchgoing people. However, at one point, her parents would drop the children off at a local church to expose them to religion and to supplement their education. At six years of age, she prayed to receive Christ as her Saviour, and at college she was baptized in water as an outward expression of her inner commitment.
When Lainna entered college, she was enthusiastic, being new in the faith. However, her faith and her scientific studies were very compartmentalized, so she did not see a conflict at the time with believing in evolution. "It wasn't an issue to me, I just believed what I was told. I didn't care—God was God; if He wanted to create in six days or six billion years, it didn't matter."
From education, to medicine, to home schooling
Lainna's passion was for medicine, but after college, she wasn't sure if she could be a doctor. She loved children and teaching, and pursued a Masters in Education which allowed her to teach in the public school system.
However, she still felt compelled to pursue medicine and paediatrics.
"I had wanted to be a doctor since I was four. I was very sick with asthma, and I spent a lot of time in the hospital. I was fascinated by how the doctors helped me to feel better, and I wanted to do that, too."
She feels that her medical and educational training really complement each other and help to teach and empower people.
However, her medical training took her in an unexpected direction.
"Medicine had taken a lot out of me. I had been pregnant every year during my residency, and the long hours meant that I lost time with my family. Once I earned my degrees, I felt God was calling me to go home."
Lainna says she has only 'converted' to biblical creation in the last five years. She felt that if she was writing a home schooling curriculum, she needed to know where she stood on these issues. She started asking genuine questions about creation, but unfortunately the responses she received were less than encouraging.
"I was met with a lot of prejudice from young-earth creationists. I had just never thought about this issue, and people were criticizing me, even questioning whether I was really a Christian!"
These negative experiences could have turned Lainna into an avid evolutionist, but instead, she turned to Scripture. "I was intellectually dissatisfied with what I had found so far, but God promises, 'If you seek, you will find.' All wisdom comes from God, so I started really studying what I had been told, looking in the Bible, and at all the research and literature."
Lainna found creation information, including information from CMI, which Lainna praised as being hardcore, in-depth research that was instrumental in equipping her as a creationist.
Wonderful design in the human body
When asked for an evidence of creation from the field of medicine, she said, "As a doctor, the goal is to protect life and honour it. But dealing with sick and dying children in the Intensive Care Unit, often we are helpless as human beings to deal with the complexities of the body, and often we are just putting our finger in the dyke. I've come to appreciate the complexity of the body, because of the magnitude of what we have to do when someone is critically ill to try to balance the systems—and healthy bodies do it on their own."
God has clearly designed the human body as an intricately balanced system, which could not have evolved.
With her various experiences as a public school teacher and a home school mum, and informed by her Masters in Education degree, Lainna has a unique perspective.
She notes that a lot of home schoolers are really uncomfortable with high school science in particular, and she saw a need that she was equipped to fill.
"I began offering classes with children in home school co-ops, and was invited to my first home school convention about seven years ago to speak and do hands-on science. And it just grew from there, until it became another full-time job!"
She felt called to write a series of science books to help Christian home schooling parents. The first book in the series, The Electrifying Nervous System, and the second, The Breathtaking Respiratory System, are available through CMI's bookstore, as well as through other retailers.
Lainna encourages Christian parents, "Don't just expose your children to the creationist world view, but help them to understand the evolutionist's world view, too. If we want to witness to others, we have to defend our faith and to do that we need to know the other side of the argument—otherwise it is hard to share the Gospel [the good news about Jesus's life, death and resurrection]."
For instance, when Lainna teaches biology, she uses a creationist biology book, but then also supplements with a secular book, so her children can understand how secular science interweaves evolution throughout their whole world view.
"When they understand how pervasive it is, and how indoctrinated people are, they can understand where the other side is coming from."
Science shows God's glory
Lainna said, "Sometimes in Christian circles people are afraid of science, and feel there's a conflict between science and Scripture. But the more you keep peering into it, the more God's glory is revealed. With our finite knowledge, the more you understand, the more you realize that you don't understand. And only our wonderful Creator could explain this complexity."•