Why biologist stopped trying to blend evolution and creation

Dr. Gary E. Parker did his doctoral work in biology and geology. He is the author of five widely used programmed instruction books in biology. He explains his evolution to creationism.

Gary Parker

When Gary Parker started teaching college biology he was an enthusiastic evolutionist.

"The idea of evolution was very satisfying to me. It gave me a feeling of being one with the huge, evolving universe continually progressing toward grander things. Evolution was really my religion, a faith commitment and a complete world-and-life view that organized everything else for me, and I got quite emotional when evolution was challenged," he remembers.

"As a religion, evolution answered my questions about God, sin, and salvation. God was unnecessary, or at least did no more than make the particles and processes from which all else mechanistically followed. 'Sin' was only the result of animal instincts that had outlived their usefulness, and salvation involved only personal adjustment, enlightened self-interest, and perhaps one day the benefits of genetic engineering."

However, even though Gary was such a content evolutionist, through a Bible study group he and his wife joined at first for purely social reasons, God began convincing him to lean not on his own opinions or those of other human authorities, but to acknowledge God and to let Him direct his paths.

His conversion to Christianity did not however, make Gary a creationist.

book

"Like so many before and since, I simply combined my new-found Christian religion with the 'facts' of science and became a theistic evolutionist [God created using evolution] and then a progressive creationist [each Bible day represents millions of years]. I thought the Bible told me who created, and that evolution told me how.

"But then I began to find scientific problems with the evolutionary part, and theological problems with the theistic part. I finally had to give it up."

Gary's main problem with theistic evolution centered around the phrase, "very good" in Genesis. At the end of each creation day (except the second) God said that His creation was good. At the end of the sixth day He said that all His works of creation were "very good".

"Now all the theistic evolutionists and progressive creationists try to fit 'geologic time' and the fossil record into the creation periods. But regardless of how old they are, the fossils show the same things that we have on earth today – famine, disease, disaster, extinction, floods, earthquakes, etc. So if fossils represent stages in God's creative activity, why should Christians oppose disease and famine or help preserve an endangered species? If the fossils were formed during the creation week, then all these things would be 'very good'.

"In Genesis 3, Romans 8 and many other passages, we learn that such negative features were not part of the world that God created, but entered only after Adam's sin. By ignoring this point, either intentionally or unintentionally, theistic evolutionists and progressive creationists come into conflict with the whole pattern of Scripture: the great themes of Creation, the Fall, and Redemption – how God made the world perfect and beautiful; how man's sin brought a curse upon the world; and how Christ came to save us from our sins and to restore all things."

Gary admits that intellectual pride stood in the way of him giving up theistic evolution. "I didn't want to face academic ridicule. ... I don't think I would have had the courage, especially as a professor of biology, to give up evolution or theistic evolution without finding out that the bulk of scientific data actually argues against evolution.

"A colleague introduced me to Morris' and Whitcomb's famous book, The Genesis Flood. At first I reacted strongly against the book, using all the evolutionist arguments I knew so well. But at that crucial time, I got a fellowship grant to study a doctorate and creationist arguments first hand. To my surprise, and eventually to my delight, just about every course I took was full of more and more problems in evolution, and more and more support for the basic points of Biblical creationism outlined in The Genesis Flood and Morris' later book, Scientific Creationism.

"For instance, when we started discussing uranium-lead and other radiometric methods for estimating the age of the earth. I thought all the creationists' arguments would be shot down and crumble, but just the opposite happened.

"In one graduate class, the professor told us we didn't have to memorize the dates of the geologic systems since they were far too uncertain and conflicting. Then in geophysics we went over all of the assumptions that go into radiometric dating. Afterwards, the professor said, 'If a fundamentalist ever got hold of this stuff, he would make havoc of the radiometric dating system.'

"Another example is the word para-conformity. In The Genesis Flood, I had heard that para-*conformity was a word used by evolutionary geologists for fossil systems out of order, but with no evidence of erosion or overthrusting. When paraconformities and other unconformities came up in geology class my professor said essentially the same thing as Morris and Whitcomb. He presented paraconformities as a real mystery and something very difficult to explain in evolutionary or uniformitarian terms.

"So again, instead of challenging my creationist ideas, all the geology I was learning in graduate school was supporting it.

"The evidence for creation is also very strong. For instance, all of us can recognize objects that man has created, whether paintings, sculptures, or just a Coke bottle. Because the pattern of relationships in those objects is contrary to relationships that time, chance, and natural physical processes would produce, we know an outside creative agent was involved. I began to see the same thing in a study of living things, especially in the area of my major interest, molecular biology.

Gary and Mary
Gary and Mary Parker

"All living things depend upon a working relationship between inheritable nucleic acid molecules, like DNA, and proteins. To make proteins, living creatures use a sequence of DNA bases to line up a sequence of amino acid Rgroups. But the normal reactions between DNA and proteins are the 'wrong' ones, and act with time and chance to disrupt living systems. Just as phosphorus, glass, and copper will work together in a television set only if properly arranged by human engineers, so DNA and protein will work in productive harmony only if properly ordered by an outside creative agent."

Creationism has influenced Gary's work as a scientist and teacher in many positive ways.

"Science is based on the assumption of an understandable orderliness in the operation of nature, and the Scriptures guarantee both that order and man's ability to understand it, infusing science with enthusiastic hope and richer meaning. Furthermore, creationists are able to recognize both spontaneous and created (i.e., internally and externally determined) patterns of order, and this opened my eyes to a far greater range of theories and models to deal with the data from such diverse fields as physiology, systematics, and ecology.

"Creationism has certainly made the classroom a much more exciting place. So much of biology touches on key ethical issues, such as genetic engineering, the ecological crisis, reproduction and development, and now I have so much more to offer than just my own opinions and the severely limited perspectives of other human authorities. And my students and I have the freedom to discuss both evolution and creation.

"Creationists have to pay the price of academic ridicule and occasional personal attacks, but these are nothing compared to the riches of knowledge and wisdom that are ours through Christ!" Gary exclaims. *"I only wish that more people *could share the joy and challenge of looking at God's world through God's eyes."

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