Sergei Golovin has three Masters degrees (in geophysics, education, and religious studies), two doctorates (in philosophy, and ministry) and lives in the Crimea region, Ukraine, with his family. He heads the Christian Center for Science and Apologetics.
If you're a scientist in the Soviet Union, there is one sure way to make life difficult for yourself: believe and teach creation, not evolution.
That was what soviet geophysicist Sergei Golovin did and it cost him his PhD.
Generations of communist 'atheology' have trained people not to search for a logical answer. The logical contradictions in communist ideology were carefully explained away as just the 'dialectics of history'. So even if they see contradictions in parts of evolution theory, many still just accept it."
Sergei did not start out believing in Creationism, which is the Biblical account of how the world was formed. Like many in his country, he grew up believing absolutely in Darwin's theory of evolution.
The lauded geophysicist worked in many areas — geophysics, laser optics and information theory — and said he started to notice atheism did not fit with any of them.
"I started looking for another ideological foundation," he said.
"While studying the Earth as part of solar system physics, I started to see design everywhere. It made me discouraged with atheism."
This discouragement was no mild unhappiness. It threatened to undermine everything Sergei had grown up believing and had built his career upon.
"Evolution was the 'scientific foundation' the communists used to promote their humanistic ideology and attack Christianity," he explained.
"I only came to the Bible later; I had been indoctrinated to think that only old women and crazy people believed in God," he laughed. "We had a lot of anti-religious communist propaganda.
"Even though many have suffered much under communism, they still think science has proven they are products of time and chance. Having heard no alternative to evolution, life has even less purpose or meaning than under communism.
"One person told me: 'In my area of science I don't see any proof of evolution but since everybody believes in it, it must be true'."
Once he accepted creation as the explanation for how the world was formed, Sergei knew he had to share his transformed world view.
"I wanted other people to see this wonderful truth, and so I started to tell students about Creation, but this was soon forbidden," he told Creation Ministries International. Undaunted, Sergei held underground meetings with students, professors and colleagues.
"As a geophysicist, no data, no evidence I knew of, contradicted the Bible, only the interpretations put on it. So you either believe in millions of years or 'six days' — and the interpretation based on the Bible is sounder. If you accept the Bible's truth, there's no room for you to think that it's only partly true."
Defying the threat by the authorities that he would be barred from continuing with his PhD, Sergei continued to share his discoveries and ultimately left the university. By this time he had completed his thesis and had several patented inventions in geophysics and laser optics.
Sergei's path from avowed atheist to committed creationist began when he was given a Bible in the remote northern town of Spitzbergen. Finding himself 1000km from the North Pole with nothing else to do, he started reading it.
To his amazement, he found that everything he knew from personal experience and from science, fit with what he read in the book of Genesis.
"This was the only book that told the truth about all "earthly things" which I could put to the test," he said. "And of course, if I accepted Genesis then I had to accept the rest. From Genesis I found out why the Gospel is so important, and why Jesus Christ had to come and sacrifice His life. So through science I came to the Bible, through the Bible I came to Christ."
In 1991, he founded the Christian Center for Science and Apologetics to sow the gospel in former Soviet-bloc countries, using creation materials.
"In Ukraine, we now have 1.3 divorces for every new marriage, and about two abortions for every child born, plus a lot of abandoned street kids," he said. "Our ministry is also involved in missions to street kids and orphanages, but this is fighting the symptoms; to fight the disease itself we have to change the general worldview, to restore the foundations of society and the family. When people believe they are nothing more than evolved animals, they tend to behave accordingly, and to act increasingly less human.'
Sergei said people commonly told him that they became solid Christians once they knew belief in Christ did not contradict science.
Among the materials Sergei uses is a video series titled Science and the Bible. A man who had for years resisted the Gospel message of salvation — the good news of Jesus' life, death and resurrection — watched it. The next day he went to church, repented and was baptised.
"For 10 years his wife had preached the Gospel to him, but the seeds fell on the pavement," Sergei said. "But as soon as the pavement was broken by the creation message, the fruit came."
But he said it wasn't enough to just 'believe in Creation' or be 'anti-evolution'.
"Unless the Bible is trusted on such obvious teachings as a real six days, not billions of years, the Gospel makes no sense," Sergei said. "A fossil record with death, cancer and thorns cannot have been a part of what God called 'very good' (Gen. 1:31)."
The main problem as he sees it is a lack of respect for the Bible. "If people have a high view of the authority of Scripture, it doesn't take long for them to come around. Pride is a factor, too — pride in one's experience, or academic achievements.
"It's not just about creation vs evolution, but about the authority of Scripture, in which our doctrines are ultimately founded in Genesis."•
Another version of this article first appeared in Creation magazine and the story is used with kind permission.