I’ve noticed two troubling ways in which conservative Adventist educators tend to approach science education: the first tendency is to conform to mainstream science in every way possible, except where it directly contradicts the Biblical narrative, and the second is to use anti-theistic theories as a foundation for scientific thinking, even while believing in the literal truth of the Biblical narrative. These tendencies are not mutually exclusive, and point to the same basic problem: in general, the vast majority of the science courses that are taught at our schools lack a truly Biblical foundation. Here is an example from biology: How do organisms change and adapt? I’ve heard creationist professors say that change results from selective pressures acting on random mutations of the genome. A much better answer, however, is that some change (such as sickle-cell anemia in humans and antibiotic resistance in bacteria) can be brought about by random mutations and selective pressures, but that much of the change we observe in nature results from built-in adaptability, placed there by the Creator.
In the field of biology, the information necessary to form a Biblical worldview is readily available (though extracting the information from the scientific literature requires a lot of critical reading and thinking). Here are a few works that have compiled years of good research and will get anyone off to a good start: Mike Behe’s book Darwin’s Black Box presents the argument that the cellular machines and biological Rube Goldberg mechanisms at work in nature are irreducibly complex and could not have been formed by step-by-random-step processes. (Random mutation would have to supply too much information at once.) The mainstream scientific community responded by claiming that irreducible complexity was an argument from ignorance--they said that the fact that we don’t know how something evolved doesn’t mean that it didn’t. Mike Behe then wrote the book The Edge of Evolution, which shows exactly what Darwinian evolution can do, based on mountains of data. Unsurprisingly, it turns out that making random changes to a complex code doesn’t tend to improve things. (Behe is being exceedingly generous when he says that, in the history of the universe, assuming 13.7 billion years, we should expect no more than two protein-protein binding sites to have evolved by Darwinian means.) Now that it is perfectly clear what evolution can accomplish, we can say with certainty that cellular machinery, and certainly life, is far beyond any creative capacity random processes might posses. The third book I suggest is John Sanford’s book Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome. I wrote a summary of this book available here. Finally, I recommend Faith, Reason, and Earth History by Leonard Brand. This book goes a long way toward providing a foundation from which to understand the observed adaptation and speciation in biology within a biblical worldview.
In biology, so much has been learned in recent years that the debate between creation and evolution can now, quickly and clearly, be shown to be philosophical rather than scientific. This is a huge benefit to creationism.
In cosmology, the work of Kristian Birkeland, Hannes Alfvén, Anthony Peratt, and others has provided a lot of fodder for creationists, but very few have taken advantage of their findings and theories. The Big Bang Model has been suffocating under ad hoc proposition after ad hoc proposition for decades, kept alive only because the evolutionist scientific community feels such a great need of the deep time it provides. It’s time to pull the plug on it and move on to a theory that works. Barry Setterfield has done some good work on a biblical cosmology, but we need many more people working on this.
For geology, I would again recommend Faith, Science, and Earth History by Leonard Brand. There has been some very good work done by creationists in geology, but very few of our schools offer much geology, and few resources have been appropriated to understanding serious challenges to the biblical model, such as radiometric dating. To sum up what we can gather from the available scientific literature, it appears that radiometric dating suffers from a systematic error, as several other indicators of time (such as sedimentation rates and rates of the decay of ancient, preserved proteins) disagree with the radiometric dates in a predictable fashion. Also, in the last few years, at least two papers have come out in the scientific literature showing that radioactive decay is not, in fact, constant. The papers blame neutrinos for changing the decay rates, but they contradict each other as to whether neutrinos speed up or slow down decay. (Incidentally, Barry Setterfield provided me with an excellent explanation which simply and consistently accounted for all of the observed anomalies.) We have good leads--I believe it’s time to appropriate more of our resources to these challenges. If we work together and allocate resources to this project in the right way, we can push geology to the place biology is, making the debate over whether or not there was a biblical flood a philosophical rather than scientific question.
Psychology and many other fields could also benefit from a biblical worldview. In any field where a biblical worldview is applied, we will see a great benefit for students and for science. Viewing nature as a revelation of the Creator should bring with it the assumption that life and the universe are infinitely complex, and that while we may make surprising, awe-inspiring, and intellectually satisfying discoveries, we will never, even in eternity, learn everything there is to know. We should assume this because the universe was created for us to study, and God’s original plan was for us to live forever and study forever. Ellen White put it this way:
“There, immortal minds will contemplate with never-failing delight the wonders of creative power, the mysteries of redeeming love. There will be no cruel, deceiving foe to tempt to forgetfulness of God. Every faculty will be developed, every capacity increased. The acquirement of knowledge will not weary the mind or exhaust the energies. There the grandest enterprises may be carried forward, the loftiest aspirations reached, the highest ambitions realized, and still there will arise new heights to surmount, new wonders to admire, new truths to comprehend, fresh objects to call forth the powers of mind and soul and body.” The Great Controversy 677
We should start this kind of learning now--the kind that views knowledge of God as the highest gain. If we will still be making new discoveries in biology a million years from now, having studied all the while with glorified minds recreated in Christ’s image, we should be very humble about the discoveries we’ve made up to this point. If we teach biblically-based science with humility, we will foster students’ God-given curiosity rather than crush it with a pretense of having complete answers.
Before the flood destroyed the antediluvian civilization, God made it perfectly clear that judgment was coming. The Garden of Eden was still on the earth, guarded by angels with flaming swords. Enoch, who was known to be a prophet of God and who was taken up into heaven, named his son Methuselah, which means “When he dies it will come.” Finally, Noah, Methuselah’s grandson, preached about the coming deluge, and God sent the animals into the ark in the sight of all as one last sign that Noah’s message was true. We should not expect God to do any less for our civilization. The angel quoted in Revelation 14:7 says “Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” The mention of “fountains of waters” is a direct reference to the flood and the first great judgment of the world. God has already provided us with compelling evidence that He designed life. If we provide our students with a biblical worldview and use our resources to promote investigations that strike at the heart of anti-theistic theories, we should expect many new scientific discoveries that will strengthen our preaching of the angels’ messages of Revelation.