Rapping for the Creator
A contemporary Christian group takes it to the streets
Gary Bates chats with Dave and Donovan of the rap group Destiny Lab.
As young men, Dave and Donovan1 experienced for themselves the deleterious effects of evolutionary teaching on young minds. That’s why they feel called to communicate the truth of biblical creation. But how would they get young people to listen, particularly when creation information is so widely censored in the public domain, where most perceive that evolution is true and the ‘facts’ support it?
Using their God-given talents, Dave and Donovan decided to use a popular medium to get an alternative view across. It led to the formation of a Christian hip-hop (rap) band called Destiny Lab.
Dave and Donovan made music together long before they both became Christians. Even though Dave was raised in a Christian home, he was interested in the paranormal from a young age, and was especially fascinated by the UFO phenomenon. Being keen on special effects, he moved to Hollywood and soon began to blend his youthful faith with Hollywoodistic sci-fi. The influence became so strong that he concluded that the Bible authors mistook aliens for angels. His family realized he had fallen for the assumptions of evolutionary thinking, when Dave made the comment that dinosaurs were millions of years old.2 It totally surprised his brother, who challenged Dave to investigate the matter further by reading and watching creation resources. The lights came on when Dave started to see a more sinister underbelly to the whole UFO façade, and that such beliefs were full of New-Age teaching that undermined some basic tenets of the gospel. He says of this UFO/aliens scene: “At its core, it is a belief in materialistic evolution, one that denies acknowledgement of personal sin, and promotes self-deification. This leads towards greater evolutionary enlightenment, as in, ‘You shall become as gods’ type status.”3
‘At its core, it [UFO belief] is a belief in materialistic evolution, one that denies acknowledgement of personal sin, and promotes self-deification. This leads towards greater evolutionary enlightenment, as in, ‘You shall become as gods’ type status’
Donovan, like everyone else he knew, was also entrenched in evolutionary ideas. He says that although raised in an institutional church which he regularly attended with his grandmother, he was not a Christian. But, seeing the change in his friend Dave piqued his interest. Dave started to feed him creation resources. Wow! This really opened Donovan’s eyes to the truth claims of Scripture.
The road to ministry
Around this time they had been taking a break from making music together. But what better way to communicate to youth ‘street’ culture than to start a hip-hop group? So they re-united, and the group Destiny Lab was born. It’s ironic that ‘evolution’ got them back together again.
While some Christian artists have occasionally recorded songs that question evolution and openly endorse creation, for these two, this subject forms the major raison d’être for their band and its music.
Their music is sometimes comical. They occasionally dress up in ape suits, wear white lab coats and hand out monkey masks at concerts to highlight the issue. But their no-nonsense lyrics get straight to the point. For example, in their song ‘The Original Sin’ from the album of the same name, they sing “You ancient serpent, you cast your spell upon this planet with your graven images and your wishes to be worshipped.” One song is called ‘Evolve or die’ and is a critique of TV megastar Oprah Winfrey’s over-the-top endorsement of New Age guru Eckhart Tolle, whom the New York Times described as “The most popular spiritual author in the [US] nation.”4 Eckhart believes that man will need to accept the idea of evolution so he can evolve—or die. ‘True’ believers really know that God is within them, he says, and only the foolish look outside themselves for God, because transformation of the consciousness is the next stage of human evolution, when we can all become God-like.
Other Destiny Lab titles include ‘Who am I?’, ‘The Days of Noah’, ‘Natural Selection’, ‘The UFO puzzle’, ‘Born Again’, and ‘Bought by His Blood.’ They even have a song about the bacterial flagellum, a tiny electrical ‘outboard’ motor in supposedly ‘simple’ germs.5 These guys know their stuff, it seems!
‘People often say they dislike rap music. But we’ve found that many folks in their 50s or 60s love our stuff too. … Sure, some rap has a dark side but DL is trying to shine a light in it for Christ.’
Isn’t rap music bad?
Of course this is the inevitable question I had to ask, because a lot of rap music is associated with ego-centric artists who promote hateful lyrics. They responded by saying “People think hip-hop or rap is inevitably associated with a certain lifestyle, like street life, etc., but that’s not the case. It’s a music style or genre—not a package deal. What appeals to us is the particularly strong lyrical content of rap music.”
A little research indicates that the Psalms were originally chanted monophonically,6 and, probably, a capella.7 (One can definitely trace this back to the very early church, and ancient Jewish worship seems to have been much like this, too.) Rap also ‘speaks’ out its lyrics. This allows Destiny Lab (DL) to first and foremost promote the gospel message through their music. The focus on the lyrics emphasizes the biblical message of their music, through which many youth will be exposed to the Bible’s teaching for the first time. They add, “People often say they dislike rap music. But we’ve found that many folks in their 50s or 60s love our stuff too. Once they hear the lyrics they ‘get it’. We’ve found this immensely encouraging confirmation. After all, one wonders where Jesus would enter to preach the gospel. Sure, some rap has a dark side but DL is trying to shine a light in it for Christ.”
Influencing the culture
Their music has provided opportunities to meet diverse people, in particular, from New Age and occult backgrounds. They particularly wanted me to mention (so parents and churches could hear) that belief in aliens and UFOs is huge, and has a force of its own that drives popular culture. They often demonstrate the evolutionary link to life evolving on other planets8 by using quotes from CMI materials, including our book Alien Intrusion: UFOs and the Evolution Connection, in their performances and interactions. They’ve been getting a lot of correspondence from people wanting to know more. So they often send out their CDs, which open up even more opportunities to witness. They say the whole area of UFOs/New Age, etc. just presents “messages from entities that feed on the ego of mankind.”
The Internet is the main outlet for their music, which is available at major download sites like Amazon and iTunes. Physical CDs are available via their website, which also has some of their songs available for free.9 They have appeared on a myriad of radio shows and Internet broadcasts, and their videos can also be seen on YouTube. They also feature on various social networking sites.
At their live audience performances, without exception, someone always approaches them to say that the lyrics and songs have sparked a thought that needed investigation. This then allows them to forward more creation information including from creation.com. Obviously, they are not in this to make money or to be famous, but as their part in the Great Commission. Because they understand how foundational creation or evolution is to forming people’s worldviews, they focus on it in their songs.
Christianity has to be relevant if it’s the truth
Dave got quite animated, saying: “The church has really dropped the ball by not engaging the topics that can lead people astray. Evolution teaches people that they are nothing more than an animal. In one of our songs, called ‘Planet of the Apes’ we sing ‘What do we expect if the whole human race thinks they are just a mistake like the planet of the apes?’ It delves deeper, saying we should not be surprised that kids are getting into dark things if we tell them they are nothing more than an accident.”
Their passion comes from the fact they were well on their way to becoming just a couple of additions to the awful statistics that show how many youth are leaving the church today. That was, until they realized the truth about biblical creation that exposed the godless philosophy of evolution. They say:
“We have a song called ‘The good person test.’ It uses Scripture to highlight that there is no such thing, that all have fallen short of the glory of God. This is why Genesis is so foundational to the gospel. One cannot fully fathom the gospel, why we are here or where we are going to unless one understands the origin of sin [from the first man, Adam (Romans 5:12–19, 1 Corinthians 15:21–22)]. Evolution causes people to think they are good in their own eyes—just evolved—and that they are not sinners.”
Rapper nommes de plume
“Hi, I’m Dave—aka ‘Arkalogik’. My name is a spin-off from my interest in archaeology, which I think hugely supports the Bible’s history. I do the rapping and write our lyrics. Thanks to God, we have been called to glorify our Creator and expose the deception of evolution in a very unique way.”
“Hi, I’m Donovan—aka ‘Genetix’. My name is a spin-off from the study of genetics. I think this field is, and will continue to be, a huge confirmation that our Creator God is the awesome designer of all living things. I make the beats.”
Destiny Lab don’t usually give their surnames, but this is not just for the usual artistic reasons. They say, “We just want to give all the glory to God—so much of rap is about the ego and giving glory to self, and we want people to focus on our creation-based message, not us.”
From ‘The Happy Atheist’ by Destiny Lab
What exactly would you say if your child looked up at you,
And asked you about God and if He exists and if He’s true?
And wondered what would happen when someone dies, is there a heaven,
And what about that man upon the Cross, am I forgiven?
How exactly would you answer those hopeful little eyes,
When you’re college educated and convinced it’s all a lie?
Sure you went to Sunday School when you were young, but that was then.
You’re above those simple thoughts now the only God you know is man.
Are you saddened and ashamed to tell this little soul,
That you don’t believe in anything and have no reason and no hope?
Comments relating to this article were dealt with in the response Getting a bad rap. So, before commenting please read this associated article and the comments below it.
- Why only first names? See box above. Return to text.
- See creation.com/dinosaurs. Return to text.
- An allusion to Genesis 3:5, where the Tempter says to Eve that she would be “like God”. Return to text.
- McKinley., Jesse, The Wisdom of the Ages, for Now Anyway. New York Times, www.nytimes.com, 9 December, 2010. Return to text.
- See DeVowe, S., The amazing motorized germ, Creation 27(1):24–25, 2004; creation.com/flagellum. Return to text.
- “Monophony” comes from Greek for “one sound”, i.e. one melody with one sound at a time, with no accompanying harmony. Return to text.
- A vocal performance without instruments (Italian for ‘in the way of the chapel’). Return to text.
- See creation.com/lifefromplanets. Return to text.
- Free songs available by joining their mailing list at www.destinylab.com. Return to text.
To be part of and to employ aspects of another's culture to reach them is necessary; as demonstrated by Christ (Mark 2:16, 17) and described by Paul (1Corinthians 9:19-23); and as undertaken in the safety of 1John 4:4...
"because he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world."
...in order to glorify Christ.
At last a reason to like RAP music & songs!
Regarding people who think rap is "devilish" and that the music of their generation was more wholesome, here is wisdom from the Bible: "Do not ask, 'Why were the old days better than these?' For it is not wise to ask such questions." (Ecclesiastes 7:10)
Go Destiny Lab! God bless you boys and your music.
I enjoyed this article and the related one from two years ago. I am writing because I think it is important to distinguish between music that is used during formal worship services on the Lord's Day, and that which is used during other times, which Gary didn't do in either article. In the former case, my denomination strongly believes in the regulative principle, which essentially means that God's Word tells us what should take place/be used during worship services, and that anything else is forbidden. In keeping with that, we only sing the Psalms in our worship services. In Christian life, however, we have much more liberty to listen to or sing songs about or to God, provided of course that they do not violate any of God's laws (e.g. no profanity or taking the Lord's name in vain).
Thanks for these comments. But to be fair, in the article Getting a bad rap, Gary did say that the goal of Destiny Lab's music was to be more of an outreach, and "I would not call their style of music (and intent) worship, as in worship songs in church etc."
Rap is not my thing but i recognize that as merely being cultural preference. As a songwriter, I find opportunities to sing the Gospel at pub open mics and folk clubs. The songs that deal with the evo/creation debate can get some resistance, which i think is to do with Darwinism being a dark spiritual tool of the devil. However the same songs are also the most popular with many people,e.g.-dinosaur bone-guess what that's about!
Great news! This is exactly what's needed. Hopefully more young people will take the creation message into the field of popular music and challenge secular thinking.
The first thing I did was check all the feedback from the previous article. Then I checked YouTube for Destiny Lab items.
Well rap isn't my thing exactly but it has been evident throughout history that God meets people where they are and speaks to them in a language that they can understand so if this ministry is having results praise God!
As always Gary Bates' articles are balanced and demonstrate foresight that sometimes isn't evident in the Christian church and to the skeptics I note that nowhere does he suggest this as a worship style but as an evangelistic tool.
For those who haven't read his excellent book "The Alien Intrusion" Gary once again demonstrates a grasp on reality that so many miss. Particularly if they are trying to to fit into the theistic evolution camp.
Blessings to you Gary! Keep up the good work!
I just can't see Jesus talking about His kingdom in rap technique in the synagogue. And I am sure His body language at the sermon on the mount or even teaching the apostles how to pray would not give the evolutionist a link to their ancestor theory.
When I think about God's likeness in us, aren't we all seek harmony, peace, gentleness, softness, smooth sailing, relax or watching over a calm lake? The apostles were afraid and restless in the boat and the water was stirred up and wild but they found rest after Jesus calmed the wind and waves. Shouldn't we seek rest by Jesus and not being stirring up,became restless and nervous?
Lucifer in his original position oversaw the worship of the angels which also includes music.
As it can be seen clearly the 'music' which developed in the last 50 + years is an unrest noise, a disharmony, restless to push listeners up, make their blood rush or boil. And that evil is present is found in the lyrics and body language like the devil hand sign. I can't imagine that this kind of noise, sounding like demons are in pain, would be part of the New Jerusalem and then for eternity. Or this stupid 'bumm, bumm, bumm you can here from passing cars is constantly heard in heaven.
I can't see a worship value in this kind of noise which I am convinced is of primary reason for an ego issue. In those 50 + years the behavior of humans are more towards being recognized, any recognition; and as weirder the behavior as more attention is guarantied.
Wasn't Jesus calm at His trail? Is wild behavior a way of worship? Why then did Jesus drove the demons out of two possessed men? Their behavior was linked to demons.
Sadly we determine what God has to accept as worship or He misses out.The devil knows the scriptures and he knows Jesus but he is no christian
Thank you for these comments. A lot of people share this position. But respectfully, if you read the Psalms, not all of the Psalms are calming. Some of them reflect the turmoil in David's soul, and David was worshiping God out of that. God never tells us what instrumentation to use or what not to use, so I don't know if we can say that a certain sort of music is 'of the devil' or whether a certain type of music is God's 'favorite'.
Please see the article Getting a bad rap which addresses some similar concerns.
Whether music has either a good or an evil influence, depends on whose influence the musician is under; the Holy Spirit or the devil.
Much of today’s music (and film, books, art and the entertainment industry in general), lends itself to idolatry in respect to the way it puts anything and everything including the devil, on a pedestal, while making no mention of God except to slander or misrepresent him to the hearer.
It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise than for a man to hear the song of fools. Ecclesiastes 7:5.
Many are led astray by the song of fools
…for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction ['the highway to hell']. Matthew 7:13
And, “I did it my way” as opposed to God’s way, is the most common means by which we can find ourselves on this road to destruction.
Satan himself was the first one to perform this number and travel this road to his eternal ruin. And foolish Adam, the first man and also the first criminal, followed suit (but he was rescued by grace).
Music itself is good when it honors its Creator, but when used in the service of idolatry…
“Take away from me the noise of your songs, for I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments.” Amos 5:23
God is long suffering towards us, but it can only be a matter of time before…
“I will put an end to the sound of your songs, and the sound of your harps shall be no more.” Ezekiel 26:13.
Thanks for these thoughts. I agree that music's influence has to do with the spirit in which the musician is performing. And that's one reason it's so great that there are groups like Destiny Lab who are reaching people for Christ through this medium.
I am so excited for you guys!! It energizes my soul as I experience your talent, ingenuity and comittment to the TRUTH! God Bless you and keep you always! HE is soooo goood!!
[ I haven't even heard you yet, and yes I do enjoy rap with the right words! I look forward to getting a CD so I can hear your hearts! ]