Speaking to an almost empty lecture hall!
The university lecture theatre was designed to seat almost 100 students, but here I was talking about the origin of life to a mere three—yes, three—students! Let me tell you about it.
A graduate student and friend wanted to share his belief in God as the Creator and Saviour with his colleagues at the university. He had noticed that during a certain lunchtime period a particular lecture theatre was not in use. In trepidation, he approached the Head of the Department and asked if he could use this lecture theatre in order to tell students and staff in the faculty about Jesus Christ and the Bible.
The Head of Department (himself a regular churchgoer) said that he could have it, and so the student asked me if I would be willing to give a talk about the origin of life. I agreed.
The lecture was advertised using posters and personal invites. When I turned up a few minutes before the start of the lecture, there was just the organizer, together with one other student—a friend of his who had helped him with the publicity. Just before I was about to start, one other student arrived—a stranger to all three of us.
I spoke for about 40 minutes about the impossibility of chemical evolution and the impossibility of the genetic code originating by itself from matter, and of how reasonable it was to believe that God was the Creator of the genetic code, the author of life, and so on. At the end of the talk, the student got up quickly and walked out without speaking or responding to us. Frankly, we wondered if the whole exercise had been worthwhile.
Several years later that student wrote to me. He told me that during the talk I had literally hammered nails into the coffin of his unbelief in God—and into the coffin of his belief in evolution. He explained to me that at that time he was an atheist, and that all he lived for was the study of evolution. He had gone to university to study this subject—he was majoring in biology.
The student told me that by the end of the lecture, he felt suicidal. He felt that he no longer had anything to believe in. Over the next few months, this student sought help from counselors—but all to no avail. Eventually, he decided to try to find some Christians to see if they could help him. They did, and shortly after that he became a Christian.
After this student graduated, he worked full-time in the Lord’s work and eventually became a missionary and served the Lord in the Middle East—taking the Gospel to Muslims!
Whenever I’m asked if I would be willing to speak at a meeting when there would be only a few people attending, I always say ‘Yes,’ as I often think there might be someone in the audience who will have their belief in evolution shattered, respond to the message of the Gospel, and eventually become a fellow-worker for the Lord.