The Creation Couple
Whether challenging secularists on creation or abortion, this dynamic duo packs a powerful punch
Don Batten and Jonathan Sarfati interview husband and wife Dr Stephen Grocott and Dr Dianne Grocott. Stephen is a leading international research scientist in industrial chemistry, currently with a major firm in Queensland, Australia. Dianne is a qualified medical practitioner and psychiatrist. They have spoken on several occasions for Creation Ministries International. Whether challenging secularists on creation or abortion, this dynamic duo packs a powerful punch.
Interviewing two people at once was a new one for us, but it helped to have known Stephen and Dianne for some time. They shared how they each converted to Christ in their early thirties.
Dianne: ‘I was brought up in the church. I went to an Anglican girls’ school, where I sang hymns to the Creator at assembly, and learnt about evolution in the science lab, so at 15 I thought, “God is irrelevant; I’ll have to look after myself.” That ended any sort of Christian thing for me for a long time. To have some purpose in life I studied medicine—to help people. Then I trained in psychiatry because there people were looked at as more of a whole person. But psychiatry didn’t have the answers either. We were taught “the truth” according to Freud, Jung, the Behaviourists, and so on. But they contradicted each other. You picked one that you liked and believed that as “truth”, but it did not solve people’s real problems. People would confess to us bad things they had done, and then we’d let them decide whether it was all right to continue doing them. I realized that I was like a priest, and it scared me. I tried all sorts of spiritual disciplines, but didn’t find the truth until some Christian friends invited us to a meeting. I responded to an invitation to follow Christ.’
The Grocott family-Stephen, Patrick (6 weeks old), Rebekah (4), Dianne and Jeremy (7).
Stephen: ‘I grew up believing that we came from the apes. I didn’t have a Christian upbringing but when I was about 15, I went to a Baptist youth group for about a year, primarily to play table tennis. I remember thinking, “I would really like to believe what these people believe, but I can’t. That’s just not the way the world is.” By my early 30s I had had fantastic “success”: a high-paid job, world travel, a lovely wife, but no peace; I was completely empty and without purpose. When Dianne gave herself to the Lord, I thought it was just another thing which would pass, like Buddhism, and other “isms” she had looked into. The pastor visited us to go through a tract with Dianne. I was eating, uninterested. He came to a page with man on one side of a chasm and God on the other, with the Cross as the bridge—Jesus. He was reading how man has his struggles, strife, pain, etc. and I thought, “That’s life, big deal.” And then he said that in God there is peace. Bang! The Holy Spirit “grabbed” me. But I still had a question about evolution/creation. The pastor said, “The Bible says creation, so that’s the way it is.” So I just believed that, but wondered what my friends would say. So to equip myself, I read voraciously. The materials from Creation Ministries International were just fantastic. For me, creation/evolution was not the key in coming to the Lord, but it has been so important in strengthening my faith since. Without that I would be just blown around.’
We asked whether acceptance of six-day creation was important.
Stephen: ‘As a scientist, I try to think logically—I just couldn’t consider having a Bible where some of it was true and some not—you believe the whole thing. I never tried to believe the days were long periods of time, or anything like that. It was just all or nothing. Some people say that we should leave aside the meaning of the days, that it is a stumbling block, but the true stumbling block is compromising God’s Word. Becoming a Christian, knowing that the whole Bible is true and God is the Creator—suddenly the whole picture made sense. The logic, and the watertight internal consistency of the Bible, and its consistency with what we see in the world, really impressed me. That’s undermined by long-age beliefs.’
We discussed the supposed conflict between ‘science’ and the Bible.
Stephen: ‘Though I’d been working as a scientist for 10 years, I really only learnt what science was through Creation Ministries International. Some of the things people call “science” are really outside the realms of science; they’re not observable, testable, repeatable. The areas of conflict are beliefs about the past, not open to experimental testing. Take radioactive dating; you can measure decay rates and isotope ratios today, but you can’t extrapolate back to some time in the past when you couldn’t measure it. I’ve been asked if disbelieving evolution hampers my research. It doesn’t, because I work in real, experimental science. But belief in creation gave me an appreciation for the beauty of what I was researching. A proper scientific hypothesis needs only one contrary observation to prove it wrong. With evolution, you do not observe the predicted accumulation of information—you see a loss of information. And you do not see the millions of transitional forms there should be. So, if evolution was a scientific concept, it’s been falsified. So why do scientists believe in evolution? The same reason anyone believes in it—because everyone else, including scientists, seems to, and it’s what you are taught. Also, for a non-Christian, the alternative (creation) can be unpalatable.’
We enquired about those who say that we should reinterpret the Bible to fit in with ‘science’.
Stephen: ‘That shows a lack of understanding of science. In science you make observations, you try to come up with a hypothesis, an explanation that works, and you publish it. But a later experiment may show the hypothesis is wrong, and so you change it. So science is always changing and you would be constantly reinterpreting your reinterpretations of the Bible!’
Dianne’s work changed radically, as she shares:
Dianne: ‘It was amazing. The hardest thing was realizing that I now had the truth, that God had the answers to people’s problems, but I didn’t know how it fitted with my work. In spite of secular psychiatrists’ gradually recognizing a spiritual component to people’s lives, they basically don’t deal with that. They might send someone to, say, a meditation course, but the“spirituality" is very much “New Age”—i.e. "God" is “everything”, rather than being the Creator who made everything. Doing a course in Christian counselling made me even more unsettled, because I now had some tools that I could not use where I was working, in the public service. I then had children and was out of psychiatry for a while. That was good, because I had been very evolutionized. Before I could work as a Christian psychiatrist I had to unlearn a lot of evolutionary thinking. Later I went into private practice with a group of Christians. It’s great having the freedom to address spiritual issues, as well as biological, social and psychological ones as appropriate. When Christians seek help with unresolved spiritual issues, I am free to help. People know they are coming to a Christian counselling centre, so with people who know nothing of God but are receptive I can sow seeds or at least pray for them.’
Is the ‘boom industry’ of counselling a symptom of a society that has turned its back on God?
Dianne: ‘Absolutely. Many people are looking for answers, but in the wrong places. True life is not found in drugs, addictive behaviours, the pursuit of possessions or achievement. These contribute to a lot of psychological distress for which people seek help. Secular counselling and medication are often helpful but they don’t fix the deep down problems of people who don’t know God—who don’t have a purpose for living. You have to be reunited with your Creator for that. Our society, our schools, the media, are telling us we’re insignificant specks in a meaningless universe, but God says He sent His Son to die for us.’
Stephen’s work in industry has made him a target for the radical Green movement.
Stephen: ‘I see in it a worship of the creation—it’s the God-in-everything idea again—not the Creator. God makes it clear that He wants us to care for His creation, to be stewards of it. That means we are not to abuse the resources, but to use them sensibly, and for His glory. But in “Green" thinking, man is not the pinnacle of God’s creation; he is just another evolving animal. When you see how they value animals over human life, it’s pretty scary.’
Dianne sees the impact of ‘we are just animals’ in her involvement in the Right-to-Life movement.
Dianne: ‘If we’re just evolved animals, why not have an abortion if the lady feels like it? Most people don’t really understand how abortion can affect, not only the baby, but also the mother and the father, long-term. If you kill your child, you can’t go back to the time before the pregnancy. You are now the mother (or father) of a dead child. Even non-Christians feel grief, guilt and loss of self-respect. I’ve seen people who have felt so bad after abortions, they’ve gone into promiscuity, drug abuse or depression. But I’ve also seen the Lord forgive, heal and restore lives damaged by abortion.’
In medical school, Dianne was taught the fraudulent ‘embryonic recapitulation’ theory, in which human embryos were supposed to go through a fish stage, then an amphibian stage, etc.
Dianne: ‘This idea has been used to persuade women that abortion is not destroying a human. But those in the abortion industry know they are dealing with live children who become dead children. That’s why abortion clinics do not show the pregnant woman the ultrasound of the baby. I have met women who were told after abortions, “Here is your blob of tissue,” but it was the afterbirth; the broken parts of the baby went into another bucket. They were lied to, but if we all just evolved, and the Bible isn’t true, why should an abortionist worry about God’s commandments against lying—or murder?’
Many think oil takes millions of years to form. But Stephen has been researching the rapid formation of oil from rock.
Stephen: ‘You can heat the organic precursor to oil, kerogen (a polymer derived from plants and algae, and found in certain rocks), in the absence of oxygen and get oil in seconds. And even at temperatures less than 300°C, this will happen by “hydrous pyrolysis”, in the presence of certain clay minerals, which are as common as muck. You get such conditions beneath the earth. I am not saying it takes seconds to form kerogen, then oil, but it certainly does not need millions of years—under the right conditions it only takes months, decades or hundreds of years.’
Both Stephen and Dianne see lots of evidence for a Creator in their fields.
Stephen: ‘I see the beauty of the way that molecules go together, the systematic nature of chemical structures and the laws that govern their formation and arrangement. I look at that and I say, “Man, this is complex, but it fits together by all these really neat rules. Where do they come from?” The chemistry of life is scarily complex. That people can even contemplate it making itself staggers me. Speaking to colleagues about it, they often get themselves into a logical corner, and then it gets down to the bottom line—a spiritual issue. It is wilful unbelief.’
Dianne: ‘I see “design” in the way human beings are meant to relate to God and to each other. I see people who are angry, sad, guilty, perturbed and distressed in many different ways. When people get right with God a lot of problems often improve. Over time their relationships with others improve, and as their symptoms improve they may not need as much, or any, medication. Some psychiatric illnesses have a biological basis (genetic mutations have been accumulating since the Fall). Getting right with God allows people to cope better with illness and other challenges. There is increasing research showing that people with faith enjoy better mental health and relationships. Evolution-based attitudes (“the strong wipe out the weak”—opposite to what God has designed) favour violence, exploitation and abuse, which do not lead to peace and joy.’
Stephen and Dianne found that their marriage took on new meaning and stability when they both submitted to Christ:
Dianne: ‘As an evolutionist, I believed that marriage was basically getting what you need from the other person, so you have to enter into a sort of contract. You’re constantly in a state of tension, trying to make sure that you get as much as you need without losing too much. Christian marriage is not like this. It is God helping two people be together and be one, and when you get to the point where God meets your needs, you can be free to serve each other. To each I would say, “Look to God to meet all your needs, and be prepared to lay down your life for your spouse, to give all on the mission field of his or her life, and God will supply your needs.” Doing that, marriages start to really change. And the closer couples get to God, the closer they get to each other. I have seen that in the counselling room and in my marriage.’
Stephen: ‘Before we became Christians, we might have had another couple of years left and then it would’ve been all over. As Christians now, we say that God has written the rulebook about marriage, and about everything else, in His Word. Sometimes you don’t want to do what He says, but you do it and when you see the results you have to say, “Wow!”’
A Handy Argument Against Evolution
For his Ph.D., Dr Stephen Grocott worked on optically active compounds (these can exist in mirror-image forms of each other, like right and left hands). Life depends on having only pure forms of these (only one ‘hand’). But if life began in a chemical primordial soup, there was no means of supplying the necessary ‘single-handed’ compounds. When Stephen synthesized optically active compounds, he always had to start with an optically active substance that was ultimately derived from a living source. With a bit of warming, his optically pure solution would decay back to a 50:50 mixture of right- and left-handed forms. He says:
‘Even if there were some source of optical activity in a primordial “soup”, it would quickly disappear anyway. The recent idea of polarized light from a nearby galaxy doesn’t help. They talk of it possibly causing a slight imbalance, say 51% right-handed and 49% left-handed. But in time that will decay anyway, and you need 100% pure, not just a slight excess.
‘I enjoy seeing the mental gymnastics of people trying to explain the origin of life. Most researchers in the area are honest enough to say they haven’t got the faintest idea how life began from non-life. The mind boggles at the complexity of the simplest single-celled organism-and the more we learn, the more complex it looks.’