Where can we find creation-based education in astronomy and geology?
Today’s feedback is from S.S. of the United States asking advice for the education of their children, who are interested in astronomy and geology. S.S is looking for recommendations on colleges, departments, and professors who support the young-earth, biblical position. CMI speakers Dr Tas Walker and Joel Tay respond.
We have several children in high school and as we evaluate their interests with them, we find that they are interested in the fields of astronomy and geology. Both of these fields are rampant with the "millions and billions" of years worldview. This very much frustrates our kids as they believe very much in the young earth/Genesis account of our earth and space. With your work and research in numerous scientific fields we were wondering if you are aware of any institutions/departments/professors who stand behind the young earth/Genesis accounts in the fields of astronomy and geology? Your assistance would be most appreciated as we have not had much luck in finding Christian schools that 1) offer degrees in the sciences and 2) stand behind the young earth/Genesis account of creation, especially in the fields of astronomy and geology.
CMI speaker Dr Tas Walker responds.
It is good that you have children interested in astronomy and geology. These are fascinating and important areas of science, but, as you say, they are rampant with the millions and billions of years worldview. And yes, that can be frustrating.
CMI periodically receives requests for us to identify Bible colleges/seminaries that believe/teach a straightforward reading of Genesis, but for a number of reasons, we do not provide a list of ‘young-earth’ theological colleges. However, we have prepared a questionnaire, which you can ask the college or professor to fill out. It will only take a few minutes.
It is important to understand that it does not matter where young people study, whether at a secular university or a Christian one, they should not accept what they are taught without question. They need to be discerning and critical of whatever they are presented with. Colleges can change with time as professors change, so we always need to do our own checking of the institution, which is why we prepared the questionnaire. The university situation is one where there is much peer pressure from the lectures, the faculty, the books set for reading, and the other students. In addition, the courses extend over 3 years or more, and so the ongoing pressure to conform is very strong. This is true even in evangelical theological colleges.
The problem is compounded because young people starting out are not well informed about each subject, nor are they experienced in how to engage in discussion. So, it’s vital that young people do a lot of reading and research BEFORE they start at college and continue this while they are there. It’s quite a challenge.
Also, it is important for a young person to think about where they would find employment after they have completed their course. With astronomy, they could teach at high school, or at university, or they could perhaps get a job in a government research establishment. However, it would be difficult to get a job as an astronomer without holding to, or paying lip-service to, the evolutionary worldview. A career in geology would be easier to come by and handle, such as with a mining company, or teaching, but it would be difficult to land a position in the geology department of a secular university without teaching from the evolutionary worldview.
So, it is important for your children to read as much as they can from a creationist perspective before beginning college. There is a good search box on Creation.com that allows them to investigate any topic they choose. As a hobby they would find research into these topics most fulfilling. Plus, they could end up contributing to creationist research by writing articles for Journal of Creation, Creation magazine, or the Creation.com web. Also, it would be important for them to read secular books and papers in each area as these have helpful information that is vital for a creationist researcher. I regularly refer to non-creationist literature when I am doing my geological research.
Many experts in creation research have begun their research work as a hobby, developed their ideas, and become world experts through their lectures and writing. Names that come to mind are Russell Humphreys, Michael Oard, Marvin Lubenow, and Peter Line, but there are many others.
One of our speakers in the USA, Joel Tay, studied biology at a secular university and theology at a liberal college with a view to doing creationist research. I’ll also pass your query onto him.
Here are two articles that help with study in a general way:
Dr Tasman Walker
Creation Ministries International (Australia)
Joel Tay also replied to S.S.
I would agree completely with what Dr Tas Walker has said.
There are several Christian universities in USA that hold to biblical creation. One that I know of requires all students complete a creation-related course if they are doing a degree in the life sciences, or if they are doing a Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies. But there are several other colleges depending on where you are from. Rather than recommending specific colleges, it is better to use the questionnaire Dr Walker mentioned to see where the college stands on a specific issue.
Dr Tas Walker has already mentioned this, but I want to emphasize how important it is. Your children need to do a lot of reading and research BEFORE they get to college. That means they need to know what evolutionists teach, and also learn to counter those arguments.
As Dr Walker pointed out, I earned a degree in evolutionary biology and genetics and one of the seminaries I studied in was unfortunately also liberal/Neo-orthodox. In other words, they regard the Bible as fallible and containing contradictions, and that its account of the creation/Fall/Flood in Genesis cannot be taken as scientifically reliable. The science degree was much easier to deal with as you can often attribute evolutionary quotes to different writers without holding to the same position yourself. E.g. Charles Darwin wrote, "blah blah blah …". The articles that Dr Walker recommended will be helpful. Still, it is important that your children are well-equipped to defend their faith even before they get to college. As it is, when I was doing my degree in evolutionary biology, everything I was taught about evolution was already addressed either in the books and DVDs, or from the Creation Ministries International’s website, and my evolutionary studies only ended up strengthening my faith in the reliability and inerrancy of God’s word.
On the other hand, it was much harder to do the same at the liberal seminary I attended. In these colleges the nature of theological papers often requires that students argue for their position after presenting various schools of thought. It is much harder to simply attribute a quote to a different author because with theology or philosophy, you are usually required to argue for your position at the end rather than just stating facts. For example, most theological papers require the presentation of original arguments, so it is not possible to simply cite other papers. Some of my professors would refuse to give an 'A' unless there are good original arguments in your paper, and you cannot really do that without arguing for your position. When it comes down to it, honour God first above your grades.
I was already well-read on creation apologetics and theology before undertaking both courses of study. Creation Ministries International made a big difference during my studies and I used to have the website as my home page for a while. When I was in the liberal seminary, out of the ~50 students (as far as I am aware), there was only a handful of students, apart from me who still held to a biblical understanding of God's Word at the end of the course. Many of the students that enrolled into the class encountered these liberal publications for the first time and had no answer and no defence to what they were reading. These students ended up being influenced by liberal theology in some form or fashion. In contrast, the students who were already familiar with Christian apologetics and theology ahead of time left unscathed.
The point is this. Your children will need to be equipped BEFORE they even begin their studies. Remember to keep them in constant prayer.
Creation Ministries International (US)