A garden proclaiming creation
Carl Wieland visits Everard Noack’s unique public declaration of faith.
“Many of us Australians find it hard to talk about things other than football and such, things that are not the important things in life”, said Everard Noack when I met him at his property in Crafers, in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia. “So I wanted to be able to have talking points to share what really matters—my faith in Christ.”
That was the motivation behind Everard and his wife, Ruth, making their home one of the more than 700 ‘open gardens’ in Australia which welcome visitors on weekends.1
It doesn’t take long for visitors to see the evidence of the Noacks’ faith, displayed on many beautiful natural-wood signs. What is obvious, too, is the way in which the God of the Bible, not evolution, is given the credit for creation’s beauty.
And it is soon clear that Everard is not afraid to challenge the entrenched beliefs of his visitors on such things as evolution’s millions of years, and the prevailing view that fossils spell long ages. A major feature of the ‘tour’ on his 0.3 hectare (¾ acre) property is a visit to a small bunker labelled the ‘Catastrophe Room’.
This name has a deliberate double meaning. First, the bunker functions as a last-resort shelter (with even its own reflective heat-shield) in the event of a major bushfire (wildfire in US terminology). These are recurring concerns in the Adelaide Hills, with their long, hot, and dry summers. The dominant eucalypts able to survive such conditions have high concentrations of volatile, flammable oils. Longterm residents of the region have more than once experienced terrifying massive firefronts that race at express-train speeds through the treetops. The oil evaporates ahead of the visible flames before exploding into fire.
But inside the bunker is a display which majors on another, far greater catastrophe. In fact, a planetary-scale one—the global Flood of Noah (last image).
Everard was formerly a Technical Studies secondary teacher, with a particular interest in woodworking. Now semi-retired, he still operates a tree-felling and pruning business. Some of the trees he has been asked to fell have provided some of his beautiful wooden slabs and specimens.
The son of a Lutheran minister, Everard can’t remember a time when he would not have regarded himself as a Christian. However, at the age of 50, he says, he suffered severe depression. “It was so bad, I intended to walk away from my teaching career”, says Everard. “I would not wish that on anyone, but I now thank God for that experience. I see it as really having refined my faith. It taught me how dependent I was on God for everything.”
Out of the closet on creation
I’ve known Everard as a supporter of creation ministry since the late 1970s, in the earliest days of what is now Creation Ministries International. However, he says, “I was probably more of a ‘closet creationist’ for most of my life. I’ve always believed the Bible on origins, and seen it as the absolute authority. But I’m more intentional now in terms of talking about it and sharing it, and more passionate about it than ever. I’m passionate about the Scriptures being trustworthy not only when it comes to salvation history, but also earth history. Because people think you can’t trust the Bible about origins and history, it’s no wonder that fewer people in our society today believe the Gospel.”
Everard knows, however, that the evidence is all around us: “Every fossil speaks volumes. And every time you see a road cutting and the strata in it, there is evidence of massive watery action. If I can just open a few people’s eyes in this way, it will have been worth the effort.”
References and notes
- Coordinated through opengarden.org.au. Return to text.