|More than Academic
E. Norbert Smith, Ph.D.
The material in these essays is presented in an intellectual rather than a spiritual or emotional format. Many of the arguments are academic and some evoke strong emotion. In this educated and critical society there is need for such, but it is an incomplete picture. I pray the essays provide more. The issues discussed here have spiritual overtones and non-Christian readers will fail to grasp the details and underlying importance. There are at least two reasons for this. In part is a spiritual blindness or as the Apostle Peter says in II Peter 3:5 ungodly people in these last days will be willingly ignorant of the Creation and Flood. Secondly, and many of you have heard this preached from pulpits: “Most books must be understood to be accepted, but The Bible must be accepted to be understood.” Much of what Christians understand about Biblical teachings has been revealed and confirmed by the indwelling Holy Spirit. So it is with the Creation account, it is in part spiritually discerned. The unsaved reader will find the words nonsense. Some of the arguments will cause anger and resentment. Let me illustrate with an event that occurred many years ago, but affects me still.
Back when I was doing research and publishing technical papers I had many speaking invitations and spoke at scores of medical schools and universities. One summer I was invited as a seminar speaker to the Oklahoma University Field station on Lake Texoma. I had visited before and even collected snakes and frogs there as an undergraduate student. I felt honored to be speaking in Dr. Charles Carpenter’s herpetology class. He was the world leader in lizard courtship and is best known for his work with lizard push-ups. Males of each specie of lizard have a well-defined series of push-up displays they make during courtship or to threaten intruding lizards. These push-ups accomplish for mute lizards what singing accomplishes for birds. I talked about alligator thermoregulation and showed several beautiful slides. The talk was well received and upon receiving the honorarium, was told my presentation coming at the end of the summer was the most inspiring seminar of that summer’s series.
Following the talk, I retreated to the coffee shop for some refreshments before the long drive home. A few interested students tagged along. Some had specific questions about my research. Most simply wanted to discuss things biological. During the discussion the topic of evolution came up. I shocked them by stating unequivocally that I did not see the evidence for evolution and showed them how some of the so-called evidences for evolution can instead be seen a supporting Creation. We talked a bit more and I headed home weary but content.
Quite unexpectedly I received a letter from one of those students three years later. Nancy Long had been one of those students following me to the coffee shop. She was from Ohio and had been a high school student taking the course for honors credit. She had since graduated high school and was attending Oberlin College in Ohio. She remembered my talk, was interested in my research and wanted to work with me on some lizard research. A friendship ensued and we did some trivial library work with lizards. Dr. Stan Robertson was living at Norman and teaching at Oklahoma University at the time and helped her with library access. Later she accompanied me to the Cayman Islands where we studied sea turtles and published the results. During our time together she shared the results of my creation arguments given at the coffee shop. That discussion provides a bit of insight related to today’s topic.
It seems one of the students briefly shared my Creation arguments in Dr. Carpenter’s class the following Monday. Needless to say he was outraged. According to Nancy he ranted and raved the entire week about how dangerous I was and how people like me must be kept from impressionable students. I understand how academics in Biology would think my views uninformed or even ignorant. They might think only through ignorance could I fail to accept evolution, which is basic and central to modern Biology. That does not bother me and I understand.
To be considered dangerous is another thing. I am a physiologist. I would not in the least feel threatened if someone had an off the wall new theory about how the heart beats. My approach would be simple. Lets go into the laboratory, do some experiments and see which theory fits the data. Dr. Carpenter’s judgement that I was a dangerous threat to students says far more. To me it means he has unresolved fears that perhaps something is indeed amiss in evolution. How else can one justify such a strong emotional response? Unfortunately the story does not end here. Nearly ten years after my seminar I was in the final three for a research position at the Oklahoma City Zoo, a job I really wanted and was told I had. Dr. Carpenter was on one of the Zoo’s research committees and found out I was a contender and squelched my getting the appointment. As a sidebar Nancy graduated from Oberlin College and was accepted directly into a Ph.D. program at the University of Michigan where she finished in record time. She has since done postdoctoral studies with lizards in Spain and Japan for Yale and Harvard. She currently teaches at a major East Coast University. We remain friends.
There is much more at stake here than an intellectual understanding of the origin of the earth and mankind. The issues are even more than life and death for they are heaven and hell for all eternity. I can think of nothing more pressing. Lets return to Creation for a moment. All three persons of God were active in Creation. Then God (singular) said, "Let us (plural) make man in our image, in our (plural) likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." (Gen 1:26, NIV) The Holy Spirit was also active in creation: Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. (Gen 1:2, NIV) The Apostle John reveals Jesus the Son was active in creation. He also indicates a lost world (in darkness) will fail to understand. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. (John 1:1-5, NIV) The Word here is none other than Jesus, the Son of the Living God.
Probability and Eternity. Please indulge me for a moment. Lets play the “What if” game. What if some of the arguments regarding origins presented here and in the Bible are true? What if the heavens do declare the glory of God and not evolution? What if an almighty and loving God really did create our world and humankind? What if there really is a supernatural being determined to steal our soul and separate us from that loving God? Perhaps you think such a reality is remote. Okay, fine. How remote? What if there is but one chance in 100, in 1,000 or 100,000? Are you really willing to gamble your soul for all eternity on such odds? I taught electronics 5 years in a federal prison. One of the things that seems to differentiate the incarcerated from the rest of us is they were hard-core risk takers. Of the hundred or so inmates I asked, ALL would play Russian roulette for a million dollars. One said he would play once a day until he lost. Are you that kind of risk taker? Heaven and hell issues have a more serious effect than mere death of the body. Eternity is a very long time. Consider carefully your response.
There is a lie from the Enemy so entrenched in our society all have heard it and many believe it. The popular lie is the misconception that if there really is a heaven and a hell judgment will consist of Saint Peter or a bearded grandfatherly God weighing our good deeds against our bad deeds and if the good outweighs the bad we are welcomed through the Pearly Gates. Some view good intentions as sufficient to enter heaven. Many see other paths to heaven or nirvana. Here the Bible is unequivocal. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; (1 Tim 2:5, KJV)
This mindset of weighing good and bad deeds is in books, movies, cartoons, and on TV programs. Most Americans believe some version of this lie. Yet, nothing could be farther from the truth. The Bible plainly teaches sin, any sin separates us from God now and forever. From Genesis to Revelation God had a redemptive plan in mind for you and I. That plan involved the birth, sinless life, and brutal death by crucifixion, miraculous resurrection and ascension into heaven by Jesus Christ the son of the Creator-God. He paid a terrible price for our sins, but the work is complete and free for the taking. The Bible also clearly teaches there is a Deceiver whose motivation is your utter destruction. It is he who blinds this ungodly generation to the things of God. Although providing salvation cost God his only son, it is freely given and is as easy as ABC.
A. Admit Sin
B. Believe Jesus died for our sins and was resurrected.
C. Confess Jesus as Lord and Savior.
If you are willing to make a commitment to Jesus as Lord and seek salvation for all eternity pray the following prayer: Dear Father-God I admit I am a sinner and have sinned against you. Please forgive me for past sins. I believe your son Jesus died for my sins and was resurrected and today reigns in heaven with you. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Thank you for saving my soul. Teach me your ways. Amen.
If you prayed that prayer and meant it you are now a Christian. A supernatural transaction has taken place. Congratulations and welcome to the family of God. Let me encourage you to begin reading the Bible. Perhaps start in the New Testament with John or Romans and get into Acts. The book of Proverbs offers practical knowledge for Godly living and the Psalms provides encouragement. You also need to join a local church that teaches the Bible, not for your salvation, but for encouragement, spiritual growth and accountability. May God bless your decision and add knowledge, understanding and Christian friends.
Deeper Study. The following scripture passages deal specifically with the issues of salvation. Find them and read them in context in more than one translation. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Rom 3:22-23, NIV) For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 6:23, NIV) But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8, NIV) That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (Rom 10:9-10, NIV) for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Rom 10:13, NIV), One of the reasons we have the Bible is to know with certainty we have eternal life: I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. (I John 5:13, NIV)
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org