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The Unforgettable Flight

by guest writer Doug Hillson

[Introduction by Richard Peachey — This past fall [2016] I taught an evening course on Genesis 1–11 at Willingdon School of the Bible in Burnaby, B.C. For the final assignment, students were asked to create a 2,000-word conversation with a skeptical acquaintance. The topic of discussion was to be the credibility of those early chapters of Genesis. Students were instructed, "Your acquaintance will raise a variety of concerns including apparent internal contradictions within the text, and apparent (or real?) conflicts between Genesis and modern 'science.' You should respond honestly, giving helpful information if you have it (or can locate it), and admitting ignorance when that applies." What you are about to read is one of the best responses I received to that assignment. Doug Hillson and his wife Elizabeth, who both took the course, reside in Abbotsford, B.C.]

It was one of those long flights that I dreaded. However, it was worth it to pay a visit to our daughter’s family and the cute grandkids. The plane was full and I was seated in seat 9c next to a young, well-dressed professional-looking man seated in 9b. He was quite friendly and we enjoyed a little interesting small talk before it became quite fascinating.

Doug:  This plane is full again. It’s always full on this flight.
   Dirk:  You must fly this route quite often.
Doug:  About twice a year we visit our kids and grandkids in Ontario. My wife is already there, having flown last week. And you?
   Dirk:  Just on my way back to the university to teach the next semester. U of London. Home is actually Chilliwack where I was raised.
Doug:  That’s in the Bible Belt isn’t it. Lots of churches in the Fraser Valley. I know—we go to one in Abbotsford.
   Dirk:  I know all about that, was raised in church, even took a little Bible school but it’s not for me. When you get into academics you realize that the Bible stories are, well, just stories. And science disproves so much of what I used to think.
Doug:  That’s fascinating. I have heard that many profs have the goal of destroying the faith of Christian students, but there’ve been quite a few scientific discoveries that actually support the teachings of the Bible, for instance, Genesis and the creation account. By the way, my name is Doug.
   Dirk:  Dirk here. Science isn’t my field, English is, but no faculties would consider Genesis credible. No offense Doug, but science proves the earth is billions of years old through radiometric dating, fossils and so forth.
Doug:  I know that many scientists have a philosophy of naturalism which doesn’t allow for a young earth so they don’t accept any results that contradict their preconceived bias. For instance, in carbon-14 dating, all the carbon-14 should be completely decayed within 50,000 years but carbon-14 is still found in coal and diamonds which they claim are millions of years old. Potassium-argon dating has similar problems with dates of six to eight million years for lava that is less than 200 years old. And the scientific establishment just rejects any dates that don’t agree with their theory.
   Dirk:  Are you serious? That wasn’t mentioned in any of my college science courses. But what about dinosaurs. They’ve been gone for millions of years.
Doug:  According to mainstream science, they disappeared 65 million years ago, but again, that’s based on false dating. You know, they’ve found red blood cells and soft tissues in dinosaur bones that could only last thousands of years at the most. And then there are the multitudes of drawings, sculptures and first-hand accounts of dinosaurs done in historic times which means dinosaurs lived in relatively recent times.
   Dirk:  Wow. That’s crazy. So you believe in a young earth? But at the Bible school I attended they said that God probably used natural means to create the earth and that it took long ages, which agrees with the science these days.
Doug:  Unfortunately there are a lot of Bible schools that have compromised with the secular scientific community on this topic. You see, the word for “day” as used in Genesis 1 is most certainly referring to a 24-hour day and also, the expression “evening and morning” makes that clear. To say that God must have used only natural means to create everything is to ignore the fact that He used supernatural means to accomplish many things in the past such as the confounding of the languages, the crossing of the Red Sea, the virgin birth and Christ’s miracles, to name a few. To refuse to accept the supernatural creation of Genesis as plainly written is to open the door to skepticism about the rest of Scripture.
   Dirk:  I see. They are trying to make the Bible somehow fit with current science.
Doug:  Yes. And that brings up another subject—the definition of science. You see, there is operational science, things you can test and measure and observe, and then there is historical science which is the study of the past and things you cannot test or observe and requires assumptions. Most secular scientists don’t distinguish between the two but think they can make statements about the past that really are in the realm of theory and philosophy, based on a belief system, not observable operational science.
   Dirk:  I think I understand, but do any credible scientists subscribe to what you’re saying?
Doug:  There are many. There’s an incredible bias against creationists in academic circles, scoffing and ridicule as well as a refusal in many cases to allow them to publish in journals, teach their views or even remain in their positions. But their numbers are growing I’ve heard.  Did you know that many of the founders of modern science were Bible-believers, men like Bacon, Kepler, Newton, Mendel, and Maxwell?
   Dirk:  You make it sound like a conspiracy. Maybe it is. I’ll have to talk to the science department at the U. of London. But at my old Bible school they were quite open-minded about different ideas about origins, from evolution to a gap-theory and long days of creation. Confusing!
Doug:  Yes, unfortunately, like I mentioned, there are few schools left that have stuck with the literal account. There are genealogies in the Bible that list a line of ancestors right back to Adam, which shows the origin of man only goes back a few thousand years.
   Dirk:  Oh yes, my prof at Bible college said that there were lots of missing generations in those genealogies and mankind goes way back in time. Something about lists being compressed and borrowed from the Babylonians.
Doug:  Once again, it is true that things like this are taught, partly in order to be able to claim that the Bible copied ideas from other ancient sources rather than being the original God-given truth. However, the genealogies in Genesis specifically state the age at which the individual fathered his descendant and his age at death. It’s quite comprehensive. The fact remains that the New Testament teaches and speaks of the literal creation as in Hebrews 1:2, Ephesians 3:9, 2 Peter 3:5, and many other places as well as references made by Jesus Himself.
   Dirk:  Pretty convincing, if you actually believe the rest of the Bible is true also. One thing that always threw me is how the plants could be created before the sun. The sun is needed for plants’ survival.  Also, how could you have a 24-hour day without the sun?
Doug:  Good question Dirk. Really, all it takes is a rotating planet to get a 24-hour day, along with a light source which God provided.
   Dirk:  So I suppose you also believe in the big flood. You know, all the animals in one boat and the entire earth covered with water. How could that ever be? Imagine Mt. Everest covered by water!
Doug:  I plead guilty Dirk. Yes, I believe all that flood stuff. You see, the ark was actually the size of a freighter and representative animals of each kind were saved, not every species we have today. For larger animals there may have been juveniles selected for the ark trip to save space.  It was a monumental task, but Noah had lots of time to prepare and of course, God’s help in rounding up the animals.
   Dirk:  But what about the amount of water needed? I can’t see rain doing the trick.
Doug:  Actually, you’re right. There was a lot more at work than rain. The Bible says that the fountains of the deep opened up, and there would have been a lot of major shifting of the landforms. Before the flood the earth was likely much flatter, and during the flood the mountains lifted up. That’s why you find sea life fossils high up on Mt. Everest. Some try to say it was only a local flood, but then people would just have to move to higher ground, no need for a huge ark to save Noah and the animals.  After all, there are flood accounts world-wide, not just in the Middle East.
   Dirk:  Once again, I’m surprised by all this information. They sure didn’t explain all this in my Bible school. And the science department at the university would probably scoff at it.
Doug:  Yes, sadly, that is probably true. None are so blind as those who will not see. How about you Dirk? Does this all seem to make sense to you? I know you have quite a bit of Bible background but perhaps not presented in this way. It involves taking God’s Word just as it reads and seeing things through the lens of Scripture and not through the fallible lens of secularism and cultural-political correctness.
   Dirk:  Doug, you know, I am starting to connect the dots, the facts as seen through Scripture make more sense than the secular view. Now what am I to do with this knowledge? How is this to affect my life?
Doug:  That’s the best question you could ask Dirk. I’m sure you’re familiar with the account of man’s fall in Genesis 3 where Adam and Eve sin against God by taking of the forbidden fruit, resulting in their banishment from the garden and the cursing of the world and their descendants right up to today. In Genesis 3:15 the Lord God said to the serpent, Satan, that He would put enmity between Satan’s offspring and Eve’s and that her offspring would bruise and crush his head under foot and Satan would only bruise His heel. This refers to the coming of Christ, the Messiah, to defeat the devil and to provide salvation to those who believe in Him. So God was already beginning to reveal a plan of salvation for His people immediately after the fall. And today we have the recorded words of Christ and the apostles which further clarify this way of salvation based on the substitutionary death of Christ on the cross for sin and His resurrection from the dead. Scripture says there is no remission of sin without the shedding of blood. The first example of this was when God shed the blood of animals to provide clothing for Adam and Eve in the garden—the shedding of blood to provide a covering for sin.
   Dirk:  Yes, I’ve heard some of this in Bible school but it seemed quite theoretical then. So people are naturally in rebellion against God just like Adam and Eve, unless they turn over a new leaf, so to speak?
Doug:  That’s not quite right. You see, on our own, we are not able to please a holy, perfect God. Scripture states that our righteousness is as filthy rags and that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. So turning over a new leaf doesn’t cut it. We need to cry out to God repenting of our sin and claiming His gift of salvation and committing our lives to Him. I think of John 1:12, “But as many as received Him gave He the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” God does the work in us, something we ourselves cannot do.
   Dirk:  Since I left the church as a teen, I have done many things that I need to repent of. And I have felt guilty but didn’t know exactly what was wrong or what to do about it.  Also, I have been rebelling against everything to do with church and the Bible and even claimed to be an agnostic. I’ve got to take God’s gift and let Him change me. This is exactly what I need.
Doug:  That’s great Dirk. You just need to pray to God and express those thoughts of confession, repentance and belief in Him and the work of Jesus, God’s Son, on the cross for you personally.
   Dirk:  Thanks so much. I’ll pray silently right now and settle this with God.

(5 minutes later)

   Dirk:  Boy, this feels so good and what a relief. Thanks again for sharing all this with me.
Doug:  You’re welcome and now try to find a good, Bible-believing church and get involved there. Tell people what you’ve done, or should I say, what God has done in you.
   Dirk:  Look, the lights of London. That flight went by like a flash. But it has been life changing for me.
Doug:  Yes, that’s for sure. And we need to exchange emails and keep in touch.
   Dirk:  For sure. We’ve touched down. Time to get our bags.
Doug:  Let’s go, brother!

And so ended the unforgettable flight that resulted in a conversion in the clouds!