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A student at Concordia University asked me this question a few weeks ago in Austin. My initial reply was, “It ruined it!” I then elaborated on what I meant by this. It ruined my career as perceived by man. I will most likely never be able to get a job in a secular university or publish in a secular scientific journal in my field of expertise. I will never be awarded the National Medal of Science nor will I be asked to join the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
I’m fine with that. I don’t measure what I do in this life by what man thinks of me. As a Christian, my standard is God’s Word, and I am told to do everything for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). I want the praise of God, not the praise of man! The praise of man is fleeting, but the praise of God is eternal. Someday I will stand before God, and I want to hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).
As I was preparing this blog post, I was sent a link from a Q and A column for the website “Ask the Atheist.” The topic was Creationist Graduate Students, and a person posed the following question:
I am a graduate student in a molecular genetics department. In the past, our department graduated a student who now works at the creation museum in Kentucky [that would be me!], and is a huge embarassment [sic] to our program. Recently, I discovered that one of our most promising graduate students is a young-earth creationist. I don't feel like it is my place to tell her committee members, yet I feel like I have a moral obligation to prevent my department from granting degrees to these science-denying kooks. What should I do?I find it interesting that this person feels a “moral obligation” to do anything. He or she is being inconsistent with an atheistic worldview that does not provide a foundation or basis for morality. If the Bible is not the ultimate authority for determining right and wrong, and man is, then anything goes! But again, as judged by the world’s perception, I am an “embarrassment” to an entire university science department and a “science-denying kook.”
The reply to the question was surprising:
I wonder which is worse, that your graduate in Kentucky is an embarrassment to your program or that their graduate from your program is an asset to the museum.I have never heard an atheist admit that young earth creationists (YECs) can do good science and contribute to science! This atheist seems to understand the difference, at least to some extent, between observational science and historical science. It’s true that YECs and evolutionists approach observational science similarly because it is not based primarily on presuppositions or worldview. I am part of the Research Department at AiG and have published several papers in peer-reviewed technical journals based on my research since coming to AiG. The majority of the content of these papers focused on observational science. However, I would not have been able to get the papers published in a secular scientific journal, even though the science is good.
There are no grounds for holding the current student back based on beliefs as long as he/she is actually doing good work in molecular genetics. There's even room in the field proper for a young-earth creationist, because such a person might still contribute to our understanding of short-term processes while avoiding the long-term ones.
Why? Because of who I am (which a quick Google search would quickly reveal) and how I use observational science in the paper to develop creation models (historical science) that affirm God’s Word. But again, I’m fine with that. I’m thankful for the many opportunities I have as a research scientist at AiG and in the larger creation science community.
I don’t say these things to puff myself up or be a “martyr,” and I will admit that it is sometimes difficult to not have the praise of man. However, I am thankful that God has put me in this position so I can bring glory to Him by helping others—especially my own daughter—see the importance of storing up treasures in heaven and not on earth (Matthew 6:19–20).
I echo the closing speech of Martin Luther at the Imperial Diet of Worms, “. . . my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen.”
Keep fighting the good fight of the faith!
Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.