I was happily married, a mother of two, a successful career woman, and an excellent church lady. I had life by the tail. I was busy with my exciting research and very active in my church. I just never really tried to resolve the two. Some say you have to leave your heart at the door of the lab and your brain at the door of the church. Maybe that’s what I had been doing, but then . . .
I had to go to some scientific meetings in Washington, D.C., and my mother decided to tag along. It was a busy few days filled with scientific sessions and various meetings, interspersed with sharing some amazing food and doing touristy things with my sweet mom.
One afternoon found us at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. There, lining the walls of the exhibit on human origins, was a series of skulls. From very apelike to very human, the series depicted a gradual transformation that supposedly took place over millions of years. So there I stood, with my model of faith (my mom) and what seemed to be clear evidence for evolution (skulls) right there in the room . . . together. My heart and my brain collided. I looked at my mom and said, “What do I do with this?”
How did I balance what Genesis taught—that we were created on day six of creation week, some 6,000 years ago—and what my extensive scientific training had taught me—that we evolved from apelike creatures over millions of years? I can still hear her simple response: “Just have faith.” Oh, how I wished it were that simple! But this wrestling that I had glossed over and shoved down so many times came rising to the surface, and the nagging doubt that had been hanging out in the shadows of my faith was revealed. This doubt had been keeping me from really believing, from fully surrendering—without my even realizing it.
It wasn’t but a few weeks after our return that I got a call from my mom. She told me there was a conference coming to town that I just had to go to. I am embarrassed to admit this, but in my intellectual arrogance, I thought the conference was called Answers TO Genesis. Surely, they would be able to get the first chapter of Genesis squared up with all that we had proven through science! Turns out, the conference was called Answers IN Genesis. The answers would be found in God’s Word. The squaring up needed to be done in me! Would I trust God or man? In whom did I put my faith?
Despite a raging South Dakota blizzard, we made every session of that three-day conference. A parade of educated, intelligent, articulate scientists came across the stage, unveiling, not new evidence, but a new lens. A biblical lens. If you looked at the evidence believing the Bible to be true, it made perfect sense. It was like slipping into a pair of comfortable old shoes when I had been trying to walk in stilettos!
This was a pivotal moment in my faith. I became ravenous for “evidence.” Working at the university, I took advantage of the library—poring over scientific journals from geology to anthropology to archaeology. It was like scales falling from my eyes. To read the observations and conclusions through a biblical lens put everything in a whole new light. And it made so much sense! My heart and my mind could live in the same room! I could now take my heart to the lab and my brain to church. And it would change everything . . .
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27
It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. Psalm 118:8
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1–2