Growing up, I was interested in rocks, fossils and dinosaurs; I never had trouble believing in God—that He existed and created all things.
I remember my first Tyrannosaurus rex (T. rex) kit. I put the model skeleton together and was in awe of this fascinating creature. My dinosaur booklet explained that T. rex was about 20 feet tall and up to 50 feet long—wow!
This was the first time I learned about the so-called Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods of the Mesozoic Era, and learned that T. rex has supposedly been extinct for 65 to 70 million years. This bothered me because I could not understand why God would make certain creatures at different times, and my church never discussed these issues.
Growing up in Pennsylvania gave plenty of opportunities to observe nature—the “woods” was my second home. Along one of the trails was a talus (loose rock debris) slope. The rocks were being eroded from layers in the cliff just above the talus. I discovered fern leaf fossils—they were beautiful and perfect impressions of what appeared to be ferns. I tried burying them in mud to see if I could make my own fossils, but decided quickly that this idea was not going to work.
At college (1978–1982), the theory of evolution was the underlying philosophy for many of my geology courses. Mention of the theory occurred regularly in physical geology, historical geology, anthropology and sociology (I majored in geology). In anthropology, I was shown the typical monkey-to-man icon, including the supposed transitional forms. It was taught as fact and no one questioned it.
During sociology, the professor made remarks about women—that they had smaller brains and, therefore, were not as intelligent as men. Remarkably, no one, not even the women in the class, questioned it. Later, I learned that this colossal ignorance stems from the earlier 19th-century evolutionary beliefs; as far as I understand it, brain size has little to nothing to do with intelligence.
“Usshering” out the Bible’s timeline in geology class
I will never forget my first day in geology class. The professor mentioned the Bible, which somehow immediately got my attention; he then proceeded to explain that Bishop Ussher (this was the first time I ever heard of him) looked in the Bible and found out that the earth was created in 4004 BC. The geology professor then said: “We now know that the earth is much older than 6,000 years; that it is really approximately 4 to 5 billion years old.” Everyone agreed, including me—all in the class already “knew” that the earth was millions of years old, because we had been prepped by the dinosaur stories from childhood.
Six days = six geologic periods?
At this time I had never read the Bible, but I had heard that God made the earth in six days. Later, as I pondered the professor’s comments, a light bulb went on in my head, and I came up with the brilliant idea: the six-day creation I heard about must represent six geologic periods of time.
The very first question on my very first test in my very first geology class was something like this: Which of the following numbers is closest to the age of the earth: (A) 6,000 years; (B) 60,000 years; (C) 600,000 years; (D) 6,000,000 years; or (E) 6,000,000,000 years? I circled “E” and behold I got the answer correct. I do not remember anyone getting the answer wrong; that is the answer the professor wanted.
This particular professor was my advisor and taught many of my geology courses. One time he showed us a picture of two fossilized fish (complete with scale imprints from head to fin) in which the big fish was in the process of swallowing the smaller fish when they apparently became fossilized. We were all astonished by this and the professor thought it remarkable that this event became a fossil—but he did not elaborate.
Evolution and racism
During (and after) college I was convinced that man evolved at least from cavemen; sadly, because of this, I became convinced that “Negroes” were a lower form of man. I did not know where God fit in, but I still continued to attend church.
In 1982, I graduated (with honors) with a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in geology. After graduation, I moved straight to Houston, Texas, because this is where many geologists are hired. I guess I was a theistic evolutionist at this point (although I never heard this term until later in life), but I never became an atheist, for such a belief always seemed illogical to me.
Sometime after I turned 24, I stopped attending church altogether, but this all began to change in the fall of 1986. Flicking through the TV with remote control in hand, I came across a popular televangelist of that time. He was preaching against abortion, and he did so with great passion, which really caught my ear, for I never heard anyone ever preach against it—he actually spoke up and claimed that this was a horrible sin, and spoke of God’s coming judgment. Even though I attended church in college, I never heard anything of relevance or substance being preached, so something caused me to send the man a donation.
Another interesting thing occurred around this time. I had some car trouble, and a man on a bicycle stopped to help me. After we pushed the vehicle out of the way, I asked him if there was anything I could do for him, and he replied, “No, not for me personally. But what about sending a donation to KSBJ, a local Christian radio station?” I agreed, and followed through with the donation. I never saw him again, but he must have been praying for me.
I began to receive a lot of information from the televangelist and also came across the book The Seduction of Christianity. Also, when on the road for business, I began opening the Gideon Bibles found in hotel rooms.
In 1987, it all came to me. In a hotel room in Indiana, while reading in the book of Revelation, I dropped to my knees beside the bed and asked Jesus to come into my life.
This born-again experience was quite powerful. I repented and told God I was sorry for my sins.
During this time, I realized I was lied to by churches, the media and college about the validity of evolution. After being born again, I knew immediately that the theory of evolution was a lie.
My whole life turned around. I began to see all things in a brand-new way—I was a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17). I was very excited and began sharing Bible passages with my girlfriend over the telephone, who, about one month later, gave her life to Christ, and then one month after that, we were engaged. We were then married the following month.
Genesis, the gap theory and geology
I was still traveling and receiving more studies from the televangelist. He had a study called God’s Plan for the Ages in which he espoused the gap theory. I thought it was the greatest thing I had ever heard; it seemed to solve all the problems, particularly the fossils. Although I knew evolution was wrong from the moment I was “born again,” I still maintained that the earth was quite old.
In 1988, we joined a local nondenominational Bible church, and I began to serve as a junior high leader later in that year. I taught on various subjects, but the issue of evolution kept coming up. Although I “fell into the gap,” I also knew that some in the church believed that the earth was young, so I tried to avoid the subject because I knew it was going to take substantial study to tackle this issue from many angles.
At this time I started receiving catalogues from the Institute for Creation Research (ICR, near San Diego) because some of Henry Morris’s relatives were in this church and someone put me on the ICR mailing list.
This book opened up my eyes to what’s really going on, and forced me to go back to the Scriptures to review passages that claim to support the gap theory.The book that caught my eye the most was The Lie: Evolution by Ken Ham. This book had an intriguing cover: an evil serpent’s head with the word “evolution” written on the forbidden fruit underneath. After staring at the book’s cover in the ICR brochures for probably two months, I eventually bought it. This book opened up my eyes to what’s really going on, and forced me to go back to the Scriptures to review passages that claim to support the gap theory. Immediately, I discovered that verses were being pulled out of context, and that the verses used to support the hypothetical Lucifer’s flood actually were speaking about Noah’s Flood.
Over about two years, I crawled out of the gap theory and became a young-earth creationist—but that two-year period was, frankly, a struggle for me.
During one of these years, Dr. Henry Morris of ICR was speaking at a nearby church. When I heard that he believed the earth was no more than 10,000 years old, I began to mock him. I said to my pastor: “How can anyone believe the earth is so young?”; he replied that “it was possible.” This is all he said.
God was working on me. Eventually, I came to believe the earth was young and that scientists were the ones who were limited in knowledge and power, not God. Thus I was now a full-fledged young-earth creationist (this was about two years after I was saved).
I started attending the yearly Bay Area Creation Conferences held south of Houston, Texas, some members of which worked at NASA. This is the first time I got to personally see and hear well-known creationists, such as Drs. Duane Gish and Steve Austin of ICR; I also picked up an ICR Graduate School catalog.
Through much thought and prayer (and with my wife’s encouragement), I applied and was accepted in ICR’s geology program. I was working a full-time job in the groundwater-control business in Houston, and explained to my boss (who was also the owner of the company) what I wanted to do. He graciously gave me the time off … with pay! Since ICR teaches its courses in the summer, I was gone six to seven weeks each summer for the next three years, and also spent eight weeks in the field doing geologic research for my master’s thesis. I graduated in 1998 with a Master of Science in geology.
Meanwhile, back at the office …
My boss never bothered me for my beliefs; however, I did receive some resistance from my colleagues.
Then in the fall of 1999, I began a new position with a geothermal energy provider. Shortly after the new CEO arrived, I was called into his office. He told me that someone objected to the creationist posters hanging on my wall. He felt that office surroundings should be secular.
Everyone in the office had known what I believed geologically because I hung wall-size geologic maps in the long hallway at the company; by use of these maps, I explained creation and Flood geology to many coworkers and colleagues.
In the spring of 2002, I attended one of the regional Geological Society of America meetings. One fellow geologist who shared a van ride with me and other geologists quickly learned that I attended ICR. He could not believe it—that he actually met someone who went to school there. He explained that anytime ICR had a conference in his town, he was the first to speak out and cause a lot of trouble. We went back and forth the entire trip—all in the van heard our conversation and all were remarkably silent … except for us.
I have been involved in research, writing and presenting technical papers at the International Conference on Creationism (ICC) in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, area. I was the main author of a Flood geology paper in 1998, which was based on my thesis work at ICR. In 2003, I coauthored a paper with Hebrew scholar Dr. Bill Barrick on a detailed chronology of the Flood. From 1997–2001, I was the president of the Greater Houston Creation Association and am still a board member.
It has been an incredible learning experience. I now believe that when it comes to “origins,” the Scriptures should be searched first and foremost. After all, the Bible has been demonstrated repeatedly to be a sound historical document (and, of course, it is much more than history). While some passages in the Bible are poetic and some are symbolic, accounts (like the events recorded in Genesis) are written in a historical manner and should be taken seriously.
People have the capacity to investigate and study. No matter who you are, there is a reason you’re reading my testimony right now. The wisest thing to do is to at least read and consider the book of Genesis (and the other 65 books of the Bible) as God’s Word, and then consider the gospel message most of all.