With all due apologies to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I also have long had a dream—a dream of a great Christian creationist university and educational center, with teaching and research programs in all important disciplines at all levels of higher education. Every course and project in that dream university would be developed on strict creationist presuppositions, as well as absolute Biblical inerrancy and authority. Evolutionism and secular humanism would be treated adequately, of course, but thereby shown to be false and harmful in every field.
I have been dreaming such a dream for perhaps forty years, as a direct result of serving twenty-eight years on faculties of five great non-Christian, non-creationist universities and trying to maintain a genuine Christian testimony on those campuses while trying also to teach engineering in a God-honoring context to thousands of students from many backgrounds. With all the merits of our systems of higher education, developed over many centuries and countries, it is sad that nowhere in Christendom is there such a fully Christian university or educational center. No wonder our whole world is heading toward chaos, with students everywhere (except for those in a few small religious institutions) being indoctrinated in evolutionary humanism.
At my age, I realize I can never see the fulfillment of this dream, (well, maybe in the millennium!), but I have tried to make all major decisions, especially career moves and policies, in the context of such an ultimate goal, believing that such a focus would generate better long-range accomplishments in the short-run as well.
As to how such an educational center should be constructed, I believe God has given us the basics in the earliest chapters of His Word.
The Dominion Mandate
In the Old Testament Scriptures, the emphasis is largely (though not entirely) on God's chosen nation of Israel. In the New Testament, especially after the four gospel narratives, it is largely on the Church.
However, before either one of these even existed, there were some 2,000 years of human history (Adam to Abraham), where mankind was supposed to be functioning under the Dominion Mandate, (as outlined in Genesis 1 and 2, supplemented and extended in Genesis 9). Adam and his descendants were supposed to govern and utilize all of God's creation as His stewards, developing it for man's good and to the glory of God.
Such a ministry certainly would have had to build on what we now would call scientific research and development, then extend into construction, transportation, agriculture, communication, the fine arts, and a host of other occupations. Later, with the entrance of the discordance of sin into God's harmonious creation, the disciplines associated with human government would have to be included— indeed, all honorable vocations are now implied in the Dominion Mandate.
And certainly education would be a primary aspect! It would accomplish much of the original research, and then also it would be essential that all developments for fulfilling the mandate in one generation be transmitted to the next. Whether any such schools were ever actually set up in the primeval world has not been recorded, but in principle they should have been, for the mandate to be carried out.
This great mandate has never been withdrawn and is thus still in effect, whether men realize it or not. With the coming of Israel and especially the Church, it has been supplemented by the Missionary Mandate (what is now called the Great Commission, Matthew 28:18-20), which in a sense could even include the Dominion Mandate as part of the "all things" Jesus has commanded us to teach. The Missionary Mandate applies only to Christians, whereas the Dominion Mandate is still in effect for all men. But both do apply to us believing Christians.
To me, it is a great tragedy that Christians, for the most part, while rightly concerned with the Great Commission (witness the proliferation of seminaries and Bible colleges, as well as denominations and missionary organizations), have allowed all the other components of God's marvelous creation to become almost wholly dominated by secularism and evolutionism. Even the relatively few Christian liberal arts colleges have often yielded to compromise in this area. What could ever be done to change all this? What should be done?
The Structure of a Creationist University System
We do have an effective model to go by, in structure, though not in curricular content. A great modern university will have "colleges" in all the major disciplines, with undergraduate, graduate, and research programs in all their respective subdivisions. Today, these are being augmented to some degree by extension centers and on-line studies. For example, the University of Minnesota, where I taught for five years, has colleges of medicine, engineering, agriculture, business, and just about everything useful in our nation's economy. So does Virginia Tech, where I was an engineering department head for thirteen years. The university systems of California, New York, Texas, and other large states are even more variegated and far spreading. But they are all dominated and controlled by a philosophy of evolutionary humanism, and this, of course, trickles down into all the elementary and high schools, spills over into the handful of religious schools, and even comes to dominate the political system. But the structural model is good and has been effective in the development of all the leading nations of the world and their economies.
How wonderful it would be if at least one such university system would build all these same programs on the true Biblical Christian/creationist worldview! Such a university would include other divisions also—publishing, seminars, radio, television, museums, etc. All great secular universities include these as adjuncts to their ministry as centers of education. Such a Biblical, creationist, Christ-centered, educational center should also have all these, with all developed in the context of implementing God's primeval Dominion Mandate, as extended also by His Missionary Mandate.
Can Anything Be Done Now?
Not very likely, in view of the dominating interests of modern Christians in self-help teaching and subjective Christianity, not to mention denominational interests, turf wars, and the like. Many years ago, while I was still at Virginia Tech, I talked with administrators at several leading Christian colleges about the possibility of their developing their school into a creationist university, but all felt it was an impossible dream. Later, I helped in the founding of Christian Heritage College and then the ICR Science Graduate School in hopes that the two would eventually grow into such a university system. But that's another story, and it all may well be nothing but a quixotic dream.
And yet, as the old chorus goes: "God specializes in things thought impossible." In recent years, a number of Christian liberal arts colleges have become solidly committed to true Biblical creationism and Biblical inerrant authority. In addition to CHC and ICRGS, one thinks of Bob Jones, Liberty, Cedarville, Masters, Bryan, Clearwater, Pensacola, Tennessee Temple, Grace, and perhaps others.
If these could somehow form a cooperating, unselfish, coalition of some kind, and then if each could specialize and grow in a few other areas—one in engineering, say, another in earth science, another in business, and so on—it all could amount to at least the foundation of a nationwide, truly Biblical university system.
Furthermore, a number of other significant creationist ministries have come into existence in recent decades—the Creation Research Society, numerous other creation organizations (some local, some national), vast numbers of creationist books and videos, and all sorts of things that could help.
The situation is, indeed, much different and much better in many ways than it was forty years ago when I first began to dream about the need for a real Christian creationist educational complex.
What about the Cost?
That is a problem, all right. Practically all existing universities are supported largely by the government—through taxation, research grants, fellowship grants, etc. This is true even of most private universities, though the latter also often are able to generate large endowments through wills and special gifts.
Christian colleges usually do not have access to government money, and most would not accept it if they did, because most governments are committed to evolutionary humanism, and strings are commonly tied to any government largesse. Nevertheless, the wealth of the whole wide world is really in the hands of God. It is more a matter of how He leads those who have tentative earthly jurisdiction over those resources. And this may depend on the prayers and encouragement of those believers who become convinced of the primary (and eternal) importance of the Dominion Mandate in the purposes of God for His creation.
The Bible teaches that, in the New Earth which God will create after the last judgment, "His servants shall serve Him" (Revelation 22:3). This service will not be in evangelism, because everyone who is there is already saved. It just may be that the Dominion Mandate will then apply to the whole universe, and we shall spend eternity studying, developing, and teaching about all of God's creation.
Well, I said this was a dream. But it has been a pleasant dream, and a challenging and motivating dream, at least to me.