The trustees over Tennessee's Bryan College altered the school's long-held statement of faith. It used to say, "the origin of man was by [command] of God in the act of creation as related in the Book of Genesis," but since February it says in part, "We believe that all humanity is descended from Adam and Eve. They are historical persons created by God…."1 Some have connected certain faculty members' disagreement with the clear statement that Adam and Eve were real persons with their departures from the school. Students have circulated petitions and sent dozens of letters to the school board over the change and its fallout. Could these political problems stem from deeper issues?
Apparently, the administration chose not to renew contracts of some of those professors who noted their disagreement with the statement's re-wording.2 Nine of 44 full-time faculty will not be returning next fall, but the reasons for their departures may also tie to the school's financially tight times.
Nevertheless, students understandably don't like their beloved teachers leaving, some apparently over this specific issue. The students posted signatures in protest of Bryan College President Stephen Livesay, who told The Times Free Press "The reality is we are solid" after an April 11 fundraising event.2 But many students feel the school is not solid at all and that its President should more accurately reflect their perspective.
A rift has grown between some of the faculty and students on one side, and the administration on the other, all precipitated by changing a few words. What's the big deal?
Secular scientists agree that Adam and Eve never really existed. Any professor in that context who so much as suggests the couple were actual humans would immediately earn a red-flag for being completely out of touch with the supposedly overwhelming science refuting Adam.
Perhaps, as in most "Christian" universities, these secular concepts have either mingled with, or completely taken over, certain Bryan College professors' views of history. However, the evidence supporting Adam and Eve actually overwhelms secularist's atheistic interpretations of scientific data.
Take "junk DNA." Secularists and secularized Christians continue to lean on this concept because it seems to provide a vast playground of genetic material for extensive evolutionary changes to occur. Supposedly, evolution could have transformed chimpanzee-like junk DNA into human genes to construct modern man's genome. Now that actual science has diminished "junk DNA" from occupying what was once imagined as the vast majority of DNA, down to a tiny minority of any given creature's genome, human DNA sequence now best fits the concept of special creation.3,4 In other words, without junk DNA as an explanation we must have had Adam, not apes, in our past.
Even more DNA clues strikingly confirm Genesis history. For example, the three fundamental lineages of mitochondrial DNA, called "M," "N," and "R," likely correspond to Noah's three sons' wives.5 These mitochondrial DNA analyses exactly match Genesis 10:32, which says, "These were the families of the sons of Noah, according to their generations, in their nations; and from these the nations were divided on the earth after the flood." And why else would all men's Y chromosome sequences—regardless of tongue or tribe—trace back to a single consensus sequence if it were not that of Noah himself, who inherited it from the very real Adam?5
Surely Christian Colleges' students would be better served without professors who uncritically align themselves with antiquated secular speculations like junk DNA.
Even those evolutionists who inhabit Christian universities insist that similar body structures between apes and men (e.g., they both have two arms and two hands and five fingers on each hand) clearly illustrates their shared common ancestry and thus refutes the idea of Adam. But this logic simply ignores the possibility that a single, smart engineer could have crafted similar design features in different creatures. After all, different kinds of automobiles have four wheels instead of five, because their designers recognize that four wheels work so well for efficient ground transportation.6 Also, evolutionists almost never discuss the insurmountable differences between humans and chimpanzees, like their 900 million DNA differences.7
Atheistic, and sadly even Christian, secularists have also asserted that we could not have descended from Adam and Eve in only 6,000 years because this is not nearly enough time for mutations to have added the many DNA differences found throughout all peoples. However, this straw-man argument assumes that God did not build a host of variations into Adam's chromosomes right from the start.8 Clearly not all DNA differences between people arose through mutation. What if most of them were created for God's purpose of watching human diversity unfold through the ages as they filled His world?
So, there's no scientific reason to reject Adam and Eve. Perhaps if the dissenting Bryan College professors had more exposure to the recent, high quality science that confirms biblical creation, they would have applauded the trustee's wording changes.
Bryan College's president might have interacted more skillfully with others, but the decision to specify our ancestry in Adam as a statement of faith does not require the school's faculty or students to take a leap of blind faith into darkness that ignores science. Instead, it asks them to take a step of reasonable faith into a spotlight that science shines on Adam and Eve.
- Weber, K. Evangelical University Embroiled in Controversy After Naming Adam and Eve as ‘Historical Persons.' The Christian Post. Posted on christianpost.com May 8, 2014, accessed May 8, 2014.
- Hardy, K. Students have a message for Bryan College leaders: All is not well. The Chattanooga Times Free Press. Posted on timesfreepress.com April 29, 2014, accessed May 8, 2014.
- Jeanson, N. 2013. Does "Junk DNA" Exist? Acts & Facts. 42 (4): 20.
- At some point during human growth and development, in one tissue type or another, over ninety percent of both our DNA strands are transcribed. Much of it is transcribed in two directions, in those places doubling the information density of the molecule. In addition, recent genetics has revealed a second "duon" code that rides on top of the long-known "codons." Genesis creation is the only reasonable explanation for these and other fantastically organized DNA design features. See: Stergachis, A. B. et al. 2013. Exonic Transcription Factor Binding Directs Codon Choice and Affects Protein Evolution. Science. 342 (6164): 1367-1372.
- Carter, R. Adam, Eve and Noah vs Modern Genetics. Creation Ministries International. Posted on creation.com May 11, 2011, accessed May 8, 2014.
- Jeanson, N. 2013. Does "Homology" Prove Evolution? Acts & Facts. 42 (9): 20.
- Tomkins, J. 2013. Comprehensive Analysis of Chimpanzee and Human Chromosomes Reveals Average DNA Similarity of 70%. Answers Research Journal. 6 (1): 63-69.
- Carter, R. The Non-Mythical Adam and Eve! Creation Ministries International. Posted on creation.com August 20, 2011, accessed May 8, 2014.
* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.
Article posted on May 23, 2014.