Young earth creationist and theistic evolutionist discuss beliefs

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Darrel Falk (left) and Todd Wood (right) share the stage and discuss their thoughts on what happened in “the beginning.” (Photo courtesy of the Department of Faith and Mission)

Ashley Coker
Staff Writer

Opposing viewpoints on creation have been on the minds of many in the Bryan community lately. Two of the most prominent positions were explored in chapel on Monday. Young Earth creationist Todd Wood and theistic evolutionist Darrel Falk took to the stage and continued an ongoing discussion about their opposing viewpoints and how those differing ideals can exist in respectful harmony.

Wood, president of Core Academy of Science in Dayton, was born and raised in a Fundamentalist Christian home and said he never went through the faith crisis that has become so typical of young adults.

In stark contrast, Falk, professor of biology at Point Loma Nazarene University and former president of The BioLogos Foundation, which “presents evolution as God’s means of creation, so that the Church may celebrate and the world may see the harmony between science and biblical faith,” said that he “struggled with the contrast between what was taught in biology class and the deep Christian faith of his parents” after entering college.

These two different experiences during young adulthood led to the different viewpoints Wood and Falk hold today.

Wood said he “knows the evolution community intimately” but has never encountered any piece of evidence that he considers “irreconcilable” to his belief in a literal six day creation.

After learning more about evolution, Falk has come to believe that “biology is the process of discovering how God created.”

This chapel discussion was more about modeling respectful dialogue about controversial issues than swaying students to one side or another. Both Wood and Falk said that it is their hope that open, ethical dialogue will prevent Christian students from leaving the church as the result of a faith crisis induced by the various ideals surrounding creationism.

To wrap up the discussion, Dr. Stephen Livesay, president of Bryan College, commended Falk on his courage to speak about such a controversial issue.

Livesay then said, “We believe that there was a singular Adam and Eve, we believe that Adam and Eve sinned and because of that sin that we have the incredible fall of mankind, and we believe that Adam and Eve did not descend from earlier lifeforms even as Mr. Bryan did. So that has been the historical position, continues to be the position of Bryan College.”

The discussion, sponsored by the Colossians Forum, was the third in a series of conversations about many facets of Scripture and unity that began in July, and was moderated by Rob Barrett, who was a research scientist for IBM for over a decade.

Wood and Falk continued their discussion Monday night at 7 p.m. at the Rhea County Courthouse.