Part 2: The first sparks of realisation
It was my very first university lecture. I remember it so clearly. It was a bright morning in February 1996, the time was around 8:00AM, and the subject was Zoology.
Like all other first year students, I was a bright eyed and naive, ready to tackle the ivory tower of tertiary education on my first day. As we settled down in the lecture theatre, the lecturer walked in. The students grabbed their newly sharpened pencils and waited for the lecture to begin. There was a moment of silence as the lecturer wiped the blackboard clean, and when he turned around he said, quite loudly (and I kid you not, these were his first words): "Ladies and gentlemen, there is one thing I want to make clear before I start: evolution is a fact." We were caught by surprise, and I remember sensing a few of the students squirming uncomfortably in their seats. He then began his lecture, the first of my university career.
That is how university approached the subject of evolution: uncompromisingly and without apologies. Evolution was taught as a strongly supported theory. As a first year student who was never fully exposed to evolution at school, I battled with it. All my life I had believed that evolution was not true, and that the creation story in the Bible was valid. If I look back now, my beliefs at the time had 'evolved' in high school from young-earth creationism to something that resembled ideas advocated by old-earth creationists like Hugh Ross: that the earth is indeed millions of years old; that humans were created by God separate from other species; that Adam and Eve did indeed exist; and that evolution was false.
But university seemed to put the spanner in the works where these beliefs were concerned. My beliefs regarding origins were starting to shake. As I wrote in my last post, many people who I grew up with considered evolution as an attack on Christianity and their personal faith. As a child I was taught that we as Christians had to constantly be on guard against evolution because it had the power to erode and weaken our faith. So my feelings regarding evolution during my first year at university were feelings of uncertainty and fear.
But the struggle was soon to end. . .
Next post: The golden thread
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