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Special... or just a Caveman?

The Steve Noble Show / Steve Noble
The Truth Network Radio
October 27, 2022 10:58 pm

Special... or just a Caveman?

The Steve Noble Show / Steve Noble

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October 27, 2022 10:58 pm

Special... or just a Caveman?

Steve talks to David Lovegrove and Brent Cook from BJU Seminary to talk about the book “How to be Animal”.

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The following program is recorded content created by the Truth Network. Welcome back to, and now, here's your host, Steve Noble. Okay, listen to this concept.

Welcome back. This is Steve Noble. The human species is an integrated part of the life on our planet, however, big comma, not an exceptional creation by itself. Let me read that again. The human species is an integrated part of the life on our planet, right? Part of the ecosystem, right? Okay. But not an exceptional creation by itself. Now, we discussed this book, How to Be Animal, a couple months ago.

Talking about this, they did a special forum in it, and we had a great conversation about it by Melanie Challenger as the author. And then today, we're going to kind of go back to this and look at this notion and these competing ideas about man is something exceptional. This isn't American exceptionalism, okay? We're just talking about mankind is something exceptional, out of the ordinary, not just another animal, not just another branch in the evolutionary tree. So there's that side of it. And then there's the exact opposite, that mankind is just and highly evolved animal. We just evolved out of the chimpanzees. And so when you look at things like art and whatever, it's not indicative of something special about us, it's indicative of something else. So reading from an article in 1925, the year the scopes monkey trial GK Chesterton published, what I regarded as his most creative and insightful work called the Everlasting Man, a line from the Everlasting Man came to mind repeatedly, as I worked through Melanie Challenger's book, How to Be Animal, a new history of what it means to be human. Because remember this, friends, what we view about mankind has a huge impact on your worldview.

So is mankind special, unique, selected out, or are we just another branch in the tree, as I said, and if the latter is true, then there's really, I mean, abortion, all kinds of issues. It changes everything. It changes everything in the nature of mankind. So when Chesterton wrote the following, every sane sort of history must begin with man as man, a thing standing absolute and alone. This creature was truly different from all other creatures because he was a creator as well as a creature.

But then you get Challenger on the other side. And she says, the human species is an integrated part of the life on the planet. Okay, that's just kind of acknowledging the obvious, not an exceptional creation by itself.

So which is it? We need to explore challengers and Chesterton's two different conceptions of humanity, particularly as they relate to human origins, not an exceptional creation or a creator as well as a creature. So we're going to talk about this today. Brent Cook is at the BJU School of Religion as well as teaching in the BJU Seminary, Church History at the Seminary. And we're going to also be talking to David Lovegrove, who's BJU's chief marketing officer. We're waiting for David to arrive, but Brent's there in the studio in beautiful Greenville, South Carolina. Brent, thanks for being here. I'm doing well. Thank you for having me.

You're welcome. Now, you mentioned off the air that you guys read this book last summer. So was this a thing like the staff all read the book, the faculty all read the book, and why this particular book? No, actually, it was a select group of faculty there. It was actually the science faculty who read this book and a few of the Bible faculty. And then we got together and had some discussions about it, some presentations on it, and interacted with some of the ideas in the book. And I was part of that group last summer that read it. And what's significant about this book? I mean, most people have probably never heard of this.

Most people probably, at least in our camp, have never heard of Melody Challenger. They certainly have never read the book, How to Be Animal. But what's significant about it? Why spend the time to kind of dissect it and compare it to a biblical worldview? Well, we always want to know what the opposite side is saying. We encourage our students to know what the opposite side is saying. We want to know what's out there in the different world views.

And so we encourage this kind of reading at Bob Jones, of course. And this is just a book in which the woman really wants us to embrace our animal identity. And she's just trying to come to grips with that fact that we are not special. We are not made in the image and likeness of God. There's nothing unique about humanity in terms of our destiny. When we die, we're going to go the same place the animals go. And so she's just trying to give us compelling reasons to actually embrace our animal identities. And as you can imagine, it's not all that convincing. Yeah. Yes, that's for sure. What drives somebody like Melody Challenger to do this, to expend the effort, to write the book, to do the research?

What do you think is driving her to do this? Well, I think it's pretty clear from Ecclesiastes that we have a void in our heart that we have to fill. But in Romans 1, we don't want to fill that with God. We reject God. And so we have very few options at that point. It was Nietzsche, I think we said, that every movement away from God goes back to the earth. And that's exactly right. We have to go find our identity somewhere on earth.

And essentially, that's what she's done. We can't look up to the heavens. We can't find God.

We have to go back and find our identities with the animals. Yeah. And I'm glad... It's a Roman... To me, it's Romans 1. Right.

Yeah. It's really a rejection of God. And where else are you going to go? Renton Rathbun and I, who's obviously down there directing the Center for Biblical World view, we pretty much end up in Romans 1, Brent, every time we do a show together. It's a pretty crucial passage.

It's an incredible passage. And when you're trying to understand... Because most of us are flummoxed, frustrated, angry, disgusted by a lot of the things we see going on in our culture, not just here, but around the globe, but particularly here in the American context. And people go, this place is going crazy. I don't understand this.

This is nutso. And I just tell people all the time, just go read Romans chapter 1. That's all you really need to do because to your point, Brent, that, okay, we know in Ecclesiastes that God's placed eternity in the hearts of men. God is the 800-pound gorilla in the room. Romans 1 teaches us that.

God made himself plain so that men are without excuse. So there's no such thing as an atheist. An atheist, perhaps, is just an agnostic with an attitude problem.

But there's no such thing as an atheist because everybody knows he exists. Then now you have to, Romans 1, what do you want to do with that? What do you do with that reality? I see a stop sign, Brent, you're driving to the campus, you see a stop sign or stop light. That's a reality. Now you got to decide what to do.

It depends on whether it's red or green or yellow, and then you make a decision. So with Romans 1, you're like, okay, we know that God exists. What are you going to do with that? And in this case, somebody like Melanie Challenger has to do exactly what Romans 1 says she's going to do. She suppresses the truth because she doesn't want to deal with what's above, like you mentioned from Nietzsche. She doesn't want to deal with the whole notion of God. So all you're left to do is replace it with what? In that case, it's a lie.

It's completely naturalistic, humanistic. Isn't that the deal? Yes, that's exactly right. It's kind of like trying to go north from the North Pole. I mean, you can't.

You're going to go south and there's various ways to go, but they're all deviations. It's back to creation. And Paul says there's an exchange that takes place. They exchange the glory of God for an image. And we would look at modern man, you know, they don't appear to be idolaters in the same sense that, say, the ancient Billistines did. But the fact is, they are worshipping nature.

They are embracing nature. Stuart Kaufman is a contemporary biologist, and he's actually written a book called Reinventing the Sacred. No, all right. That's fascinating. Hold that thought. We're up against commercial break.

I got to ask about that, Reinventing the Sacred. This is Steve Noble. We'll be right back. Welcome back. It's Steve Noble, The Steve Noble Show.

Do you remember, it's Theology Thursday with our friends at BJU Seminary, as well as Bob Jones University. Do you remember, go back to when you were a little kid and you're starting to study history in general, world history, and then we're talking about, you know, Crow magnum man and cave art and cave dwellings, but you look at the cave art and you know, what's up with that? Because we're just evolved from apes. What's the point of art at all? And then art goes from wall art in a cave to all of a sudden you're working with metal, you're working with wood, you're working with gold.

And the next thing you know, in front of me is a MacBook Pro and an iPhone 13 Pro. And so I've got all this technology, all these amazing things. I got different types of art things around here. We're talking to Brent Cook, who's with the BJU School of Religion.

David Lovegrove will join him in a minute. And you guys have really one of the most impressive Christian art collections on the planet there at BJU. So how did we go from a cave dweller drawing pictures of animals to that, Brent, if we're just advanced animals ourselves? Art becomes an interesting problem for somebody like Melanie Challenger, who's the atheist that wrote the book we're talking about today, how to be an animal, how to be animal.

And that art's a fascinating thing to look at with respect to this. Well, I think the question is what, that Chesterton asked in his book, The Everlasting Man, what do the cave paintings mean? And when you look at these paintings, you don't find any evolution.

What you find are highly skilled paintings on these cave walls, and there's no development of these cave paintings. They just appear very, very suddenly. And that fits a pattern that we see in human civilization very, very quickly. We see this explosion of architecture, of painting, of metallurgy, of music, of irrigation, of farming techniques, of carpet weaving. These things appear very early in human history at a very advanced level.

And the question is why? And in the Genesis account, Adam's descendants go out right away and engage in art, engage in music. Of course, the flood comes and destroys all that, but we have good reason to believe that some of that knowledge is brought over on the ark.

And again, what you find after the flood is this rapid, rapid development of civilization. In other words, there's no indication that our ancestors actually took hundreds of thousands of years to develop farming techniques or artistry or music. It's just there.

From our earliest records, it's just there. And it's a surprise for the evolutionary worldview. For the Christian worldview, for creating the image and likeness of God, and we're sent out to exercise dominion, it's exactly what you would expect. Yeah, because if you go, okay, here's these human beings that are made in the image of God, and God is infinitely creative, the incredible designer. Logic applies, mathematics applies, science applies, God's system is a system, it's intricate and it's fine-tuning.

And he said, if all that's true, then you're expecting to find that in everything else. And especially if we're the ones creating his image, then why wouldn't we not be capable of that? Like, we have a 17-month-old grandson, and his dad, my son, is a basketball player, six-five, and he's played with balls ever since he was a little kid, right? So he sees his dad up in the playroom at our house, and my son will throw a little rubber basketball because we got the little tykes thing that's about three feet tall. So he'll throw the rubber basketball off the wall, he'll come back and he'll catch it. And when my son's just idle, we're just sitting there talking, he'll just smack the ball back and forth between his hands.

Well, his son, Paxton, starting about two months ago, he grabs the same rubber basketball, goes up to the wall, and starts to tap it on the wall, trying to do what his dad did. And then he starts patting it between his two hands, like he's trying to do what his dad did. I'm like, okay, that's pretty interesting that he's processing that. He's acknowledging it.

It's his dad who's an authority and a love figure in his life, and then he somehow manages to replicate it. I mean, that's pretty amazing. It is pretty amazing. We play games. In fact, if you look at some of the earliest evidence we have of humans on the planet, they do play games. It's very interesting because we don't see animals engage in any of these activities.

There's no survival value in these activities. But as human beings, from our earliest records, we are doing things that require creativity and the exercise of human genius. Making games, playing music, engaging in farming techniques, building bigger and bigger buildings. There's something that is categorically different about human beings in their creative capacities that is just simply not analogous to any animals that we know of. I mean, birds build a nest, but that's about it when it comes to artistry. Right.

It's pretty impressive for a bird. Exactly. So to go back to the cave paintings, I mean, this is some of the earliest evidence that we have.

And you've got these beautiful, beautiful works of art on these cave walls. And there's this sort of stereotypical image of the caveman and the evolutionary model who drags a club around and beats people in the head and goes out and kills his game. Particularly women. They particularly beat women over there. Yeah, that's a myth. It's a complete myth.

What we find is incredible civilization developing very, very early in the human record. Yeah. And one thing about the cave paintings is that there are multiple colors. Yes. So you have to actually take the time to figure out you want to do this. What am I going to put on the wall? And are you satisfied with one color?

You are not. So now you're dealing with berries and all kinds of other things in nature in order to figure out how you make different colors. It's really an amazing thing. So does scripture then print, does it allow for, we could call it theistic evolution. So yeah, God created mankind, but he allowed for the process. So does evolution allow for kind of this gradual development, which is what Melanie Challenger would go with this gradual development of the intelligence of mankind or what she would prefer. I'm sure to say is homo sapiens.

Does the Bible allow for that? Well, you know, one of the really challenging things to this thesis actually comes from farming. Most of it, I realize that the vegetables, the foods, the things that we grow are extraordinarily complicated to grow in the wild.

At the curse, God, God cursed not only the ground, but its produce. And so you talk about apples and vegetables and broccoli and asparagus, none of those grows in the wild. It takes extraordinary human genius to be able to figure out how to domesticate edible plants from weeds, which is essentially what you have to do. And on the evolutionary model or the theistic evolutionary model, you know, our intelligence has to evolve over millions of years. Well, the problem is these farming techniques speak of highly, highly advanced human beings from the very beginning.

The question is, how do they survive for millions of years? If they didn't have the capacity to develop farming, right? One of the things that really is farming and farming shows up very early in human history, very abrupt and extraordinarily high level.

So there's there's many things like this that just point to this genius very early on. And you really can't imagine man surviving very long without some sort of genius. We're not like animals. We, for instance, we have to build shelters and we have to have fire. We don't have fur. We get cold and we have to make garments and we have to feel like forgot to kill animals. We're not very well equipped to go out and kill animals.

Animals in the wild kill us, but somehow we've got to figure out how to kill them and make a coat out of them and survive. Yeah. And it's unthinkable to me that man could have survived for hundreds of thousands of years while he's waiting for his mind to develop. Actually what we see is quite the opposite. We see brilliance from the very beginning. Such a great point.

It speaks to the image of God rather than the evolutionary model. Right. And I don't mean to. I'm only going to do this because it's kind of amusing to me. I'm not good. I'm not. I don't have an interest in turning our conversation into politics. However, if we look at the last presidential campaign, what we saw happen is somebody that didn't come out into the light and didn't do any public appearances hardly at all.

You don't hear from him. And the next thing you know, bada-bing bada-boom, he gets crowned the president United States. So when you see that happen, you're like, okay, something, something is behind all of that.

That didn't just gradually happen. And the same thing is true of us. That's why the thing I love about this is it's making me want to worship the Lord all the more. This is Steve Noble. It's theology Thursday. We'll be right back. Welcome back.

It's Steve Noble, The Steve Noble Show. Now, come on. If we're talking about human beings being special versus just being descendants of monkeys and apes and so on and so forth, could you think a monkey and an ape could ever get to the point where they could come up with night fever? I mean, really, do you think that's even possible that the governor come up with the concept of disco music?

No, there's no way on God's green earth that that could happen. And of course it didn't. We are special because we're made in the image of God. And that's what we're talking about today versus some people's opinion, like Melanie Challenger, who wrote the book How to Be Animal, that there's really nothing that exciting about us.

She said this in the book. The human species is an integrated part of the life of our planet, not an exceptional creation by itself. So we just got lucky on the evolutionary tree and our branch happened to exceed all the other ones. And now we have smartphones and iPhones and airplanes and all the other stuff. But is that really the case?

And what do you do with that from a biblical perspective or worldview perspective? Brent Cook is here with us, BJU School of Religion. And now David Lovegrove is also with us, BJU's Chief Marketing Officer. And David, thanks for coming in. It's great to see you.

Thanks for being with us. And you were just mentioning on the break, so I want to kind of pick it up and go back to what you were talking about, a class that you took with Brent that kind of got your attention with respect to what we're talking about today. So just pick it up there because that sounded fascinating. Yeah, he was talking in the class about the rise of civilizations and noting he just made a comment in passing that after the flood, which would have wiped out early civilization, we would see the immediate rise of very developed civilizations. And the thing that struck me is I had just been working, studying on the history of goldsmithing and metallurgy. And there is something intriguing in that industry, which is there have been no significant developments in technology in thousands and thousands of years, essentially in recorded history. So I went back and looked at the very earliest recorded, known, worked gold and metals in human history, and they show fully developed capabilities and capacities that very earliest gold ever found. And so it's a remarkable indication that instead of what we would expect to see, which is a guy inventing, figuring out fire and then inventing a wheel and, you know, little step by step, what we actually see is the very oldest thing we have in this particular field of interest of mine is fully developed, fully advanced, and shows incredible creativity and intelligence. Yeah. So the goldsmithing process, if I'm hearing this correctly, and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, and then you'd get really get along well with my wife. But is it essentially the same process in 2022 that it was 3000 years ago?

Yeah, that's right. The changes that have been made are improvements in precision and in speed. So we now use torches instead of charcoal for heat, but we're still using heat the same way, the exact same processes that were used long, long ago. And really one of the things that I find staggering about it is you compare the workmanship of those oldest civilizations to the workmanship of today, and it is easily as good as in many cases superior to anything being made today. So even with our advancements that we have in precision and things, we're still not able to surpass the work of the earliest known human metal smiths. Yeah, that's pretty amazing.

And I think that's one of those things that we can, and Brent and I were talking about that on the break. But without being prideful, hey, reach around and pat yourself on the back because humankind is pretty, pretty amazing. But of course, we tie that to the fact that we have an amazing creator and we made his image. So I want to talk about this one aspect in the blog post today, the test of a true worldview. This says at the end of the day, the true test of a worldview is whether you can live consistently with it. And then you have some, some real life examples.

I want to go through these Brent and David, because this is fascinating to me in terms of Hey, can we really make a case? Because there are, you know this, I know this, and I'm sure you had some students that show up at BJU and maybe even at the seminary at BJU seminary that are comfortable with kind of theistic evolution that somehow millions and millions of years can fit into the Bible. And so they have kind of a hybrid worldview of scripture versus what the world says. But you have to test a worldview. I do this with my students all the time, I'm like, okay, take a position, then let's extrapolate it and see if you can live with it. So you did this in this particular work here with a bunch of different things that I'd like to ask you guys about Project NIMM and then the 2005 London Zoo homo sapien exhibit.

Can you walk us through a few of these? Oda Banga, Peter Singer, who's at, I think he's still at Princeton, but why are we looking at these in terms of a worldview? Because you can state a worldview. You can state a biblical worldview, but the question is, does it actually work out there in the real world? Yeah, well, those are examples that I gave that illustrate, I think the absurdity of what Melanie Challenger is trying to say, she's trying to get us to embrace our animal identities.

But when you actually try that, it doesn't work so well. So for instance, Peter Singer at Princeton is a proponent of euthanasia. He's also a proponent of animal rights. And he argues that we are basically animals and that we should have no more rights than an animal has. And he says, well, if we kill horses to put them out of their misery, why not kill humans to put them out of their misery? Well, that's all very well and good until his mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. And he and his sister actually ignored his mother's will and made arrangements for her to die as comfortably as possible.

And you say, well, you know, why didn't you euthanize your mother if you're such a strong proponent of this? Right. And he said, well, it's a bit more difficult when it's your own mother. Well, the fact is, everybody's got a mother, you know, you can't say, well, Peter Singer's mother wasn't an animal, but mine, but yours is. No, it doesn't work that way.

So we just see a world view is something that we have to live consistently with. That's the point. Yeah. There was the reference to Ottobenga. He was a man that they brought over from Africa, a pygmy that they brought over from Africa and put him in a zoo in the Bronx and filed his teeth down to really sharp points and treated him like an animal, kept him in captivity.

And he ended up becoming a suicide victim as a result. But back in 2000, I think it was five or 2008, something like that, the London Zoo put on an exhibit of human beings, homo sapiens. And it's curious that they gave him board games and a radio and let him go home at night. But weren't they trying to show that the humans are basically animals? Yeah.

And what's also interesting about this is they wore bathing suits and they pinned fig leaves on them. And you just want to know, you know, if we're really animals, why are you wearing clothes? I think the Bible has something to say about that.

Yes. And that's the fascinating thing about it when you and this is where I think oftentimes and Brent and David, I'd like you both of you to speak to this. A lot of Christians, unfortunately, act like they're on they always have to be on the defense. Like the word like the world's got a really convincing case. And now we're on our heels and we have to dig in and try to figure out a way to justify what we believe from this book that was written two, three, four thousand years ago. But really, the more you study, the more you find out, I'm not on my heels.

I'm on my toes. And the world is the one with the really bad explanation. Is that a problem or am I just being a skeptic, am I just being a jerk? You know, I point out I have a lecture on the archaeo metallurgy and I point out at the conclusion, not only does the evidence support the biblical narrative, but more importantly, in one sense, archaeo metallurgy is a tiny branch of archaeology, which is a piece of the study of the earth. And because the biblical narrative is true, all of the evidence supports it. And so I have found evidence supporting the biblical narrative in this tiny area of archaeo metallurgy. You can look into any area of history and find supporting evidence. The evidence supports the biblical narrative.

And what did that do for you and your faith personally, David? Really tell students that the when I first realized this was something I could look back at the archaeological record and validate and it would either come out on one side of the narrative or the other. I was actually nervous because the world wants you to believe and and is very convincing in in telling people that all of the evidence is on their side. But as I dug in, it was breathtaking to read paper after paper by archaeologists after archaeologists saying it is astounding. What kind of intelligence and craftsmanship the very earliest recorded humans had and they can't explain it.

They have no explanation for it. Yeah. And thank you so much for your honesty on that and mentioning that you were a little nervous going down that road. In the past, earlier on in my faith walk, I was the same way. I'm like, I have some really tough questions for Christianity. And this is after I became a believer.

I have some tough questions for the Bible. And oh, man, what if I can't find good answers? But praise God, he's got good answers for all that stuff. I can't get I can't build my bridge all the way across so that I no longer have to have any faith. I have to have faith at some level. But I mean, that's where I think a lot of Christians get nervous about doubts or do I really want to kind of am I going to open up Pandora's box here? And I think that's a problem for a lot of us.

Not everybody needs that. There's a lot of people that have faith like a child. But but I think, Brent, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

I think it's probably really healthy for us. And it just makes us stronger when we ask questions and we go down those roads. Yeah, I think the Christian worldview has comprehensive explanatory power. I don't mean by that that it answers every question of mathematics or science, but that it answers all the big questions in life, all the important questions in life, all the nagging questions of life, questions of identity, questions of origins, questions of destiny, questions of where we get our morals of is there even the world?

Can it be fixed? And because it has comprehensive explanatory power, and it's the only one that does when you look at any of the worldview, ultimately, you're going to be dissatisfied. Ultimately, if you keep pressing it, there's all kinds of questions you will not be able to answer. And essentially, you have to ignore those questions. Right. Exactly. You got to ignore those questions.

The questions that don't get answered, well, don't go away. That's right. We'll be right back. Welcome back. It's Steve Noble, the Steve Noble Show Theology Thursday as it is every week with our friends at BJU, Bob Jones University and BJU Seminary. Today we're talking to Brent Cook, who's in the School of Religion, as well as teaching in the Seminary.

I love Grove is down there as well, the Chief Marketing Officer. And David, did you go to BJU when you were a little younger? I was a studio art major for two years, and then sat out for a very long time.

Didn't finish my degree until about a year ago. Wow. So how did that feel? Congratulations. That must have been pretty awesome. Well, the best part about it was getting to take a lot of these key classes that as an adult, I appreciate them much more than I ever did as an 18 year old jerk.

Yes, I think most of us could and should say amen to that one. It's a lot different. I got my master's degree. I'm 56. I finished my master's degree about, I think three years ago. My kids will tell you I started it when I was about 27. That's a lie.

That didn't take me that long, but it was about eight year process to go through and get it all done. But I definitely was a different student as a mature man than I was as an 18 year old. I was like you.

I was definitely a jerk. I wanted, we were talking off the air, Brent, about students that expressed doubt and you were talking about students that were like, well, maybe I'll check out some other religions, but they were raised in the church. And I think this is really important because a lot of people listening and watching right now that have sons and daughters or grandsons and granddaughters, we know the stats in terms of kids that grow up in the church, like you're mentioning, Brent, and then go off to college and walk away from the faith.

It's north of 50, 60, 70%. Now their story is not over, everybody, so just remember, just because a kid walks, allegedly walks away from the faith when they're 22 or 23 or 24, their story is not over till their life is done. Okay, so don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Don't assume all things are lost.

But you mentioned that and I want people to hear where you were going with this, Brent, because I think most of us have kids, I have four kids, 27, 24, 21, and 17. They all grew up, like you said, in the light. They all grew up in the church. But at various levels, they've struggled with what they believe and they've had seasons of doubt, things like that, and I think we assume just because they grew up in a church family that everything's going to be fine, but that's not necessarily true.

Right. Well, when I say do your doubting in the church, I can also say that in the context of a Christian school, I assume that some of these seniors are going to graduate and go out and start their doubting and they're not going to have the help surrounding them. And so I encourage them, hey, while you're here, while you've got good science faculty, while you've got Bible faculty, let's explore these questions now. The questions that you have right now, the questions about Buddhism or Islam or whatever it is, do that right now and I'll work through this with you. So for instance, when I told the student, you know, go read the Quran and come back and let's talk about it, all right, I basically gave him the questions that he needs to be asking of the Quran. And when he asked the right questions, he realized, oh, I can't get my answers. When I told this girl who wanted to be a Buddhist, let's read some Buddhist literature and ask the right questions. Then she came back and she says, I can't get my questions answered. And in that context, then I was able to help strengthen her faith, you know, this center on this little field trip, if you will, under the darkness and just help her to see how dark it really is.

And then she comes back and she says, oh, oh, I really appreciate the light at this point. I had another student one year who came in, he took a history philosophy class with me. And at the beginning of the class, he came down front and he wanted to know if he could read something, some supplemental material. So I gave him a book, it was actually written by an atheist and I told him this was an atheist. And but I said, you just see if you can get your questions answered from this book.

And he came back at the end of the class, he says, I can't get my questions answered. I'm ready to put my faith in Christ. Wow.

Yeah, but we cannot cut off, and you experienced this, David, in your exploration of metallurgy, particularly goldsmithing, we can't cut off the intellectual aspect of everything we're talking about. And I mentioned this earlier, and I'm sure you guys know some people like this. I know some people that love Jesus. They are full of the Holy Spirit.

They are definitely going to heaven and they're just amazing people. But you talk to them about like, they would have no interest in what we're talking about today. You talk, hey, you want to talk about apologetics?

What's that? Or what about the age of the earth? Like, well, doesn't Genesis talk about that?

They just have a pretty simplistic faith. Oftentimes I envy that, because I'm not like that. I ask a lot of questions.

I'm the noxious kid in the back of the classroom. What about this? What about that? It's okay, though, that we have an intellectual approach to all this, isn't it? I mean, you guys both work at a institution of higher learning. Yeah, Brent had the biblical narrative has comprehensive explanatory power. And so that means if your questions that you are looking for are deep, gigantic, philosophical questions, you're a deep thinker, the biblical narrative has answers to those.

But if your interest is gold jewelry, it still explains that story. There is something fantastic that God created people entirely different with different interests and areas of skill and intellectual ability and whatever else. And the Bible has exactly what that individual needs for where they are located. And so Brent, when you guys have gone through this information and had these conversations on campus with the students, what's the reaction been of students to this type of information?

Again, I really appreciate it. Hey, go read this atheist book and go see if you can get your questions answered. We should not be afraid of the world. We shouldn't be afraid of science. We shouldn't be afraid of philosophy.

You shouldn't be afraid of archaeology or history. But what are the students like 18 to 22 year olds in college or in the seminary? What's their response when you guys talk about subjects like the one we're talking about today? I mean, it really firms them up, I think, theologically. We have a course called Ideas and Their Consequences, and they have to read Nietzsche. They have to read Darwin.

They have to read Marx. And I tell my students, I'm like, you probably read more of Darwin at a Christian school than you would at most secular schools. David's brother, it's a friend of mine, Bill Lovegrove, and he gives a really interesting example.

I may get this not quite right. But apparently, he was asked to go speak at a secular school on the Darwinian worldview, on Darwinism, on evolutionism, and he went into the classroom and he asked the students, an unbeliever, is how many of you have read Darwin's Origin of the Species, and no one raised their hand? Well, then Bill Lovegrove, I mean, David Lovegrove said, well, I have, and I want to talk to you about it. Well, he owns that situation. Right. Oh, yeah. Yeah, because he's the only one that has any authority in the room. He's the only one that's read the book. Right. The same thing happens when people say, hey, why do you believe the Bible is full of contradictions? Oh, really?

Can you show me one? Yeah. Well, I mean, I mean, I haven't read it myself, but I've heard that it's full of, well, really? Did you believe everything you've never read or heard and experienced yourself? Like, what is that all about? And that's, again, I want to encourage people to lean into this. How do we tie all this into the gospel? Apologetics is important, history is important, metallurgy is important, all these things, but they're only important if they actually end up coming into union and effectiveness for the gospel itself, because what we're talking about, the only thing we're talking about that's eternal is the soul of a man. So how do you guys kind of tie this into the gospel and thinking about the lost and trying to be out there to go after, like Jesus did, to go after the lost sheep?

Yeah. Well, I like to emphasize in an educational context, academic context, that actually we have two commissions, two great commissions. The original dominion mandate is to go out and exercise dominion, creativity all over the earth. And all of us are called to do that. And the Lord has given us different skills, different abilities. And on top of that, you have a second commission, that is to go make disciples in all the world. And I think of that second commission as a call to go make disciples in all the different areas of exercise and dominion. Go and make disciples in art, go and make disciples in music, go and make disciples in farming. And so really, I really encourage students to think in terms of their dual great commissions.

Go out, find what you're good at doing, find the capacities that God has given you, find your discipline. And then on top of that, go make Christian disciples in that world. And what it does is it frees them to really engage in their discipline at a very deep and responsible level and to be attractive to unbelievers in those fields and to have a door for presenting the gospel.

Yeah, it's so good. So David, with your love of metallurgy and then your exploration of goldsmithing, has that affected just how you think about the great commission, the gospel, reaching the laws, discipling people? I'm not sure this is exactly the answer you're looking for, but even as Brent was talking about, I'm not looking for an answer other than yours. I was thinking it is interesting being at an institution of higher education. I see two sides. He mentioned my brother, Bill, who works with creation apologetics topics, and he sees this as well. It is wonderful to have confidence in your worldview, and that allows you to speak more boldly. But there is an imperative that we are educated and informed in that it actually hurts our cause when we are out being bold about things we actually don't know a lot about. So it's very important for our students to really dig deep into these topics so that they can have thoughtful, informed, educated opinions, and not just opinions, but a narrative that they can support biblically and through evidentially. So there is a great deal of confidence that encourages boldness in gospel witness, and it needs combined with wisdom and education in the areas that you're talking about.

Yeah, because as you're unpacking that, it reminds me of how a lot of people reacted to Christ himself. They're like, this guy teaches as somebody with authority, but where is he from? He's from Nazareth.

What? Come on. Nobody, this guy goes over to Duke and he shreds PhDs over at Duke Divinity School for lunch. I mean, that's what he does for fun, but he's from Nazareth, so here in North Carolina he might say, he's from Lumberton?

I mean, nothing impressive comes from Lumberton. This is ridiculous. But he's speaking as one with authority. He's got incredible answers, but he's compassionate. He's winsome all at the same time. And I think that's what I'm hearing from you sharing, David, is, man, well, we can give a good answer and we can engage that, the intellectual level, the scientific level, the artistic level, plus we're talking about Jesus.

I think that's incredibly attractive to a world that would expect the exact opposite. So I really appreciate that answer. And it was the answer you wanted to give, not the answer I was looking for. I just want you to give your answer, which is great. Brent Cook and David Lovegrove, thank you so much for being here today. It was great to have you guys on. It's a great topic. Mine really expansive and thinking, and we should be that way as Christians. I really appreciate you guys being here. This is Steve Noble on the Steve Noble Show. God willing, I'll talk to you guys real soon and like my dad always used to say, ever forward. Your program powered by the Truth Network.
Whisper: small.en / 2022-11-09 01:16:47 / 2022-11-09 01:26:39 / 10

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