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Viggo Olsen

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
November 29, 2021 12:00 am

Viggo Olsen

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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November 29, 2021 12:00 am

How did this brilliant agnostic physician go from having a certainty of evolution to believing in the magnificent creative hand of God? Discover how the Lord brought Dr. Olsen and his wife to saving faith through intensive scientific research and observation, and then carried them to Bangladesh where they served in medical missions for decades.

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He didn't have a college education in the scriptures.

He's got a concordance in a Bible. He said, I studied the eyewitness accounts of the change in the disciples when Jesus was in the tomb. They're huddled, terrified, unwilling to say anything or do anything. Jesus appears, and look at the proof of what happens in their own lives. Now they become these courageous, bold, fearless men.

Most, if not all of them, are led to violent, horrific executions. The man that Stephen was referring to in the clip you just heard was Viggo Olson. How did this brilliant, agnostic physician go from having a certainty of evolution to having a certainty of the magnificent and miraculous hand of God? The Lord brought Dr. Olson and his wife to saving faith through intensive research.

Then, following that conversion, God took them to Bangladesh, where they served as medical missionaries for many years. It's a remarkable story, and Stephen Davey introduces you to it today. Well for today, I want to introduce you to an individual and his wife, and then we'll get into a little bit of the Word of God that impacted their lives.

The New York Times called Viggo Olson another David Livingston. I've had an interest in this diplomatic leader, this statesman, this pioneering church planter, Bible translator. I have his two-volume biography. It's entitled Daktar, D-A-K-T-A-R, which is Bengali for doctor. I've also had a personal interest because of a member of my own extended family, my father's cousin, my third cousin, Becky Davey, spent decades serving as his nurse in the hospital they built in Bangladesh.

I can still remember as a boy, Becky visiting our home while on furlough, I can still see her dressed in a very colorful sari and wearing a very winsome smile as she talked about the ministry of Christ through their work in Chittagong. Now if you knew this surgeon, she would serve alongside when he was still a medical student, Viggo or his friends called him Vic, you would have met a brilliant agnostic, a young man who was convinced of his evolutionary worldview. He believed it answered the fundamental questions of life, though he was still a little troubled with some of the fill in the blanks that had not yet been filled in.

He considered Christianity just one more religion and it was a religion sort of created by people like all the other religions of the world who were afraid of death and the unknown and so this salved their minds, their consciences and made them feel better. But then something begins to happen in his life as a medical student, his life will eventually so dramatically change that he will eventually refuse an invitation to join the Mayo Clinic medical staff. He will turn down incredibly lucrative opportunities including the opportunity to become the chief surgeon in the second largest hospital in America. And he'll go to this third world country.

When we sing, take my life and let it be, you can have it all, well to him it's going to really mean that in every respect he will give it all away. Something radical will happen to his life. What begins the process would be his marriage to a woman, a young lady who was also an agnostic, though raised in a believing home. Her parents were committed Christians and yet it had all gone in one ear and out the other.

Well they get married and their visits to her parents' home would often unfold into these late night debates and though they were civil and polite, Vic would later write he was boiling inside as they debated. And in the course of one of those debates, in fact late into the night into the early hours of the morning, he agreed really to be polite and accommodating but he still yet agreed and she with him that they would personally explore the claims of Christ. Now Vic was convinced it wouldn't take all that long to debunk this what he called quote unscientific religion.

It wasn't going to take him long to shoot down Christianity. Besides he'd already been fully immersed in evolution and the science of the day and God was effectively uninvolved in creating people, the world, the universe. He believed like a deist that God probably existed but wasn't personal, you couldn't know him and it really didn't matter anyway. The idea that God created the universe, that God designed the human body, the animal kingdom, plant life, everything else, to Viggo Olson that idea was at best unintelligent.

Certainly it wasn't intriguing to this rather brilliant medical student. He'd been raised during the rather heady days of scientific discovery and advancement when he was in elementary school in the 1930s. The medical community and the scientific community was becoming a little bit more brash and bold in their denunciation of what had been the underpinnings at least deism was of our own country that there was a God who started it all and so he found refuge in their comments which were becoming bolder. In the 1930s a famous astronomer made the statement, published his thoughts that quote the notion of a beginning was repugnant. Now the steady state theory had held sway for a long time and that is that the universe was infinite and everlasting. That's been proven untrue in our world even by the evolutionists that now know there was some sort of explosion of time, matter, beginning, they called it the Big Bang. He said, hear this scientist openly and without apology that the idea of God creating the universe was repugnant.

In other words it made him nauseated and he was applauded for making that kind of statement. The most brilliant mind by far when Olson was entering high school was Albert Einstein who had said, had been published in an interview and I quote him, the circumstances of an initial moment of creation irritates me. Well Paul, the apostle said it would, for one thing. The idea of God creating the heavens and the earth is repugnant, unscientific, foolish and irritating.

The apostle Paul writing from his own evolutionary world that believed that God just sort of allowed it all to happen according to their own dictates and Buddhism in fact had reached Asia Minor by the time Paul was a missionary and they were very aware of this world view. He writes in Romans 1 that the power and the nature of a creator God is evident, obvious and because of what is discovered about what he made, Paul said, their only response can be to suppress it. It's interesting his use of that verb to suppress.

It's a Greek verb that means to steer, S-T-E-E-R. In other words, no matter what they see or what they observe or what they discover, the world wants to steer it all into their own interpretation and away from the idea of a creator God and to steer people away from that concept and to steer them into their own interpretation which by the way is the reason why there isn't anything that's going to be discovered or observed where people are going to go, oh, well I didn't know that. Now I'm going to bow my knee to God and believe in Jesus.

That isn't going to happen. Dead people came to life by the way and entered Jerusalem after Jesus said it's finished and what did they do? They suppressed the truth. God has to open the eyes of understanding but Paul says in the meantime the unbelieving world wants to steer away from that which they observe which to us as believers is one more declaration of wow, what a glorious God we have. But still they politely agreed to study.

They assumed it wouldn't take long to defend their evolutionary worldview, to prove that God was uninterested and distant, that Jesus was just a marvelous teacher and a moral example and that Christianity was just simply one of many religions. So they began their study in an attempt to disprove the concept of creation. He would later write this, scientifically we already knew that planet earth and the universe had not always existed which meant that they must have been created by some mighty force or energy. The earth is packed with power, fire power, water power, atomic power.

Only a power can bring into being a power packed system. The question to me was could it have happened by some undirected random explosion which was gaining in popularity known as the big bang. Now as a medical student, Vigo was being exposed to what he called the pattern of the human body, the pattern of cells, cellular structure. He said I could study tissue under the microscope and determine if it was lung tissue or brain tissue or heart tissue simply because of these amazing patterns. Then he said as we began to just look more broadly the patterns really were everywhere, the pattern of the universe according to set laws. This all troubled him. There's a pattern everywhere he wrote.

There seems to be proof of some intelligent power not random power that brought it into being. Then the thought struck him, this analogy which he shared with his wife that bothered him. He said you know it occurred to me that if I took all the wooden blocks of a hundred scrabble games and I took all of those letters and I put them into a plastic tub and I shook those letters vigorously and then I threw all nine thousand pieces out onto the floor that would be a demonstration of power but would they fall so that the letters formed patterns, sentences?

No. Some would lie on top of other letters. Many of them would rest face down.

Some would be turned sideways upside down. None of them, none of them would form a paragraph but suppose he said to his wife you know I'm thinking about this. Suppose someone with fingers connected to an intelligent mind picked up the scattered pieces and formed them into words and sentences so a story emerged that would be intelligent power.

He said to her you know power can shake that tub and throw letters onto the floor but it will take intelligent power to write a story and the patterns we see around us with everything from orbiting planets to cellular structure. Viggo Olson and his wife would come to believe the truth of David's great declaration of God's glory. Keep in mind they were not Christians but they came to believe that God did intelligently create after all.

One of the texts that would mark them in their research I want you to turn to it's the great declaration of David. It's Psalm chapter 19. His poem on the creative handiwork of God we've called Psalm 19.

I couldn't help but think of this text as I read their biography and let me just make a few comments. David writes in verse 1 the heavens are telling of the glory of God and their expanse that's the sky, the planets, the stars, the galaxies around us David writes they are declaring the work of his hands. The Hebrew words for telling and declaring by the way are continuous in their tents.

In other words their message never turns off. You could translate this the heavens keep on telling us about the glory of God. By the way that's as a believer so thrilling to me because they figure out an even greater and more powerful telescope and what do they discover there is even more out there. Well the Bible tells us God designed that so that it would just simply add to the glory of his creative handiwork. So the bigger it gets the bigger God gets.

It's the reason it is so incredibly glorious. He says here the heavens keep on telling us about the glory of God. The sky keeps on describing his handiwork. Creation is the handiwork. That means it's the hand work. It's his fingers like a sculptor crafting something or an artist painting something and then signing it as it were with his signature figure was given a book by a pastor.

They decided that they would agree to attend the church that Jones parents recommended and they went a few times. The pastor gave him a book written by 13 scientists believers on creation. And I know you're going to want to know the title of it. I couldn't find the title of it. It's not in his biography. It's just 13 scientists wrote it.

And so I know you're going to ask me afterward. I don't know what it is but he did right after reading that he said this was again was just disproving what I believe to be iron clad. He says my polite interest was becoming a passionate fascination. It wasn't long before they settled in their minds the reality of a creator got still unbelievers but they turned next to try to attempt to disprove the consistency and reliability of scripture. And I don't have time to get into all their explorations but Olson would later write and I quote him even though there are 66 books in the Bible and those books were written over a span of 1600 years by 40 different more than 40 different authors from peasants to fishermen to physicians the poets. The Bible harmonized with consistency.

He said to his wife it's as if one person is supervising the writing of it all. In college he had been taught that writing was unknown during Moses this time. Moses was a caveman who wrote with charcoal on a wall. He was taught that the Hittite civilization was a myth the Edomites were a myth. They were all folk tales from the Old Testament to make Jewish people feel good about their nationality. And yet again in the early 1900s the archaeologists which are a friend whether they want to be or not of scripture were just excavating more and more until they've been able to prove that writing by the time of Moses was actually an art going all the way back in fact into Abraham's day.

It was an art form. The Hittite civilization was discovered just prior to my lifetime. It was excavated. Harvard University had denied the existence of the Hittites used them as one of their flaming proofs that the Old Testament was a collection of folk tales. Now Harvard by the way can give you a doctorate in Hittite civilization.

You may have read their apology on the internet about what they said earlier. Also discovered as well even the ancient Edomite culture had been uncovered once denied as a biblical myth. Now it's captivating the imagination of the world with its magnificent capital city of Petra carved into the soft stone.

You can now tour it. In fact just 24 months ago using satellite imagery equipment archaeologists have discovered another structure series of structures that has yet to be dug out in Petra. They're still discovering what the Old Testament said existed. So Vic and his wife turned you know to the prophecies of Scripture. It wasn't long before they were able to catalog 30 of them that talked about the first coming of Jesus and his crucifixion even before crucifixion was capital punishment or execution by means of civilization and here David's talking about hands and feet being pierced of the servant of God.

They had held to the view that Jesus was a remarkable man a martyr for his cause and he wondered out loud to his wife if maybe Jesus was God's way of communicating. He had already studied Plato. Plato had claimed brilliantly that philosophy could in no way deny the possibility of divine revelation. Then they arrived at John 1 that this logos which is the word Plato used this logos this this revelation this this explanation had come from God. It was God.

In verse 14 it became flesh. They studied the gospel accounts. They admitted to one another that God seemed to be communicating with mankind. In fact he told his wife on one occasion you know if he wanted to communicate successfully with an ant the best way to do it would be to become an ant. So the argument he said followed that for God to communicate with us he would need to join the human race.

You know to us perhaps for you if you've been raised in the church you're going yeah we knew that. They don't have he didn't have a college education in the scriptures. He's got a concordance and a Bible. He's talking with people and the scriptures are taking him to the truth of God's explanation through Jesus Christ. They are edging closer aren't they to the conclusion as God is working in their hearts that God is real that Jesus was sent from God that God communicated. The Bible is historically accurate and it's still however to them ancient history is Jesus really alive. And when that they turned to the eyewitness accounts of the resurrection of the Lord and that stupendous claim that he made I am the resurrection and the life. You come to me even after you die I'm going to make sure you live again.

Really. How do you prove that. Well you come back to life. And so they discover the radical change in the life of the disciples undeniable proof of what had happened in their own hearts and minds. In fact we go also will later write the resurrection of Christ was to us the hinge of the whole question. If he did rise from the dead get this and I get this. Here's an unbeliever writing this. If he did rise from the dead we would have to grant that everything Jesus said was true and binding.

There's the rub binding. He said I studied the eyewitness accounts of the change in the disciples when Jesus was in the tomb. They're huddled hiding terrified unwilling to say anything or do anything. Jesus appears and look at the proof of what happens in their own lives.

Now they become these courageous bold fearless men most if not all of them are led to violent horrific executions because of a myth. Now the presence of the Lord who met with him over 40 days the scriptures tell us presenting to them undeniable proofs of who he was and they would never back down again. Dr. Olson writes that his quote invincible agnostic arguments were crumbling but he says I still didn't know how to relate to God. I was assuming that Christianity was like Buddhism or Hinduism or any other world religion for that matter where you basically try to live a decent life and not hurt anybody and keep your nose clean and your good deeds. You know try to do more of them than your bad deeds and they kind of cancel each other out and you'll be good with God. And we kept studying the scriptures. He said we encountered verse after verse that showed the distinction of Christianity from every other religion. Christianity wasn't good works.

It wasn't self-help. It was repentance and faith in what Jesus did. Verses like these arrested his attention. He just sort of cataloged them in his biography.

His autobiography. Titus 3 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to his mercy he saved us. 2 Timothy 1 9 God who has saved us and called us with a holy calling not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. Verses like Acts 16 31 believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. Again he's he's studying these he's coming across these on his own.

Maybe like you did. John 1 12 to as many as received him he gave the right to become children of God. Romans 10 13 whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. And that's exactly what Viggo and John Olson did. In fact one night he came home and he had heard another little argument against Christianity and he had it sort of picked up it hadn't really picked up on the idea for the last two weeks his wife had been kind of quiet when he came home with this new thought and she he said looked at me and simply said that don't you know by now this is true. And he says I had at that moment this blinding flash of inspiration indeed I was fighting what I knew to be true.

And he said when did you come to believe and she said two weeks ago and so we had to catch up and they both gave their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ and their lives would never be the same. He would turn down every offer and every opportunity. He would eventually move to London where they would prepare them to set sail for Chittagong. His desire was to go right in the middle in the gap between the ministries of William Carey and Adnan Judson. They would go to Bangladesh make disciples plan churches build a hospital.

They would minister medically to members of the royal family all the way down to untouchables the poorest of the poor. But all of them if you read his biographies all of them are asking the same questions that God led them through. Where did the earth come from? Is God really the creator?

Did God really communicate to mankind is Jesus his revelation? Where can we find forgiveness? How do we relate to him? How can I find eternal life?

Maybe you're asking the same question today. With that we conclude not only today's lesson but the series entitled Legacies of Light. This is Wisdom for the Heart and for the last several weeks Stephen's been looking at the biographies of Christian heroes.

We've looked at 16 in total. We've taken this series and put it together as a beautiful hardback book. If you'd like information on how you can get Legacies of Light give us a call today at 866-48-Bible. You'll also find this resource on our website which is wisdomonline.org. Thanks for listening and join us tomorrow for more wisdom for the heart. you
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-16 14:24:40 / 2023-07-16 14:33:22 / 9

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