On Thursday of last week, I left Indiana for the Dominican Republic to give lectures about the science of creation to schools, churches, and universities. This lovely country is an explicitly Christian nation. Its motto is “Dios, Patria, Libertad” (God, Fatherland, Liberty), and the country’s flag has both the Bible and a cross at its center. The Bible is supposed to be open to John 8:32, “y conocerán la verdad, y la verdad los hará libres” (and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free). Because it takes its Christian roots seriously, students are allowed to learn about Christianity, even in public schools.
In fact, the first talk I gave was at a public school in Santo Domingo. In that talk, I discussed mutualistic symbiosis, which is a situation in which two or more organisms of different species work together so that each receives a benefit. I have blogged extensively about this amazing aspect of nature (see here, here, here, here, and here, for example), because I find it fascinating. In order to illustrate the process, I showed several videos of mutualistic symbiotic relationships in nature.
After I showed the videos and discussed how each relationship works, I discussed how evolution tries to account for these amazing relationships. Most evolutionists think that mutualistic symbiotic relationships started out as parasitic relationships, with one organism exploiting the other one. However, as time went on, the organisms co-evolved and began cooperating with one another. I then talked about a recent study that shows this explanation isn’t consistent with the data.
I told the students that I think these relationships give us a glimpse of what creation was like before the Fall. Creation was built on relationships, with organisms helping one another to survive. However, when sin entered the world, all creation was corrupted to some extent (Romans 8:22). As a result, many of those relationships were corrupted, and what we see now is only a glimpse of what creation used to be like.
The next day, I traveled to Bani to speak at a church there. The first talk was on a Saturday night, and I was a bit skeptical about that. I didn’t think many people would show up for a Saturday night talk, but I was definitely wrong! The church holds about 200 people, and it was at least three-fourths full! In my talk, I discussed the modern science that you find in the Bible. The pastor, who used to translate English medical journal articles into Spanish, was kind enough to translate my Powerpoint presentation into Spanish. That was great for the audience, but I was in the interesting position of speaking from slides that I couldn’t read! The pastor also translated for me while I spoke.
As always, I took questions from the audience after I was done, and the pastor usually had to translate the question into English for me. There were some exceptions, because some of the audience members spoke English very well and asked their questions directly to me. Nevertheless, the pastor still had to translate the question into Spanish so the rest of the audience would know what was being asked. Then, of course, he had to translate my answer back into Spanish. I came away convinced that the pastor worked a lot harder than I did that night!
I also spoke at the Sunday evening service, and it was packed! In fact, there was standing room only. This surprised me, because while the Sunday morning service was pretty full (I didn’t speak at that service), it wasn’t as full as the evening service. Later on, the pastor explained to me that people in his church often invite their friends to come to the evening service instead of the morning one, because most people who don’t go to church in the Dominican Republic find it easier to make it to a Sunday evening service. That way, they don’t have to get up early on Sunday morning.
In that service, I talked about some of the scientific evidence that supports the young-earth creationist model. I spoke of the design you see in nature, rapidly-formed geological structures, rapidly-formed fossils, and soft tissue in dinosaur fossils. Most people in the audience had never heard of these things before, so they were very excited.
While I truly enjoyed speaking at both services and answering questions from the audience, the thing I will remember most is worshiping the Lord with these wonderful people. Many of the songs we sang during the services were ones that I knew by heart, and while everyone else was singing in Spanish, I sang the same songs in English. It was a sublime experience. I continued to marvel that despite the differences between me and the wonderful Christians here in the Dominican Republic, we still worship the same Awesome God!