The wisdom of God or man-E. David Peebles
Professor, Department of Poultry Science, Mississippi State University
I Corinthians 3:19, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”.
Under the counsel of a college student at a Christian youth camp in the Adirondacks, I invited Jesus Christ to come in to my heart and be my Lord and Savior when I was ten years old. Although my relationship with the Lord and my dependence and trust in Him deepened as I grew older, when I went off to college and took courses for my undergraduate and graduate degrees, I encountered conflicts and had doubts and questions concerning the relationship of God and scripture to scientific theory and principles, particularly those in the biological sciences. Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware of any Christian instructors with whom I could share and from whom I could receive answers to my questions. This is a common experience for many college students. After accepting a faculty position, I felt led to investigate the possibility of full time ministry. I subsequently visited various seminaries. At one of those institutions, a wise career counselor advised me to continue in my discipline and allow the Lord to use me in ministry among students, staff, and faculty in the secular university setting. This advice along with my earlier inability to locate a Christian instructor who could help answer some of the questions I had as a Christian college student, caused me as a faculty member to make myself more available to encourage and share my experiences with the students that I instructed.
As I look back, I see my training and career in the biological sciences as factors that have strengthened rather than weakened my walk of faith. One can better appreciate and feel the magnificence of His creative hand as more is learned about His creatures. I have instructed an undergraduate genetics course for almost 28 years, and have enjoyed the opportunity to interact with students and to learn along with my students the new discoveries and that are regularly made in this rapidly advancing area of science. In my role as a teacher and after more than 30 years as a researcher, I continue to be amazed at the new discoveries that are made each year in my field of science, but much more than that I am humbled and awed by the complexity of the molecular and cellular processes that are apart of physical life. More specifically, I see the Lord’s hand in the extremely complex and precise physiological processes that control the development and reproduction of the animals I study. These intricate and highly ordered processes did not just happen by chance, but had to have been ordered and set in motion by a loving and all-knowing God. The ideas that have provided the best direction and have had the most positive and significant impact on my research have come during times of prayer and meditation on God’s word. In accordance with I Corinthians 3:19, it is the wisdom of God that gives meaningful and favorable direction to the paths of men. It is easy to become prideful with the growing knowledge base that we as scientists take from and add to; however, in all truth one must realize the impossibility of chance events or the most intelligent of human minds to initiate or replicate any element of life in its most simple form and function. These could only have been created by divine design. As instructors and mentors of students in our fields of expertise, it is important that we encourage them to allow God to reveal Himself and His wisdom to them through their learning experience and for them to visualize how God can use them in their careers to glorify Him and to share their faith with others. I am indebted to the faithful college student who first led me to Christ. In return, I am called to be faithful by sharing my faith with the college students I teach.