Luck or something else?

A word was used in the retirement tribute of Bert de Vries (summer 2013) which I do not believe has a place in the vocabulary of a Calvinist. That word is lucky. It is not luck that moved Dr. de Vries to earn his bachelor’s degree in engineering. Correctly, providence is the word used in David Diephouse’s article. Maybe God motivated coincidence could have been used or many other words which align with the Christian Reformed faith.

Dorothy De Boer Zylstra Sheler ex’59
West Olive, Mich.

Whales, fossils and evolution

When I read the article about Professor Bebej and his research into whales (fall 2013), I had to think twice when I read his quote, “All truth is God’s truth and discovering details about the world God created need not erode our love and devotion to Him, let alone our belief in Him.” I don’t have a problem with the love and devotion, but if Bebej believes in God’s creation, why is he bringing evolution into the mix? And if God did create the world, it did not take millions of years. When land animals were created on day six, God did not create something that eventually went from land to sea. Sea creatures and land animals were created complete; there was no in-between species that “evolved.”

Scientists have been debating the whale/fossil/sea/land concept for some years now. If Prof. Bebej found a unique creature, perhaps it’s because it’s not a whale but a unique creature unlike anything else. There are no doubt many unique creatures that died out during the flood or after. Any fossils we find are just billions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the earth. I have found some good biblical research on and arguments against the evolutionary process of land to sea whales.

Frankly, I am surprised that Calvin supports the teaching of evolution, as it is a faulty theory.

Henny Hoogendyk Bulten ’68
Wellington, Fla.

I was delighted to see the article “A Whale of a Tale” in Spark (fall 2013). When my daughter was 8 years old, I encouraged her to start reading the Bible on her own. Two days later, she asked me why the creation accounts in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 were not the same. I never expected to have that conversation with an 8-year-old! Fortunately, Calvin College had prepared me to discuss this issue in a faith-affirming way. I was happy to see that Calvin continues to support Christians, like Dr. Bebej, who see the beauty and mystery of all aspects of God’s creation. I wonder what questions my daughter might have at 18 years old? I am reassured that Calvin College will be there for her, able and willing to help her grow in faith and knowledge.

Amy Puls Bax ’94
London, Ont.

I’m writing to let you know that I do not support the assumption of evolution that is mentioned in your featured article on biology professor Ryan Bebej entitled “A Whale of a Tale” (fall 2013). Specifically I quote p. 26, “He discusses paleontology and evolution with a visitor, specifically the fossils of whales from millions of years ago found in Pakistan, India and Egypt over the past three decades or so.”

There are many people of faith who are using good science to refute the lie of evolution which has made a mockery of our faith. I would challenge you and your staff to begin looking at the bigger picture and body of knowledge that is available today and which does not rely on the secular world’s interpretation of the so-called facts. I would invite you to check out “Answers in Genesis” on the web and other resources on this topic.

Kent Hollis
Jackson Center, Ohio

I was pleasantly surprised that Spark would feature a cover photo with an article describing fossils of millions of years ago (fall 2013). When I was at Calvin, (James) Usher was still talked about and evolution was a dirty word. In this age when creation museums are being set up and creationism is being forced into school curriculum as science, it is nice to see Calvin does not follow this path. But I think I remember a couple years ago a professor was released for some questioning about historical Adam and Eve. Which is the real Calvin?

Ronald L. Dirkse ’64
Hidaka-shi, Japan

Actively witness

I applaud Bob Korthuis for his letter (Excessive toleration?) in the fall 2013 Spark. His diatribe regarding Harold Bontekoe’s outrageous denial of biblical truth (spring 2013 Spark) was right on target. My only disagreement with Mr. Korthuis is that Bontekoe’s article was correctly aired by the Spark editors, if for no other reason than it brings to light the corruption that is infiltrating Christian ranks. The Reformed community ought to be on guard, and in a big way. A red flag should immediately pop up when the Bible is said to be “…a product of the culture of its time, containing some universal truth and some nonsense.” Again, Mr. Bontekoe believes that “…in Matthew there is weirdness and attention to strange and to us moderns, irrelevant detail.” 

We are in spiritual warfare, and we need to be aware of the signs of the times in which we live. Not only are there people in the church who doubt or resist biblical truth, there are obviously some who are actively shaking their collective fists in the face of Almighty God. God’s people need to be proactive. Why? Because God commands us to be active witnesses (Matt 5:14, Rom 2:19, and many others). Then, of course, there is the bottom line: Heaven and Hell. This is serious business. We are in the midst of a spiritually dying culture.

I have a question for Calvin students, graduates and the Reformed community in general: Are you an active, vocal witness to spiritually lost people? It is very easy to cling to one’s election (perhaps even assume one’s election) and avoid confronting the blatant paganism that surrounds us. We are supposed to be watchmen, whistleblowers who warn the populace of impending danger (Ezekiel chapter 33). We are commanded to warn unsaved people about eternal darkness and the only possible remedy: Jesus Christ. We all have relatives, friends or acquaintances who may not know Christ as Savior. Do we care enough about their eternal souls to warn them? I pose the same question to myself.

True believers in Christ will never win a popularity contest. Actually, the Bible clearly states that persecution is guaranteed for Christians (2 Tim 3:12, John 15:20). It’s just a question of degree. Friends, are you being persecuted, to some extent, for honoring the Savior? If so, you can rejoice! (Matt 5: 11).

Alan Swanson’67
Normal, Ill.