By Connie W. Adams
William D. Burgess taught Biology at Florida College for many years. He also wrote a short column nearly every month in Searching the Scriptures from the time it began in 1960 and for several years thereafter. In the June 1961 issue he wrote these words under his column heading “Science and Truth”:
There appears to be evidence that the days of creation were days of ordinary length since there is mention of “evening and morning.” If these days were, as some contend, thousands or millions of years in length this would present quite a problem. In Genesis 1:16 we read that two great lights were made, one to rule the day and the lesser to rule the night. Since these days were divided, according to Genesis 1:15 into “evening and morning” we would have to assume that the sun came up but did not go down for a few thousand or a few million years! There is another problem if we assume the “days” were eons of time. The plants were brought about on the third day of creation and the sun on the fourth day. Plants must have sunlight in order to produce their food through a process of photosynthesis. Animals are dependent upon plants as a basic source of food. Carnivorous animals are ultimately dependent upon plants for food which are, in turn, dependent on the sun. It is inconceivable, in the light of the knowledge we have in this matter, that plants and animals could exist for these millions of years without energy supplied by the sun. It is contended that the plants could have been supplied by the “light” of Genesis 1:3. If this was done it would be necessary to contend that plants were supplied by this “light” for a great and unknown period of time and then their dependence was transferred to another source of energy, the sun, at the end of this period of time.
God told Israel in Exodus 20 to observe the Sabbath Day because He rested from His labor on the seventh day. There is no evidence that either God or Israel observed a period of time longer than our normal day of today. Even “days” of millions of years would hardly satisfy the evolution theory. Even the evolutionists are not in agreement as to the millions of years needed for the evolvement of living organisms, according to their own theory. The evolutionists readily admit that they are not sure of the time necessary for the events of their theory to come to pass. They willingly or unwillingly must admit that they cannot be sure that their theories answer the questions as to how these organisms came about in the first place. In light of the lack of evidence to support their theory, they are ready to say that they are at least sure that the creation did not occur in seven solar days as indicated by the record in Genesis. This attitude is neither new nor limited to this area of discussion. Men have always been ready to reject evidence that does not aid their positions or beliefs.”
It is strange that a teacher, not in the Science Department, but in the Bible Department at Florida College should publish an article on “The Days of Genesis” (Sentry Magazine, 21:I) in which he contended that the days of creation in Genesis 1 “cannot be literal” and that “the days must be ages.” While Shane Scott denies any view of theistic evolution, these statements from him are unsettling to say the least. He is completing his second year as a teacher of Bible. So far, the administration of the college has defended him and retained him in his teaching position. It is my understanding that every teacher in the Science Department believes the days of creation were literal solar days. I know for a fact that there are teachers at Florida College who are very uneasy about this expressed view of brother Scott.
When we send our children or grandchildren to a state university, we expect them to be bombarded with ideas which undermine faith in what the Bible says. One of the arguments made for a school run by Christians is that parents can have confidence that the faith of their children will be strengthened and not threatened by teachers who are Christians.
So far, brother Scott has not budged from his position. Numerous ones have complained to the administration about this to no avail. David Bonner of Dumas, Texas, himself a scientist who has presented numerous series around the country on the matter of divine creation, has offered to publicly discuss this with brother Scott. So far, there has been no positive response.
As a former student and long time friend of Florida College, I wonder how long it is going to take the board and administration to take this matter seriously and resolve to do something about it. How long do they think we will encourage our young people to go there and be exposed to such an influence? I do not personally know brother Scott. I have no axe to grind with him. But I can read, and I have read several times the article he published in Sentry. I do not believe it teaches the truth. I also am convinced that the college has stonewalled this issue. Yes, I know that they published a bulletin in which some good material was presented against evolution. And yes, I know that there were quotations from various teachers stating opposition to theistic evolution, including one such statement from Shane Scott. But that issue did not touch top, side, or bottom of the complaint about the days of creation. If it had been said that he did not know exactly how old the earth is then nobody would have thought much about it. But to adamantly say (in caps as paragraph headings “THE DAYS CANNOT BE LITERAL” and then head the next paragraph with “THE DAYS MUST BE AGES” is another matter.
There are some good people and some good teachers at Florida College. But as long as the school appeals for students and for financial support, they ought not to be too defensive about criticisms in such a sensitive area. It was bad enough to invite Hill Roberts to lecture for three days during the 1999 annual lecture series. But to employ on the faculty a teacher of Bible who has publicly advocated such a position as Shane Scott has done, is inexcusable. We hope for better things from the banks of the Hillsborough River.