In Memory of
Dr. BOLTON DAVIDHEISER
Every now and then we meet a man who is so upright in his deportment and so genteel of manner that the respect he inspired lives long after him. Dr. Bolton Davidheiser was such a man. On 16 August 2007 Dr. Bolton Davidheiser shed this mortal coil in exchange for life eternal. He was 95 years old at the time of his death. Dr. Davidheiser earned his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. Our heartfelt condolences are extended to his wife Joanna, and family.
Dr. Davidheiser is perhaps best known for his book, Evolution and Christian Faith, (1969). Other books written by him include Science and the Bible (1971), To Be As God: The Goals of Modern Science (1977), and Creation, Time, and Dr. Hugh Ross (1998). A second, expanded edition of the book against Hugh Ross, entitled, Concerning the Ministry of Dr. Hugh Ross was in preparation circa 2000 but apparently never made it into print. Your editor has a proof copy submitted by Dr. Davidheiser for critique. Over the following year or so, we corresponded about corrections and evaluations of the book.
I had the honor of meeting Bolton Davidheiser on 16 June 1996. He arranged for me to speak at the Baptist Community Bible Church on Alondra Boulevard in Norwalk, California where he attended. After the service, my wife, Beth, our children and I along with our host, Frank Gauna, and Dr. Davidheiser, were to go to an Arby’s about a mile west of the church, on Alondra Blvd. Dr. Davidheiser was 83 at the time and on a bicycle. After a reasonable wait, Dr. Davidheiser did not arrive so Frank drove back to the church to look for him along the way. Dr. Davidheiser was nowhere to be found. Providentially, Frank found him on the wrong street (Pioneer). We eventually did get to talk for a while over a milkshake. All too soon it was time to depart as it was getting dark.
Dr. Davidheiser’s Personal Testimony
“As a teenager I asked a Sunday school teacher, ‘Some people say Christ died for us. How could that be?’ The Sunday school teacher did not know either, and although I went to church regularly, it was not until many years later that I first learned from a radio evangelist about the gospel of salvation by grace through the atonement made by Christ upon the cross. Then I heard it again from another evangelist. With this new understanding I really believed and received Christ as my personal Savior.
“But there was the evolution problem. I had a Ph.D. in zoology and was certain the fossil record and other evidences showed evolution to be a fact. Evolution and the doctrine of salvation by grace through the atonement cannot both be true. If evolution is true, we are improved animals instead of sinners fallen from a perfect creation. Then there would be no need for the Redeemer.
“Soon after that [at age 32—ed.] I was engaged in cancer research at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. Frequently I went into the stacks of the Welsh Medical Library and read articles on evolution by the evolutionists. It did not take long for me to find evolution was not the certainty I had thought it was, and I became a creationist. The notes I took were the start of my book, Evolution and Christian Faith, which went through a total of thirteen printings.
“I became an early member of the modern creationist movement and was a speaker at all the conferences as well as in churches and schools, and also was on radio and television.”
As a creationist, Bolton Davidheiser taught at Biola University in La Mirada, the town he lived in the rest of his life. While at Arby’s he spoke of his disappointment there, as the University went from a conservative, creationist-friendly school to a hostile, evolutionist, American Scientific Affiliation type institution. In 2002 he wrote the following to me in a letter:
I got a Ross letter recently stating that Kenneth Richard Samples is with him and is his vice president. Samples wrote anti-creationist books years ago and said that I preferred working at Disneyland to college teaching. Biola was going liberal and did not want me any more, but I had tenure, so I resigned and needed temporary employment.
In other words, the situation eventually became so bad that he could no longer teach at Biola.
As an officer of the Creation Research Society in the early 1960s, Dr. Davidheiser ran into another problem. As one of the four directors, he had to work with Seventh Day Adventists, a sect he deemed heretical. As a result, he was forced out of that office although he was still allowed to publish in the Creation Research Society Quarterly.
In one of our last exchange of letters we wrote about using email and the Internet for communicating ideas. He wrote back:
How could anything of my writing get to the Internet? I don’t even know how to read internet.
In the same letter, he wrote the following about the geocentric model of the universe:
If I were required to say whether I accept geocentricity, yes or no, I would say yes.
We present here a sample article written by Dr. Davidheiser which article is circulated on the Internet, albeit not as extensively as his article criticizing the idiocy of Hugh Ross.
Can Biblical Creation and Evolution Be Reconciled?
By Dr. Bolton Davidheiser
Prominent scientists and theologians insist that Biblical creation and evolution can be reconciled, and furthermore that reconciliation is desirable and important. Other scientists and theologians, a minority in our day, hold the opposite view. Many books and numerous articles have been written on the subject and so a resolution of the matter in few paragraphs may seem to be impossible. But perhaps not.
Those who seek a reconciliation seem always to base the whole issue on the first two chapters of Genesis in the Bible. Their contention is that if the creationists would only interpret these two chapters properly there would be no real difficulty and reconciliation would be accomplished.
However, one problem which does not involve interpretation is that the Bible gives the names of early men and the lengths of their lives, starting with Adam, the first created man. That Adam was a real individual and not merely a type of mankind is attested by the apostle Paul as important in Christian theology (Romans 5:14-21, I Corinthians 15:21-23). Also there are other New Testament references to Adam and the first three of his children as real persons.
The Biblical genealogies encompass a very brief period of time compared to the enormous extent of the ages needed to make evolution possible. One attempt to reconcile this disparity in time has been by postulating an indefinitely long interval between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. The English translation of the second verse is changed from “the earth was without form and void” to “the earth became without form and void.” It is assumed that there was a creation previous to the one recorded in Genesis which was ruined and made chaotic through a rebellion brought about by Satan. This change in translation is accepted by some Hebrew scholars, particularly those desiring to reconcile creation and evolution, but the majority seem to agree that it puts an unnatural strain on the Hebrew grammar in this verse.
Two Old Testament references are cited in support of this “gap theory,” also called the “ruin-reconstruction theory.” One is Isaiah 45:18, stating that God created the earth not in vain but formed it to be inhabited. “Not in vain” here is the same Hebrew word as “without form” in the Genesis text. But as also described in the Genesis account, it merely says that the earth at first was in an uninhabitable condition and does not mean that a former creation was destroyed.
The other is Jeremiah 4:23, “I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void.…” In context the prophet is describing his vision of the condition of the land of Israel during the Babylonian captivity. It has nothing to do with the time of creation.
Adoption of the “gap theory” by creationists is merely a device to accommodate the Bible to the great age of the earth insisted upon by evolutionists. It grants them the one thing they must have—vast amounts of time. Moreover, in recent years various “scientific” evidences have been found for a young earth.
But the matter of this postulated gap in the Genesis record is refuted by several Biblical passages, particularly Genesis 1:31. At the end of the creation week God saw that everything which He had made was “very good.” But according to the “gap theory,” Satan, a created being, was already at this time very bad and had caused so much trouble that a previous creation had been ruined, making it necessary for God to perform another creation, the one recorded in the Bible, to take its place.
Also the order of events in creation is in contradiction to the accepted evolutionary sequence: green plants before the sun, whales before land animals, birds before “creeping things.”
Much is said about the “double revelation theory,” that we have two books from which to gain knowledge on this subject, meaning the Bible and the “book of nature,” and they must agree. But when Biblical statements appear to differ from scientific theories, those who put their confidences in the double revelation theory seem invariably to put their faith in the “book of nature.”
The Bible says that the Creator was our Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:1-3, 10, 14; I Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 1:1-2). John 1:1 and 3 expresses it, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.” Verse 14 makes it clear that the Word is Christ. Some have blasphemously written, somewhat paraphrasing John, “In the beginning was the word, and the word was hydrogen.” Rather similarly, as the Bible states that the first man, Adam, was made from the dust of the ground, some say they believe humanity was derived from the same materials as are found in the dust of the ground and add, “by way of long animal ancestry.” Then what about Eve, Adam’s wife, the first woman? It is stated in Scripture that she was formed from a portion of Adam’s side. The Hebrew word is generally translated “rib.” there is no possible evolutionary explanation for this.
An honest examination of the matter reveals that Biblical creation cannot be reconciled with evolution. In the end, those who say they can be reconciled are forced to resort to ridicule and name-calling, such as “literalist” and “lunatic fringe.”
But Here Is the Most Important Part
A basic Christian doctrine is salvation by grace through the atonement for sin made by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. Eternal salvation is through receiving forgiveness for sins through the merits or the only sinless One by way of His taking the penalty for our sins upon Himself and dying in our place. But if evolution is true, we are improved animals instead of fallen man who introduced sin into the world by disobeying a direct command by God. It follows from this that there is no need for the Redeemer, no occasion for the Saviour. Thus the basic Christian doctrine, for which a multitude of martyrs have given their lives, is negated.
Many are not aware of this basic Christian doctrine. Ministers of many churches no longer teach it to their congregations. They are more interested in improving social conditions.
Evolutionists frequently use the words “creation” and “Creator” while the context shows they are referring to evolution. Some use the term “creation by evolution.” They point out that evolutionists can believe in God. True, but that is not enough. As James wrote (2:19), “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well. The devils also believe, and tremble.” Evolutionists also point out that they can be as virtuous and ethical as creationists can. True again, but that shows their ignorance of the basic Christian doctrine of salvation by grace and not by works. Judged on the basis of works, none of us can meet God’s standard. The only way to have one’s name written in the Book of life is to be redeemed through the sacrifice for us made by the only One who did not sin.
 Notes taken from the back cover of Creation, Time, and Dr. Hugh Ross.