Dr Jim Allan, a geneticist, tells of his ‘double conversion’
Dr James Allan, M.Sc.Agric. (Stellenbosch), Ph.D. (Edinburgh), retired as senior lecturer in the Department of Genetics, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, in 1992. He has researched the genetics of fruit flies, snails, chickens, dairy cattle, and fish, and taught students quantitative and population genetics, particularly in its application to the breeding of animals. He spoke recently with Dr Don Batten and Dr Carl Wieland.
Dr Allan told us that he accepted evolution as a young student at university ‘virtually from the word go.’ He says, ‘For about 40 years I believed in the theory of evolution.’ He thought that evolution explained the similarities that exist between living things—such as all living things sharing the system of coding genetic information on DNA—and never questioned the idea. Things shared the DNA code because they had a common ancestor, he thought.
Jim started to go to a different church and heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the first time. He says:
‘I saw my weaknesses, my sin, my faults. I was converted and I began to read Scripture really meaningfully for the first time.’
However, he carried on believing in evolution, until one day his wife said, ‘Is there any reason why God should not have created all forms of life on the basis of a universal genetic code?’
Jim shared his response:
‘My immediate reaction was one of annoyance. What is she on about?—absolute nonsense! What does she know about such things? And then I got up in a state of irritation and I stalked out of the house. As I walked, I found myself thinking, and I really believe at that stage God spoke to me. He humbled me. I suddenly found myself thinking, you know, maybe she does have a point. Maybe God did create all forms of life on the basis of a universal genetic code. I mean, why should we expect God to do otherwise?
‘This whole argument of DNA—the universality of DNA—is a major plank of the common ancestry argument. I became aware that the Word of God was more important than my concept of science. And I truly can say that I became aware that I’d been worshipping and serving created things rather than the Creator, as Paul said (Romans 1:25).’
Jim says he had a ‘double conversion’—his spiritual conversion and his conversion from evolution to accepting creation. He says that this brought about a ‘radical change’ in the way he regarded God. He says that previously, he had a god of his own making, one he kept ‘in a box,’ not the God of the Bible. But now, the beauty, perfection and the wonder of the Scriptures just ‘jump out’ at him.
We asked him how he now viewed the supposed evidence for evolution. He said:
‘I began to look more critically at the assumptions underlying some of those things that seemed so logical. For example, I came to see that resemblances between taxonomic families, orders, classes, etc. are due to the work of a creator, not common ancestry.’
Jim Allan says that previously, when people brought up creationist interpretations of the evidence he would say, ‘Why bring that nonsense to me?—it’s not science.’
But in the last decade or so, as he has considered a number of these, he has found that they are perfectly reasonable and intellectually acceptable. He now finds it sad that anyone should insist on evolutionary interpretations, which are ‘unproven and unprovable.’ ‘Science,’ he says:
‘becomes much more meaningful and satisfying in the light of Scripture, rather than in rejecting it. And I certainly believe it is only as we consider together with legitimate science, the truth learned from Scripture, that we can ever really understand and appreciate the physical universe in which we live.’
What about the six days of creation? Jim says:
‘Jesus refers in various ways to the earliest part of Scripture and says that no part of the Scripture can be broken [John 10:35]. A lot of people I have spoken to have said, "Well, you know, I believe in Jesus Christ, but I don’t believe—no, no, no— it doesn’t have to be in six days." But God did not say it took Him six billion years to do this and then He rested for a billion years. It says six days. And I believe six days. It has brought me a vastly greater awareness of the reality of God. If you think in terms of millions of years to now, you automatically think of millions of years in the future. And God, Scripture, Jesus Christ and saving Grace all become something rather wishy-washy and lost in the midst of this vastness.
‘But if one accepts six creation days and the genealogies of Scripture, so the time overall is a question of about six thousand years—this is something the human mind can comprehend more clearly, and it brings, for me, the whole reality of God so much closer.’
Dr Allan says that when he was a ‘Christian evolutionist,’ he had not thought of the fact that believing that the fossils formed millions of years before man meant that there was death and bloodshed before sin. However, he was now acutely aware of the problem. He is now crystal clear about it; God created in perfection, and there was no death in the world until Adam sinned.
Asked how he coped as a creationist university lecturer, he said he used to give two lectures on evolution. One was what the theory said, and the other why he didn’t believe it.
We raised the issue of new species forming by natural selection, to which he replied:
‘It doesn’t matter if one population breaks into several subgroups, even to the extent of not reproducing with each other anymore. In fact, you would expect that to happen after the Flood, so coyotes, wolves, dingoes, and so on might have had a common ancestor, but the key is that there’s no new information—that natural processes don’t create any new DNA information. I’ve observed 40 generations of selection of fruit flies. I’ve seen lots of defective flies because of mutations, but I’ve never seen new, additional genetic information appear which would give hope to evolutionists. The belief in amoeba-to-man evolution needs a huge amount of new genetic information.’
Having retired from secular education, Dr Allan now lectures in churches, schools, and universities on the reality of biblical Creation.