SS eventh-day Adventists in South America are using videos produced in the ecologically diverse Galápogos Islands to affirm the Bible’s account of Creation. And, they’re going to the place where evolutionary theory once made its case.
The assortment of life in the Galápagos also show another side of the origins story: that what you see there was created by God. It is what Adventist Education uses to support a set of initiatives strengthening the teaching of creationism in the region.
One initiative was the opening of Origins - Museum of Nature, in February this year. Located in the main island via the archipelago, the museum aims to present to tourists from around the world the emergence of the planet and the species using the arguments for creationism and intelligent design. In addition, it is a space where researchers who want to develop studies related to the creation theme can also work.
But it’s not possible to bring the thousands of Adventist Education students spread across eight South American countries to the islands, or even the museum. This was the genesis—if you will—for the Adventures in Galápagos series, videos produced in partnership with the Adventist Church’s Feliz 7 Play platform. Launched in May, the first episode was used as part of the curriculum for thousands of elementary and high school students throughout the region.
"We have a philosophy: to promote the physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, spiritual, and social development of our students,” said Pastor Edgard Luz, director of Adventist Education for the South American territory. “And we have to present our students with scientific knowledge and encourage them to be researchers, to investigate, to read and to reach conclusions for themselves.”
For him, each human being, created in the image and likeness of God, has the capacity of free will and must develop their identity and be a thinking citizen, and not merely a reflector of the thoughts of others.
Encouraging the defense of creation
Inspired by the series, students in June were encouraged to participate in a competition focused on preparing three to five minute videos with a creationist theme. For this, an educational production presented all the necessary steps preparing the content, from scripting to visuals. With this “class” in hand, the students started to put their ideas on paper.
From the students’ productions, each school or college selected the best one. It was then sent to the local church area’s Education Department. After evaluation there, the production judged best was submitted to the local Union, and finally, the chosen video was sent to the South American Adventist Education office.
Through this process, 16 works reached the final stage: eight from Brazil and eight from seven other countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay.
“We wanted to show the importance of creationism for our faith. It is important that students, especially in this age group, have a solid foundation about how things were done, how our origins were, how we came about. One of the main goals is to take them to reflection," said geologist Marcos Costa, president of the Creationist Brazilian Society (SCB), the Geoscience Research Institute director for the eight nations in the division, and one of the creators of the initiative.
For Costa, based on the works sent by 1703 students, including Nicolle Cunha de Oliveira, 15, this goal was achieved. On October 20, in the office of the South American headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, thousands of Adventist Education teachers, staff, students, and their parents followed the final stage of the contest.
“I wanted people to understand the same thing that I feel when I read the Bible, that I have a Creator who loves me and has done everything. Nothing was done by chance ”, said Nicolle, who had her video chosen by the judges in the final stage. With the theme "Anthropic constants - the universe testifies," it shows that if certain independent factors were changed, it not allow the existence of life on Earth.
In the broadcast in which the winning work was announced, during the week of the annual Creation Sabbath, a date always celebrated on the fourth Saturday of October, the second episode of the Galápagos adventure series also aired. "Our students are receiving the most important element of education, which is the belief in a God who created the earth, the sky, the sea and springs of water," Costa declared.