Lifegate Emphasizes God's Presence in Sciences

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), October 30, 2005 | Go to article overview

Lifegate Emphasizes God's Presence in Sciences


Byline: The Register-Guard

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge

- Scripture cited on Lifegate Christian School's Web page

At first glance, the only unusual thing about Jacque Langenberg's freshman physical science class is that it has only four students.

But look again.

Today's topic is Einstein's Theory of Relativity, and Langenberg guides her students as they consider how the speed of light influences such properties as mass and time.

Student Joe Beaty, at Langenberg's urging, displays a sign with the word "Wow" as the class tries to fathom how a photon at the speed of light can travel to the moon and back in three seconds.

A few minutes later, Langenberg offers an observation not heard in most science classrooms: "Einstein didn't create this, he discovered it," she says of the Theory of Relativity. "God set all these things in motion, and we get to keep discovering things."

Langenberg then asks student Jesse Bassett to take his turn reading aloud from the classroom's textbook, "Science of the Physical Creation in Christian Perspective."

"Although relativity stretches our imagination, it should also remind us that our Heavenly Father, who is the Creator of the universe, is a very wise and intelligent Designer," Bassett recites. "We remind ourselves of the words of David, `O Lord, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep.' '

Langenberg is in her eighth year at Lifegate Christian School, a nondenominational school housed in a wing of a Nazarene church in west Eugene. The private school, begun in 1994, currently has 63 students in grades six through 12. An elementary school serves another 38 students at a separate campus.

In addition to science, Langenberg teaches history and Bible study - and serves as school counselor. Biblical creationism is the foundation of the school's curriculum.

In her physical science class, for example, Langenberg touches on electricity and magnetism, chemistry and geology, botany and zoology. But her seven-unit teaching template is tied to the seven days of creation as described in Genesis, the first book of the Bible.

Astronomy, for example, is related to Gen. 1:14-19, which tells of God's creation of the heavens; the emergence of humans is tied to Gen. 1:26-31, which describes the creation of man in God's own image.

"I believe God is much bigger than anything we know," says Langenberg, prior to class. "God is transcendent - beyond our human limitations."

As for evolution, Langenberg says she doesn't want her students to think of it as "a naughty word." Her textbook, published by a ministry of Pensacola (Fla.) Christian College, devotes several pages to evolution.

But it also labels evolution "a mistaken belief," cites biblical creation as "the only reasonable belief," and devotes four pages to Noah's ark and the flood described in Genesis.

Upstairs in another classroom, teacher Mark Hough is adamant that students in his upper-class science classes also need to know about evolution.

"If you want to have a discussion with people about the validity of creationism, you've got to know your stuff," says Hough, in his first year at Lifegate. …

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