The second annual Grand Rapids Film Festival starts today and The Genesis Code, a film making its debut tonight, has a strong Acton connection.

One of the executives driving this production is Jerry Zandstra, who also plays the Rev. Jerry Wells in the movie. You’ll see him in the opening shots of the trailer here in the pulpit, which is what is known in Hollywood as typecasting. That’s because Zandstra is an ordained pastor in the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Outside of the film business, he teaches global economics at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids. But many Acton students, supporters and staff remember him as the institute’s former director of programs who was an outstanding lecturer and great friend.

If you’re in the area, check the festival schedule for screenings through the weekend. After its premier, The Genesis Code will have a run in West Michigan  theaters. You can get tickets here on the official site. The movie was filmed last year in the Grand Rapids area, and tells the story of a college hockey player and a journalism student looking for common ground between faith and science. It stars Fred Thompson, Louise Fletcher, Ernest Borgnine, Logan Bartholomew and Kelsey Sanders.

Grand Rapids Press religion writer Charley Honey, in a story about The Genesis Code, looked at this  faith-versus-science theme:

… it turns out the book of Genesis and the findings of science agree just fine, according to this $5 million movie to be released this week at the Grand Rapids Film Festival … “The core of the story is this faith-versus-science piece,” said Zandstra, an energetic guy with a weight-lifter’s physique. “Those two are not necessarily enemies. As a matter of fact, they ought to be friends.”

The premise is not new, but presenting it as a film drama definitely is. While not likely a blockbuster, Zandstra’s movie might move into the popular square a long-raging debate in Christian academia: Can the Bible’s six-day creation account be squared with the 4.5-billion-year-old scenario of science?

The Dove Foundation gave the film 5 stars. It’s reviewer was thrilled with the story:

This is a fantastic movie! Amazing graphics are used to tell the story of the Creation based on what scientists and theologians refer to as the Genesis Code. The acting is superb and indeed this film features a few veteran actors like Fred Thompson, Ernest Borgnine, Catherine Hicks, Rance Howard, Susan Blakely and Ben Murphy. The story is well told and the younger actors do an awesome job as well. We are pleased to award our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal to this movie.

Get connected on the Genesis Code Facebook page.

The story:

Kerry Wells (Kelsey Sanders), a college journalist and committed Christian with an effervescent personality, has been assigned to do a story on Blake Truman (Logan Bartholomew) the college’s newest and very popular hockey superstar.  As a relationship between them begins to develop Kerry finds that Blake, who hides behind a tough and independent façade, is actually struggling through a difficult personal crisis and that he bears the cross of a secret he has kept hidden for years.  Blake rebuffs Kerry’s suggestion that prayer might help ease his burden; he is convinced that modern science completely disproves the Bible, especially the opening verses of Genesis. Kerry —- who is herself suddenly confronted with a challenge to her faith on another front —- sets out to prove that science and Genesis are not in conflict and her quest leads to a startling revelation.  Could it be that what science teaches us about creation and the Story as told in Genesis are both true and in perfect accord?


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  • Roger McKinney

    In the first place, there never has been a conflict between Christianity and science. As most philosophers and historians of science know, Christianity gave birth to moder science, mainly because of Christianity’s historical emphasis on reason and logic.

    The theory of evolution is not science; science is any effort that follows the scientific method. Evolution is a philosophy. The fact that most scientists follow that philosophy, and that they refuse to allow any other philosophy to be discussed, doesn’t make it a science.

    I’m a 6-day creationist, but I have known a lot of good Christians who were theistic evolutionists, or as real evolutionists call it, the “god in the gaps” theory. Many Christians, such as Francis Collins, head of the human genome project, find great comfort in making Genesis retell the story of evolution guided by God. But intellectually you’re going to have some serious problems doing so.

    1) You have to shred the principles of hermeneutics. Hermeneutics is a science, too, and it was developed as a subset of logic to apply logic to the interpretation of the Bible. Theistic evolution destroys hermeneutics.

    2) Traditional Christianity says that physical death appeared only after the fall from grace in the garden. God in the gaps requires millions of years of massive death.

    3) The whole point of Christ’s becoming human was to save us from ourselves. God created us perfect and our rebellion destroyed us. But with the god in the gaps theory, mankind never fell from a state of perfection; God caused us to evolve from animals, so we were always imperfect. Then at some point God proclaimed that imperfection unsatisfactory to him and condemned mankind to an eternity in hell, not because of something mankind did, but because of what God did in making us imperfect in the first place.

    The story is really sad. God spent millions of years evolving us to humans. Then, just when we finally achieve status as humans, God condemned us to an eternity in hell because we weren’t perfect. We would have been better of remaining as animals.

  • Roger McKinney

    PS, the theory of evolution is based on the philosophy of materialism, or as Hayek called it, scientism. The main point of materialism is that no objective truth exists outside of empirical sciences, or the natural sciences. So philosophy and religion can never be true unless supported by natural science. God in the gaps theologians give in to this false philosophy instead of insisting that logic is as valid a path to truth as empirical data. Materialism/scientism is an assault on logic as a means to truth. It’s an epistemological philosophical battle, not a scientific one.

  • Roger McKinney

    This quote from Bohm-Bawerk clarifies the epistemological problem: “The historical school believes the ultimate source of the errors of classical economy to be the false method by which it was pursued. It was almost entirely abstract-deductive, and, in their opinion, political economy should be only, or at least chiefly, inductive. In order to accomplish the necessary reform of the science, we must change the method of investigation; we must abandon abstraction and set ourselves to collecting empirical material — devote ourselves to history and statistics.” This is from an article on the mises.org blog today.
    Bohm-Bawerk is writing about the differences in epistemology between the German historical school and the Austrian school of economics, but the same problem exists between traditional Christianity and the unscientific theory of evolution. Materialists insist that inductive reasoning from empirical data is the only legitimate method for determining truth. Traditional Christianity has always insisted that the deductive method is not only legit, but the most certain path to truth in the matters of origins and theology. And if the conclusions that men reach through the inductive/empirical method disagree with those of the deductive method, the deductive method has the upper hand because data must be interpreted. Data never interprets itself. “Scientists” who claim that it does are either dishonest or delusional. The empirical data can easily be interpreted to fit a literal 6-day creation, as the field of Creation Science has demonstrated for decades.