Tim noticed on his syllabus that Professor Daily was starting the next section — “What does the Bible say about right and wrong?” Were there real boundaries to what was right or wrong, or could people make up their own lists? Were society’s laws the only laws? Was the Bible even relevant to the conversation about what was right and wrong? For Tim, these were deep questions.
The professor’s first statement got everyone’s attention: “Today this university has decided to allow you to do whatever you want to do except drink from the drinking fountain in the middle of the campus. That drinking fountain is the only one that is connected to a special well below the surface of the school. All other fountains are okay to use because they are connected to the city water supply. Anything you want to do while on campus you are free do—except drink from that one drinking fountain. By the way, if you do drink from that water fountain you will be dismissed from this university.”
Was this for real? Tim thought of what that might mean for himself: total freedom to do whatever he wanted. He wouldn’t have to go to class if he didn’t want to. He could eat as much as he wanted at the cafeteria. He could sleep in every day. He could stay in whatever dorm he wanted to stay; the coed dorm room sounded good to him. He could do or not do his homework.
Jeff asked what was so special about the water fountain in the middle of the campus.
Professor Daily said, “Our science department has determined water from the foundation comes from an underground well that has a certain chemical make-up that increases the intelligence of those who drink the water.”
Was Professor Daily just making something up for another “learning moment?” What if this was a real possibility? Why wouldn’t the university want every student to drink and learn more? “The reason we can’t let anyone drink from the water fountain is because at some point after you drink from that water you will die.”
This was kind of strange. We get freedom to do whatever we want, but we can’t drink from the water because that may make us smarter, but we’ll also die. Then Professor Daly says, “Take your textbook (the Bible) and turn to the book of Genesis, Chapter 2.”
Aha, it was another teaching moment. Too bad. The freedom thing sounded good.
Next time, we’ll join Tim and see what Genesis 2 through 3 says.
The Rev. Scott Van Bibber is pastor of New Hope Church of the Nazarene. Sermon notes is a column by local religious leaders.