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The Teacher
by Lawrence Farlow
Not For Sale
Author requests article critique


(I RARELY venture into the realm of fiction so I'd be especially appreciative of feedback on this one)

The last thing he remembered was being in his car. Now he was somewhere else, but where? He’d just finished an afternoon science lecture and had headed for home so that he could prepare for his evening lecture on the origins of life. He had to be ‘studied up’ for this one because there were a couple of those fundamentalist religious nuts in class this semester who questioned everything, even long accepted scientific theory.

In fact, he was lost in thought, angry over their latest attempt to bring their religion into the classroom when he saw the truck enter his lane. Now it was coming back to him. The truck had swerved to miss another car and had barreled into him head on. I must be in the hospital he thought.

He was aware of light above his head, an operating room? The light seemed to move up and back, one minute approaching him, the next fading away. He could hear voices as well but couldn’t make out what was being said. Were they doctors? Nurses? His wife? As with the light, the voices ebbed and flowed, louder one minute fading the next, never clear enough to understand.

Ever so gradually, however, he began to realize that one of the voices was his own. As the voices came into clarity, the light came into focus as well. He was in his classroom at the college and he was lecturing! But that can’t be, he thought, I’m here, in the hospital. Nevertheless, he saw what he saw and, being a scientist, was forced to admit that however improbable it seemed, the facts were what they were. He’d told his students many times that facts don’t always lead where we think they will and we must be open to the possibility that our preconceived notions about a situation may be incorrect. Such was his current dilemma. Even though he knew, or thought he knew, that he was in the hospital, here he was back in his classroom. Is it possible what he though he knew was not true at all?

“Although it was believed by many early on that life on earth evolved from lower forms, it was not until Darwin that an actual method for this evolution was suggested. Through the process of natural selection, Darwin postulated that all complex life forms arose from much simpler ones. This landmark theory has now become the accepted scientific explanation for the origins of life on planet earth.”

He was early in his ‘origins of life’ lecture, the one he planned to give this evening.

That’s when he saw him…a strange looking student. Having taught at the college level for many years, he realized that the phrase ‘strange looking’ was relative. However, this man was definitely different, in a way that was hard to describe. He had piercing eyes that seemed to see right into the soul. And the way he was dressed! A white floor length robe, so white in fact that it literally glowed. He had a fleeting recognition that this was the light he’d first seen when regaining consciousness.

The student, his eyes fixed on the teacher, spoke.

“In the beginning GOD created the heaven and the earth”

Something about how the student spoke made him uncomfortable but he composed himself and went on with the lecture.

“Young man”

Was he really that young? Come to think of it he looked to be in his early 30’s, somewhat older than the average college student.

“Your religious beliefs have no place in this classroom. We’re here to learn science, to discuss the facts. You’re certainly entitled to your…”

He was cut short by the student once more speaking:

“…keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called”

Committed to my trust? Science falsely so called? What was this guy talking about? He was getting angry now.

“My trust, what exactly do you mean, my trust. I’m charged with…”

“…whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.”

He’d had enough now. “Listen young man, I don’t know who you are or where you’ve come from but I do know that I’m in charge of this class room and…”

“I AM” the student fairly roared.

He was taken so aback that he tripped over the corner of the podium and almost fell.

“Paul, Paul, can you hear me Paul?”

The voice was no longer that of the student but of his wife.

“Paul, it’s me, can you hear me?”

“Y…yes, but where…”

“It’s OK honey, you’ve been in a bad accident. The doctors say you’re going to be alright though.”

“But what about that man, who was he, where did he come from?”

“The other driver’s OK too Paul, don’t be worried…”

He cut his wife short, “no NOT the other driver, the man in white with the piercing eyes, who is he, where did he go?”

Then the realization struck him with a force greater than the truck that had hit him only a few hours before. Could it really be? Could it be that what he’d believed all along was not true? Did he, as he’d taught his students so often, need to reevaluate his own beliefs in light of new information?

“Paul it’s OK, really, just calm down everything will be fine. Is there anything I can get you, honey?”

“A Bible” he said. “bring me a Bible”.

(Scriptures quoted from KJV Genesis 1:1; I Timothy 6:20; Mark 9:42)

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