Faculty: In Their Own Words – Dr. Pierre Gilbert
Dr. Pierre Gilbert, Associate Professor of Bible and Theology, has taught at CMU and Concord College (one of CMU's founding colleges) since 1999.
What do you love about your work here?
That I can teach. Without reservations, without constraints, I can do what God has called me to do. When I became a Christian at the age of 16 years old, I fell in love with scripture, and almost immediately after, I felt a call from God to teaching or preaching. I didn't know exactly what I was going to do, but I knew I was going to do that, and in that respect CMU has been a wonderful place to be.
What are you teaching in the 2018-19 school year that you're most excited about?
The Problem of Evil in a Biblical Perspective. The wonderful thing about this course is that students can take what I think are without a doubt the most grievous questions that human beings can ask—why is there gratuitous suffering in the world, and why do we die—and they get the opportunity to look at scripture and construct answers to these questions.
What are you researching and writing?
I have a manuscript about the problem of evil I'm hoping to sell to a publisher sometime (soon). The greatest thing about writing this book is I've been able to look at the Christian dilemma with respect to the problem of evil: If God is good, He should desire that we don't suffer; and if God is all powerful, He should have the means to ensure that we don't suffer. But, human beings suffer and they die, so we can draw one of two conclusions: either God is not good, or He is not all powerful. In the last two years, I've had the opportunity to study the creation account in Genesis 1-3, and I have rediscovered the wonderful truth that God is indeed good, He's all powerful, and His original plan for human beings never included suffering or death. It is really a text written to exonerate God from all responsibility with respect to the emergence of evil in human history, and that is one of the greatest lessons any human being can learn.
What do you most long for in your work?
Two things: I do my utmost to get students to love scripture and to live their lives in light of its teachings. I am profoundly convinced that if they do so, they will live successful, useful, productive, and purposeful lives. The second thing is, I do my best to inculcate the most basic notions of critical thinking. This is one of the greatest gifts a university can give its students.
Do you have a saying or motto that inspires you?
From Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis: "(Some say) 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher... You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool... or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us."