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'Be sober and self-controlled. Be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour'. (1 Peter 5:8, CEB). 'Put on the whole armour of God so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the world's rulers, of the darkness of this age, against spiritual wickedness in high places'. (Ephesians 6:11-12)



Looking back over the years to 1976, when I was born again during that wonderful Easter Sunday night, I am conscious of the ever-present Lord who has been teaching me ever since. My eyes are being opened even as I am writing this in late 2017.


I now recognize how I had been struggling against mighty spiritual forces coming against me and my family. Upon my conversion, relational problems developed within the home, between ourselves and our relatives, and in our work places as my Christian views became well known. Even my wife had issues in the school staff room with questions about me.


In Australia we are so materialistic and locked into nature taking its course that we tend to dismiss what the apostle Paul warned that we do not fight against flesh and blood, but against the rulers of this world who are driven by evil spiritual beings in high places.


We hear about the patience of Job when one ‘natural calamity’ after another struck him. (Job Chapter 1).


Job had no idea that God allowed him to become an experimental guinea pig in a confrontation between Satan and God. Satan taunted God that Job was only righteous because of the wall of protection that God had been providing. So God removed his protection and allowed Satan to do whatever he wished as long as he did not take Job’s life.


Job had no idea that it was Satan who orchestrated bandits to kill his herds and servants in the field. He had no idea that it was Satan who brought down fire from heaven and killed his sheep, with bandits killing his shepherds bar one who escaped to report back to Job. He had no idea that it was Satan again who conjured up a freak tornado that killed all his children in their brother’s house. And again, he had no idea that it was Satan who covered him all over with itchy boils!


One could say it was from the hand of God to test Job, but it was Satan who conspired, devised and carried out the evil deeds. Satan used:

·  Nature: Fire from heaven, then a tornado and then sickness

·  Wicked men: The two groups of bandits who killed and robbed, taking the herds.

Who in our materialistic western world would have thought that Satan can organize the weather, your failing health and brutal men to bring you to your knees? In that sense, it is the hand of God. Sufferings bring us closer to the Lord. (Psalm 23). We have two options: We can pray for relief and depend on His many promises to heal and deliver us or, if God chooses not to respond that way, we can stand in the midst of trials and sufferings as overcomers. Either way, it will be the will of the Lord if we submit. Knowing that, we can relax that we are in His hands and that His thoughts towards us are always for our benefit and salvation.

What do I mean by an overcomer? Paul the apostle seems to have had a physical condition that bothered him greatly. Jesus had one too, which is why some, who did not believe what He had done, scoffed and mocked Him saying 'physician heal yourself'. Paul called his affliction a thorn in the flesh. Paul said that he had prayed to the Lord three times to take it away, but the Lord would not. Instead the Lord told him 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness'. (2 Corinthians 12:9). We have no choice, but to 'bite the bullet' and proceed with the work of the Lord knowing that He will provide sufficient grace for us to be able to walk through it.


My son and daughter had to cope with the fact that their ‘creationist’ father was blacklisted in the education sector. My son had to walk carefully ‘on eggs’ in the academic community sometimes trying to hide his relationship to me – but his surname was a giveaway.  Paul, who had won the David Myer’s Medal for science on graduation, had an additional problem. None of us is without sin and we all come short of the glory of God. Paul was no exception to the rule, but this energetic young scholar, with ideals and a drive for improvisation wherever he was involved, was a perfect target for the old Australian syndrome - that tall poppies are born to be cut down. Perhaps God was trying to get Paul's attention? Who knows? Satan takes pleasure in destroying people.


Thinking back now, I realize that this happened to me too in a less noticeable way because I had, by no means, a fine scholastic record. I tended to be quiet and managed to cope academically through persistence, whereas Paul was plainly brilliant.


My daughter Jenny’s dream, as a youngster, was to be an archaeologist and to dig up fossils. In her last year at school she was selected together with some of her class mates for work experience at the Melbourne Museum, which earlier had an impressive exhibition on dinosaurs on loan from China. She turned up all excited on the first day. When the curator welcomed them he poured over the list of names. Then he said something like, ‘Which one of you is Jennifer Pallaghy? You are not the daughter of that Charles Pallaghy, are you?’ in a most unpleasant tone. With that, she was isolated into a back room sifting insects from soil day after day. She was so disappointed. At university we would give work experience students a diversity of jobs during their stay to enhance their interest in the field.


She eventually graduated in microbiology winning the microbiology prize at university. The following year, when I was sent to the UK to learn molecular biology, she unwittingly enrolled herself into a research project in the Biochemistry Department under a supervisor who greatly despised my being a creationist. Apparently, he neglected her and, on top of that, another unscrupulous graduate student, instead of ordering his own consumables, kept stealing her bottles from the freezer.


This was also the time when many Australians were only beginning to learn the new molecular techniques. There were three main options - to join a laboratory overseas, to invite a visiting scientist to their laboratory or to participate in an expensive workshop. This was an excellent time for people to take their sabbatical leave. Jenny’s supervisor was no exception. Though he was an excellent biochemist he had not yet learnt the tricks of the trade.


When he went overseas and left my daughter on her own her repeated attempts to manually sequence DNA were unsuccessful and he was unable to help.  Once, when another member of staff returned from overseas, he immediately saw and rectified her problem in the nick of time for her to graduate. Nevertheless, she lost her enthusiasm to continue in research.


I was guilty myself for neglecting the welfare of a graduate student. She was adamant to work on the molecular biology of an eco-physiological system. I should have sent her away. However, I was tempted and presumed on the Lord to help me overcome my incompetence which, after two months, became clearly evident to her. The Lord helped alright, but not the way I thought He would. She bitterly complained to the Head of Department who took her away from me once he discovered that I really had no idea where to take the project next. She soon prospered under his supervision. So, all glory I give to the Lord for helping both of us.



Satan has been thwarting God’s purposes even before he came down to ruin Adam and Eve’s life. Satan’s rebellion against Jehovah did not happen overnight. In his rebellion, Satan must have brooded with envy for a long time once he heard about God’s glorious plan to create mankind in His own image.


Satan, also known by the name of light bearer (Lucifer), was a shining angel gifted in music and other wonderful things. Imagine his shock one day when he discovered that he was created an Archangel for the purpose of overseeing other angels who were created to minister to the needs of mankind on Earth and throughout eternity. What a letdown! It wasn’t about him and his glory after all. He did not want to serve man, rather, he thought, it should be the other way around. He rebelled voicing his famous five I WILLs (Isaiah 14:12-15), mustering other dissatisfied angels to his purposes, which amounted to one third of the angels. He even attempted to bribe Jesus with all the riches in the world to join his team. (Luke 4:5-8). The prophet Isaiah declared his end.


‘Your pride has been brought down to Sheol along with the music of your harps. Maggots are spread out like a bed under you, and worms cover you. How you have fallen from heaven, you morning star, son of the dawn! How you have been cut down to the ground, you conqueror of nations! You thought, "I'll go up to heaven and set up my throne above God's stars. I'll sit on the mountain far away in the north where the gods assemble. I'll go above the top of the clouds. I'll be like the Most High". But you've been brought down to Sheol, to the deepest part of the pit’ (Isaiah 14:11-15). 

The world knows of Satan’s glory and power. They even unwittingly named an enzyme after him (luciferase), the enzyme that allows fireflies and other organisms to glow in the dark. In the natural world, fireflies have a complex pattern of mutual flashes to attract mates in the dark for reproduction. There is a larger sinister and predatory species that mimics the pattern of flashes to lure unsuspecting fireflies to their doom. The apostles warned that the same can even happen in the church. Taking an analogy from nature, one could say that the sting is in their tail.

'People who brag like this are false apostles. They are dishonest workers, since they disguise themselves as Christ's apostles. And no wonder, even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it's not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants who have God's approval. In the end they will get what they deserve' (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). This places us into a tricky situation because we are liable to call anyone a false apostle whom we don't like for one reason or another. We have to rely on God's mercy and guidance so that we ourselves don't go astray and label the innocent.



'A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruits, nor can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that does not bring forth good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore, by their fruits you shall know them. Not everyone who says to Me Lord! Lord! shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven'. (Matthew 7:18-21).



While evil pervades the world, one also needs to remember that two-thirds of the angels have remained loyal to God and mankind. One such angel saved me from electrocution.


I decided to replace a strip heater high on the wall in our bathroom. I switched the main power supply off and then dismantled the heater, leaving the two 240 volt wires dangling from high. Putting on the power again, for the sake of the refrigerator and, knowing that my wife would be out for the rest of the day, I rushed off to buy a new set of toggle screws because the new heater did not match the holes in the wall. On returning I was so set on wiring in the new heater that I forgot that the mains power was still on.


With the new bar heater in my hand and screws in my mouth, I climbed the aluminium ladder and was about to brush the two wires aside with my forehead when the strangest of things happened.


Before I could touch the wires I felt an invisible five-fingered hand press into my chest which pushed me forcefully off the ladder against the vanity behind me. Surprised, and with the heater still in my hand, I rested my back against the basin and looked up at the dangling wires, wondering ‘What was that'? And then it hit me. The wires were alive! An invisible ‘being’ had knocked me off the ladder to protect my life.


There are many other  accounts on life-saving  encounters with angels that others have written.


I must admit that the best thing I like about our powerful God is that He is kind and merciful. Just imagine what the Universe would be like if He was a tyrant and was self-obsessed with power, ordering us around as if we were puppets on a string. It blows my mind every time I think about God and the cosmos. I can't imagine how it is that God existed from even before eternity. He was the Universe and all there was before He created. Isn't it wonderful that this eternal being is loving and kind? How amazing is that? Yet this world is full of opposites. I am so thankful that the God of this Universe is a God of love. He hates sin and must severely punish sin, but love found a way through faith in Jesus Christ.


Jesus was punished more than we can imagine. Not only did he suffer physical torture, which Mel Gibson's film 'The Passion of Christ' so realistically portrayed, but after having taken all sins, yours and mine, past and future, upon Himself, He ended up in hell for a limited time; His innocent soul being tormented. We cannot imagine the enormity of that!  The Scripture is abundantly clear that Jesus descended into hell despite what some churches teach (eg. Acts 2:27-31). The apostle's creed is absolutely correct. Satan must have gloated and taken every advantage, but then found nothing to hold Him there. All because God had planned a legal loophole before the foundation of the Earth that Satan obviously knew nothing about. On the third day, the Holy Spirit raised up Jesus who never saw corruption in his body.

I also find it hard to imagine why a once holy angel has become so destructive and soul-destroying. He is full of hate. He has no compassion and takes delight when people suffer. He is like the callous murderers and torturers we read about in newspapers who go to their grave never showing remorse. Satan has caused untold misery throughout history. Hell and Gehenna, the Lake of Fire, must be a terrible place for unbelievers where demons and unbelievers will co-exist. Not only that, but it's there for all eternity. There is no hope of escape, never!

There is one aspect of hell that pleases me. Jesus made it absolutely clear that there are degrees of punishment in hell in several of His sayings. Phrases such as few stripes and many stripes or it shall be more tolerable for..., etc. Check it out. There are also degrees of reward in heaven. Check that one out also.

I also find it hard to imagine why one third of the angels chose to go Lucifer's way. But then we have people like that in this world, don't we? People who aid kidnappers do their dirty work and delight in watching what they do to their victims. They all delight in evil. May the Lord rebuke them and the people of this world who became disciples of Satan, and repay them double for what they have done! (Jude 1:9, Revelation 18:6).



As already mentioned, Job was a righteous man in God's eyes. When a series of catastrophes hit Job's life  Job never suspected that they were Satan-inspired. The one and only restriction God put on Satan was that he could not end Job's life. The Lord allowed the relentless trials to continue in order to bring Job to the end of himself and for Job to acknowledge that God is sovereign in all things. I take solace from Job's example.


Once I became a city-wide voice against certain aspects of evolution theory troubles began to surround me in a big way, at home, with relatives and at work. In my very public verbal fight in the media and on campus that was on view for months, I struggled to bring my previously good reputation as an academic back to order. I tried every avenue to reason scientifically on campus by holding a public lunch-time lecture that included questions and answers, by distributing a six-page circular outlining the failures of science to find an explanation for the origin of life and arranging for our book which I had co-authored, The Bible and Science, to be displayed near the front counter of the University Bookshop.


The kind bookshop manager did not anticipate the vicious backlash that would soon follow from university administration. My academic colleagues just didn’t want to know the truth – they only mocked and ostracized me. Two members of supportive staff told me how they had been called to attend high level meetings to examine strategies how to sack me from my tenured job.

In hindsight, I now realize that Satan’s other ploy was to depress me by destroying my research projects. For no apparent reason I could think of I had to endure years of apparent failure at work all the while trusting the Lord that He would help. He helped me, but only with a little help, just enough to keep me from drowning in my sorrows and frustration. A little victory, here and there, and the joy of my salvation gave me a gasp of fresh air to motivate me to persist and keep going.

He will corrupt those who do wickedly against the covenant by flatteries. But the people who know their God will be strong and take action. “Those who are wise among the people will instruct many; yet they will fall by the sword and by flame, by captivity and by plunder, many days. Now, when they fall, they will be helped with a little help, but many will join themselves to them with flatteries. Some of those who are wise will fall to refine them, to purify and to make them white, even to the time of the end because it is yet for the time appointed. “The king will do according to his will. He will exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and will speak marvellous things against the God of gods. He will prosper until the indignation is accomplished; for that which is determined will be done.' (Daniel 11:32-36).

When my two chief antagonists retired, who had been Heads of Department, I began to receive support from the newly appointed Professor and also from various sectors of the Victorian Department of Agriculture. They overlooked my views on creationism and found ways to get me back on my feet. This allowed the amazing success my laboratory eventually achieved in genetic engineering.  

The few examples I am presenting below will illustrate how Satan attempted to depress and humble me in the work place simply by causing my projects to fail. They failed in a seemingly natural way, but, in hindsight, I can see that it was a sneaky form of spiritual attack.


When I first took up my job in Melbourne I decided to resume the experimental work that I had done so successfully at the Australian National University in Canberra before I was converted to Christianity. I set up equipment in the same way and grew plants in the glasshouse in the same way however, nothing worked. The plants would not respond. I became distressed. I was not a mature enough Christian yet to suspect anything, but I just could not repeat anything I had achieved in Canberra. There was no rational explanation I could find.

Over the next five or six years I enjoyed lecturing to large classes, up to 500 attending, and delivered good presentations at national conferences, but I had nothing else I could boast about.


After I became a vocal Christian I received little support for my laboratory and had only little success, which was garnished with lots of ridicule and occasional direct confrontation; such as the day when the Head of Department with flushed face shouted in front of my office 'I am going to fight you and your God to the death', loud enough to be heard along the entire length of the corridor, his voice permeating into every office.



My laboratory eventually received enthusiastic support from the Commonwealth Government to select maize and sorghum as candidates for our research program on gene manipulation. Their laboratory in Parkville, Melbourne, gave me leaves infected with a virus they wanted me to work on. We were intent on isolating the virus and then introduce incomplete versions of their coat protein gene that would make these crops resistant to Johnsongrass mosaic virus. After years of work we obtained virus-resistant maize and sorghum, and grew them to seed. However, when we were beginning to have success and applied for funds from the Australian Farmer’s co-operatives it became apparent that they had no desire to inject funds into our project. Farmers were willing to live with crop losses that, on occasion, could be as much as 100%.  Major growers were already being courted by billion-dollar consortiums comprised of companies such as Monsanto, Du Pont and Bayer as the following news release in 2007 confirms in part:


‘Monsanto & Dow Agrochemicals join forces to develop the first-ever genetically engineered maize loaded with eight genetic traits for release in 2010. “Farmers will have more product choices to optimize performance and protection....” – (Dow news release Sept. 2007)


As Senior Lecturer I was obligated to design research projects for post-graduate students and secure external grants to maintain my laboratory. For this reason, I chose to also include cotton in our experiments which had the greatest potential to secure international investors. I, together with a Reader in Agriculture, already had a Master’s student working on field trials of gene-manipulated cotton to stimulate deep rooting in tropical north-Western Australia. The cotton was not ours, however. We found that deep placement of phosphorus stimulated deep rooting making the crop hardier during the dry season and published our results.

I therefore sent the Masters student to an institute in Canberra for two days to learn their techniques for inserting our own genes into cotton which would make the plants even more robust. I negotiated with the cotton-project leader who seemed willing to help us.  My student spent a couple of days with them.


The only proviso was, that I asked my student not to reveal details of the genes we had in mind. I can’t remember the genes we had selected, but, most probably, it was the isopentenyl transferase plant-rejuvenating gene from Agrobacterium which proved so successful in stimulating clover growth. (This is also described elsewhere on this website). I have no idea, of course, what the student might actually have told them.

The student returned from Canberra satisfied because of the recipes and protocols he was advised to use. We set up cotton cell tissue-cultures on a large scale, which were tedious for the student to maintain. The cultures showed lack of vigour so we modified our recipes, over time, assuming that the particular cotton variety we had chosen was not very suitable. The student persisted for six months which worried me as it was eating into his limited candidature time of two years - with no real success so far. It was then that I received an aggressive phone call from a very important person. ‘Charles’, he said, ‘If you persist to work on cotton we will come down on you like a ton of bricks’. Flabbergasted and confused I protested that it was their laboratory project leader who helped us to get started and that my student came back encouraged. I couldn’t help but add that none of their recipes had worked. ‘Did you really think we would give you our good recipes'?’ he replied.

While the distraught Master’s student and I were pondering over the next couple of weeks, how his candidature and project could be salvaged, Melbourne was hit by an electrical storm on a Friday evening. The building lost power without us having been informed at home. The emergency services restored power to the building within two hours, so we were informed on the Monday. However, when we came in to work on the Monday morning there was still no power in either of my two laboratories nor in my constant temperature growth room. Everybody else throughout the four storey building had their power over the entire weekend.


The student rushed up to me devastated ‘All my cultures are dead’. They had been starved of oxygen for 60 hours because the flasks had not being agitated. How is it that only my laboratory did not have power restored? Tim had to resign from his candidature and scholarship because now we truly had no project whatsoever.


The trigger plant, Stylidium graminifolium, has an extremely rapid, less than 1 sec firing mechanism that forces flying insects to cross pollinate their flowers. Watch it on youtube:(


The male and female reproductive organs are separated by a small region of 'motor' tissue. The motor tissue can swell to full size over a 20 minute rest period and collapse in less than 1 second. The flower 'fires' as quickly as a mouse trap once the flower is 'tickled' by an insect landing on the secreted nectar on top of the stigma.


The male part of the flower, the anther, is a long arm containing the pollen grains at its tip. When the motor tissue swells the anther swings backwards like a pendulum under tension, just like the rectangular wire on a mouse trap. Then, when the motor tissue suddenly collapses or 'fires', the anther slams forward  smashing the pollen grains onto the female receptor tissues on the stigma.

If an insect is sitting on the stigma the pollen grains end up on the back of the insect instead. Having been struck it flies away in fright and sits on another flower, which repeats the process, if it is set and ready to fire. Thus the insect will cross-pollinate plants of the same species. 

The red pointer in the photo shows the anther in the slow process of resetting itself  backwards in the direction of the white arrow, returning to the 'ready to fire' position. An anther column in the 'ready to fire' position is shown by the green pointer. It is bent back hard against the flower head with lots of stored potential energy. The pollen grains are in the fluffy, hairy head of the anther, shaped like a miniature frying pan.

We wanted to measure the redistribution of mineral substances responsible for swelling cells within the motor tissue during the resetting process. We wanted to experimentally observe the rapid redistribution of materials such as potassium chloride involved in the mechanism. I rapidly froze flowers in various stages of being reset in liquid Freon, at liquid nitrogen temperatures, planning to analyze the sequence of events in resetting motor tissue from about 50 samples. Liquid Freon has high conductivity so the small tissues were instantly frozen. We collected many samples in varying stages of resetting.


It took two years of dangerous and back-breaking work using liquid ether and a specially formulated resin, in an extremely dry chamber fitted with long rubber gloves, for myself and my assistant to prepare individual samples. Ether is highly flammable and can explode in the amounts we used. We had to carefully replace the ice in the tissues with resin without displacing any of the minerals. This procedure is known as freeze-substitution.  


We were finally ready for the next stage of our experiment. This was to prepare extremely thin sections of the plastic embedded materials for x-ray analysis. We ended up with 40-50 samples to give us a good representative picture of what was happening inside the rapidly fired and slowly resetting motor cells. I gave instructions, to my very faithful and experienced research assistant, to prepare the samples for sectioning and X-ray analysis under the scanning electron microscope.


Coming back to the laboratory, a few hours later, expecting to take a section of one sample away with me, I saw that all the samples had been taken out of their capsules and pushed into a pile. One sample was mounted on the extremely sharp microtome for thin sectioning.


‘What have you done'?, I asked. ‘I suddenly had an idea how to be more efficient. Instead of preparing the samples one by one I decided to do each step of the procedure simultaneously to all the samples’. Noting all the labelled empty capsules in another pile, I asked ‘And how do you know which sample is which'?  Two hard years wasted on the spot, all lost in a single moment of confusion. The collection of each sample had been carefully timed during resetting and we had only encapsulated the motor tissue, not the whole column of the anther. There was no visible way of distinguishing the samples.


Nearing my retirement I made a mistake that allowed the university to force me to destroy all valuable genetic materials we had worked so hard for, their seeds and cDNA’s, both the 10kb/nucleotide, full-length cDNA of the ss-RNA positive strand virus and all its' mutated modules for making more constructs, which I and my students invented and had created. Everything had to be destroyed;  vials in our shared freezers, plants in the shared glasshouses, etc. Nothing was to be spared or donated to anybody. Nothing at all!

A typical molecular biology laboratory

The Medical Centre of the University of Nebraska, in Omaha where my student now was employed, wanted to utilize my/our unique DNA materials for their research into cardiovascular disease research (Reviews Medical  Virology. 2001, Nov-Dec;11(6):355-68. The group B coxsackieviruses and myocarditis. Kim KSHufnagel GChapman NMTracy S). The genome of these human parasitic  viruses is almost identical with that of the Johnsongrass virus that I was working on. Our cDNA could have been crucial for medical research. 


However, even this material had to be destroyed, before I departed, because there were no funds for the university itself to further participate in any work. This was my fault, but all could have been put right, negotiated, and materials held safely with guarantees, and contracts written. The good name of the University could have been enhanced by our creations! But no, all had to be destroyed in a fit of rage when I was found out.


What is it that I had done? I gave some of our samples to a university in Canberra, with whom I was collaborating, without first asking my own university. Canberra had a research assistant to spare who was willing to do all the work. 'They will steal it all'. 'You are like a child'.  was the main charge against me.  They were livid. The professor, I was collaborating with, was well known for stealing the work of others, I was told. 'Didn't you know that'?


It was as though powers had been waiting for a justifiable occasion to destroy everything I had achieved. The sudden fierce determination to destroy reminded me of the uncontrolled rage with which King Nebuchadnezzar ordered Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to be thrown into the fire. (Daniel 3:19-23). That was satanically inspired too, because these men refused to worship the golden idol King Nebuchadnezzar had created!


I got the message that, if the University could not continue working on my genetic materials, then nobody else would be allowed to either; not for free anyway.  I harbour no bitterness towards the university or any of those who did so much damage to me. I forgive them freely and have no ill feelings towards them, but I have described these events purely for the record of what Satan-inspired works of the human flesh can do to destroy the reputation of a person.

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