Dr. Bernard Brandstater
Professor of Anesthesiology, Loma Linda University, Research Associate MB, BS, FRCA, FANZCA, FACA
Bernard was born into a God-loving pastor’s family in Australia, and won a six-year scholarship through medical school in Adelaide University. Starting med school at age 16, he was the youngest in his class, an active member of the Evangelical Union, and leader of a weekly student prayer fellowship. Awarded a Fulbright grant, he did postgraduate study in Philadelphia and London, earning British and Australian fellowships. He accepted to teach at the American University of Beirut, where a two-year contract stretched into a productive thirteen-year tenure. He chaired a new department which became a leader in the Middle East, introduced improved anesthesia techniques, was the founding editor of the Middle East Journal of Anaesthesiology, and hosted the first-ever conference of anesthesiologists in the region. Amidst political turmoil he moved to Loma Linda University in Southern California. There, also, he became chair of a new department which grew into a national leader. He pioneered epidural anesthesia for obstetrics; he introduced advanced methods of mechanical respiration; his research triggered a new era in intensive care for sick infants; he founded a pioneering pain management clinic. In early 2013 he gave an invitational lecture at Sydney University. Always an energetic churchman and music-maker, Bernard has preached often, and served as church organist and as choir and band director. He is a leader in prayer ministry, and for years was Head Elder of a 6000 member church. Persuaded that creation is a foundational tenet of biblical Christian faith, Bernard has pursued a broad spectrum of origins sciences. He has published influential articles on biblical creation, on cosmology, and on aesthetic aspects of intelligent design. His hobbies have included archaeology (Egyptology), blue water sailing (on tall ships), whitewater river rafting (Grand Canyon, Alsek River in Alaska), and mountain climbing (he summited the Matterhorn in Switzerland and Aconcagua in Argentina, 22,834 feet). Grateful for undeserved blessings, Bernard is wholly God’s man. He is married and has four adult children and seven grandchildren.
Memorial to Dr. Bernard Brandstater
Dr. John Sanford, associated with Logos Research Associates, shares the following comments:
I would like to praise the Lord for the life-work of Dr. Bernard Brandstater. Bernard was a talented physician, scholar, musician, and an advocate of Truth. LogosRA has for many years been blessed with Bernard’s warm fellowship. Indeed, he has blessed by both the broader community of the Intelligent Design movement, and the broader Creation movement.
Bernard was a bridge builder. He paved the way for unity and collaboration within the creation community. For example, he helped bridge the gap between Seventh-Day Adventist scientists and other creation-affirming Christian scientists. Bernard was the first Adventist to join LogosRA, and now there are many fruitful links between SDA scholars and the LogosRA fellowship, as well as the broader creation researchers.
Bernard consistently and faithfully stood firm in affirming the first 11 chapters of the Bible. He understood that Creation/the Fall/and Judgement are the foundation on which the Good News of Jesus is built. Without the Fall and Sin, there would be no need for Christ’s atoning work on the cross, and no need for a New Heaven and New Earth. Many academic Christians are in retreat, and starting down the slippery slope of giving up their early roots. Bernard bravely defended the faith, and boldly exhorted his academic brethren to do likewise. I pray we all might follow his lead by faithfully defending the faith, and that we encourage the next generation to do the same.
On a personal level, it has been my great privilege to know Bernard and Beverly. Helen and I have been repeatedly and warmly welcomed into their home, as have countless other people. Our times with them were always filled with joyful energy. Perhaps this is not surprising, as I was told that in Bernard’s youthful days, his nick-name was “Euphoria”. I have never known anyone so encouraging, so enthusiastic, and so overflowing with life.
Perhaps Bernard could best be characterized as having “the joy of the Lord”. His Christian witness was very powerful. Bernard was profoundly blessed, and his many blessings spilled over into the lives of others. I pray that we embrace the joy of the Lord more and more fully, as we reflect on the blessed and fruitful life of Bernard Brandstater.
The following statement is provided by Dr. Leonard Brand, former chair of LLU’s Earth and Biological Science Department:
Bernard did many things to encourage and share a commitment to the biblical truths about creation and the flood. He had a desire to keep LLU thinking about creation. He did this is in several ways.
1. He kept the EBS and others at LLU aware of issues and persons who were leaders in creation and ID.
2. He brought in leaders to get acquainted with us and give talks. He would keep them at his house for several days and bring groups there to meet them, as well as have them speak on campus. Here are some of the persons –
Brad Sparks, an expert on the archaeology of the Exodus
Phillip Johnson, co-founder of the Discovery Institute
Biologist, Dr. Jonathan Wells, from the Discovery Institute
Dr. John Mark Reynolds, from the Discovery Institute
Chemist, Dr. Jonathan Sarfati, from Creation Ministries International
Geneticist, Dr. John Sanford, former atheist from Cornell and president of Logos Research Associates
3. In addition, Dr. Brandstater often went to creationism conferences, such as the periodic ICC conferences—he would urge us to go also, and brought reports of the conferences.
4. He bought subscriptions to Journal of Creation for students who were interested.
5. He read voluminously in the creationist literature.
6. His interest and efforts and enthusiasm in these ways was important for the whole community
Ray Strom, associated with Logos Research Associates, shares the following comments:
We have truly “lost” an amazing "Warrior for God”. I will personally miss the conversation as we were together on occasions like the LogosRA meetings. Bernard was bigger than life itself, and I truly believe that was because God had His hand on His servant for so many years. Bernard was an inspiration to me, and continues to be as all of us are aging, some more than others. His example is “Be faithful” and “Never stop”! So many of us simply loved Bernard for who he was. Stories of great encouragement were never far from his lips, and yes, we too will miss that. But we look forward to that Blessed Hope that we each have to see Christ, and see Bernard again when we are called and meet again on the other side.
Our heartfelt sympathies are with you Beverly as you mourn the loss of a dearest friend.
The following statement is provided by Chris Rupe:
The first thing I remember about Dr. Bernard Brandstater is probably the first thing anyone else would notice… he was exuberant, animated, full of life, and always encouraging. I have never met anyone like him, so refreshing and exciting to be around.
Over the past 8 years of working with Feed My Sheep Foundation under Dr. John Sanford, I have had the privilege of being sharpened by Dr. Brandstater’s faith-filled, intellectual conversations—always at scientific conferences or speaking events relating to the topic of origins where our paths would frequently cross. I remember after a creation conference in 2012 when Dr. Brandstater reminded me saying, “Jesus was our Creator before He was our Savior”. Dr. Brandstater understood the foundational importance of the early chapters in Genesis. He understood that once you trivialize and allegorize the foundational biblical doctrine of Adam, original sin, death, paradise lost, and atonement—the Gospel loses it historical context—upon which the cross stands.
Dr. Brandstater lived to give Glory to God. With his voice and in his writings, he would implore the church, with all his might and vigor, that we must defend the foundations of our faith—or else we will lose the next generation. I know this was what motivated Dr. Brandstater to invest in me personally. If it were not for Dr. Brandstater, I would not be at Loma Linda University as a graduate student studying geology. He connected me to the Seventh Day Adventist community so that I could continue my calling to defend the Word of God. Thank you Dr. Brandstater!
Dr. Brandstater devoted his life for a worthy calling and a worthy Savior. I am just one of the many lives that he has impacted for all eternity.
I remember a story Dr. Brandstater once told me about when he was a young medical student. I’d like to read his account of what happened. Dr. Brandstater wrote this in an email in April of 2019:
The subject line of the email is “Dealing with Evolution and Creation”:
First my own personal story, to tell you when I was first awakened to creationism. I started medical school at Adelaide University in 1945, very fresh and very naive at the age of 16. By a margin of twelve months I was the youngest in my class of about eighty freshmen. …
So as a callow youth, I sat in Botany class, being lectured by a female professor named Patricia Mawson. She was a tall imposing redhead, with a strong projected voice, the daughter of the famous Antarctic explorer, Sir Douglas Mawson, who was Adelaide’s professor of geology. Patricia was the unchallenged authority who could fail your course with a single word. In sync with the science of her day, she taught botany within an evolutionary framework, and quoted Darwin repeatedly. All this was in contradiction to the Bible’s account given by Moses in the Book of Genesis, and imprinted in me for years by trusted Bible teachers in Sabbath School. So I was on guard against this teaching of botany.
In the lab one day Miss Mawson marched up and down behind the long rows where we students, on lab stools, were peering down our microscopes. We were pencil-sketching what we could see. Miss Mawson would pause at times to examine someone’s sketch. And for no reason she paused behind my stool and enquired, using my surname, which was a professor’s custom:
“Well, Brandstater… How are you doing? Are you finding what you’re looking for?”
I gulped a few moments, thinking what to say. Then, with an impulsive, reckless burst I answered: “Yes, I think I’m seeing the important things. But I’m not so sure about all that evolutionary stuff.”
There was silence for a few seconds. Not a word from Miss Mawson. She stayed briefly there behind me. Then this august professor leaned down and spoke quietly in my ear: “Yes, it is ridiculous, isn’t it!”
That surprise response from The Great One gave me renewed courage, and it lasted for weeks. It remains with me even till this late time in my life. I resolved to never again be hesitant to declare my convictions in matters of religious faith.
… I was not always well informed about some aspects of science, or about the ancient texts translated for us into the Holy Bible in English. But for me the clear words in my Bible carried authority.
... Through my earlier years there was no easy, compelling way to prove the existence of a personal Designer. But just in the last twenty or so years scientists have developed marvelous machines that enable them to examine the details of chemistry that make possible the extremely complex chemistry that is the essential basis of life and all its processes.
Cellular structures and processes are now well understood, and their precise chemical make-up is so exact that the world’s best chemists have not figured out how all its complexity first arose, and what was the source of all its magnificent information.
Accidental chemical reactions could never, by pure chance bring together the hundreds of amino acids, all in the right order that are needed to make the hundreds of proteins that are essential in every living cell. By means of probability theory they have calculated what are the chances of the right components coming together, all in the right order and at the right time. And the chances are so remote that some scholars declare chance could NEVER do it.
Some of the world’s topmost scientists have been bold enough and secure enough in their careers, to admit publicly that nature and its life could not happen without help from a DESIGNER.
… If chance is an impossible explanation, the only alternative is DESIGN. In one of my articles I have declared that the evidence FROM SCIENCE can give us the words of the First Angel of Rev: 14:6,7:“Fear God and give him glory….and worship him that made the heaven and earth, and the fountains of waters.”
In our modern, decaying culture I would like this Creation message to be the loud voice message of our church: “Fear God! Quit ignoring him as if he does not exist! Science has proved life must have been designed! Listen to him!”
That was the heart cry of Dr. Bernard Brandstater.