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Before we embark on a consideration of evolution, we need to define what is meant by it, for the word is often used in the wrong sense, even in textbooks. Evolution is that process by which organisms change, so that one species becomes a different one. So, for instance, an ape-like creature becomes a human. This must be clearly distinguished from change that is brought about by adaptation to altering conditions. The latter takes place purely as a result of in-built abilities taking over from one another. The gene pool of that organism will contain scope for variation should the need arise. So the finches on the Galapagos Islands are able to adapt to changing climatic conditions, which vary from decade to decade. They have acquired no new information, but have used the information already coded into them. Sometimes this process will be accelerated by breeding, when particular characteristics are emphasised. All that is happening is that latent characteristics are being accentuated; the creature remains the same kind. Creationists believe in this adaptation too, but they deny that it is appropriate to call it evolution.
In the interests of intellectual honesty, adaptation and evolution should not be used interchangeably. The only way it can be claimed that “evolution is a scientifically proven fact”, is by using the word evolution wrongly and dishonestly. Adaptation is, however, a scientifically proven fact, and Christians are happy to acknowledge that. If evolution of species had occurred, the world would be full of transitional fossils, which is not the case. As Stephen Gould, late Professor of Geology at Harvard University, and an evolutionist), wrote, “The extreme rarity of transitional fossils in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of palaeontology”.
Charles Darwin himself admitted that every stratum of rock, and every geological formation should be full of intermediate forms. He said, “This is the most obvious and grave objection which could be urged against my theory”. Over a century has gone by, and the situation is just as dire for the evolutionist.
It might be helpful at the outset of our discussion to contrast the beliefs held by evolutionists and creationists.
Those who are evolutionists believe the following:
That the universe has always existed.
That its current state is due to events which took place over billions of years.
That forms of life were produced from lifeless matter.
That those forms of life have evolved over billions of years, through chance and necessity, to produce the world we see around us.
Those who are creationists believe the following:
That God is the creator of all things.
That He created the universe out of nothing approximately 6000 years ago.
That He did the creating during six days of 24 hour’s duration, and then rested the seventh day.
That God maintains and preserves that which He has created.
That God created the various kinds of creature with possibilities for variation built into them.
That because sin has entered into the world, God has judged creation by subjecting it to corruption and decay, making it less efficient and beautiful than it was at the beginning.
That when God’s purpose for this present universe has been achieved, He will cause it to pass away, and make a new heavens and new earth which shall never be spoilt.
It is very clear that there is no common ground between these two positions. They are so opposed that they can never be reconciled. Setting the two views side by side shows this:
|God created all things.||All things always existed.|
|God created 6000 years ago.||Universe was formed billions of years ago.|
|Life originated from God.||Life developed on its own.|
|Scope for variations built in.||Variations produced by evolution.|
|Variations according to circumstance.||Variations through chance and necessity.|
|All kinds of creature distinct.||Kinds evolved from one another.|
|Man made by God.||Man evolved from ape-like creature.|
When dealing with these opposing views, we must bear in mind that the creationist and the evolutionist are both confronted by the same evidence. The same earth and sun, the same stars, the same variety of life on the earth, the same fossils. The only thing that is different is the way these things are looked at. It is important to remember this, for creationism is often misrepresented as if it is belief in things that have no scientific support. This is not the case. The words of Charles Darwin should be borne in mind, for he wrote, “I am quite conscious that my speculations run quite beyond the bounds of true science”. What was true in Darwin’s day, is true today.
The idea that evolution is based on evidence and creationism is based on religion and faith is not true. The evolutionist believes he is right, the creationist believes he is right. They both have a faith-system. The difference lies in the fact that creationists believe what they read in the Bible, and see the universe in that light, whereas the evolutionist believes what he and other men think, in independence of God.
That evolution is a faith-system is shown by the Preface to Darwin’s Origin of Species, which reads as follows, “The fact of evolution is the backbone of biology, and biology is thus in the peculiar position of being a science founded on an unproved theory- is it then a science or a faith? Belief in the theory of evolution is thus exactly parallel to belief in special creation- both are concepts which believers know to be true, but neither, up to the present, has been capable of proof”.
We should note, however, in connection with that quotation, that the dictionary defines proof as “any process to ascertain correctness, truths, or facts”, and, “evidence that convinces the mind and produces belief”. The Christian is able to offer proof by pointing to the only credible record of creation, and how all true facts about the universe fit in with that account. He is also able to show that the theory of evolution, far from harmonising with observed facts, flatly contradicts them. There are creationist websites which do this effectively, and they are listed at the bottom of the page. It is in your best interests to enquire further of this matter. These things are not merely of academic interest, for it is vitally important to have a correct world-view, for this determines our attitude to everything, including, most importantly, the question of accountability to God.
Since both evolution and creationism are faith-based, the question to be resolved is- which view is the most reasonable, and most in accordance with the facts? Reasonable things are those things which are logical. And herein lies a grave problem for the evolutionist, for he does not believe in God. And because he does not believe in God he must believe that there is no absolute standard outside of man by which to judge things. All has to be relative, and random; nothing is definite and sure.
In our day relativism reigns, which means that truth is assessed by standards set by the person assessing. The result may be summed up as, “If it’s right for me it’s right”. It may or may not be right for another person, but that is thought not to matter. If an object is white for one person and black for another, something is wrong; either with their eyes or their thinking.
For the atheist, therefore, there can be no absolute benchmark, for he rejects the idea of God as the Absolute Standard. He only has the relative standard that he and his fellow-men have set up. How can we be sure this standard is right? The atheist does not have any basis for saying there is order or logic, for God is the supreme and only source of reasonable thinking. Having cut himself off from logical thought, the evolutionist must rely on guesswork. For him, everything is random and nothing is stable. It was Charles Darwin himself who wrote to Asa Gray, “One’s imagination must fill the very wide blanks”.
Of course he will object that this is totally incorrect, and that a multitude of scientists believe what he believes, so how can they be wrong? The answer is that they can be wrong very easily, since by the atheist’s own admission his mind is simply a random collection of molecules. It was J. B. S. Haldane, geneticist and atheist, who said, “If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true…and hence I have no reason to suppose my brain is composed of atoms”. And Peter Atkins, Tutor in Physical Chemistry at Oxford University, said, “At the deepest level, decisions are adjustments of the dispositions in the molecules inside large numbers of cells in the brain”. And again, “Everything is driven by motiveless, purposeless decay”. He does not explain how decay can drive anything, let alone everything. Then there is what has become known as Darwin’s Doubt, “With me, the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy”.
It is customary for the evolutionist to plunge into his subject by reference to the earth as it is at the moment. There are pressing questions, however, which must be addressed before this plunge is taken. In particular, three questions that are basic and fundamental to the subject in hand. They relate to the origin of reason, the origin of matter, and the origin of life.
1 THE ORIGIN OF REASON
The evolutionist has nothing to offer by way of viable answer to the problem of the origin of reason. As we have already seen, he believes his mind to be nothing more than a random collection of atoms. He will forgive us then for not believing what comes out of such a mind. The honest seeker for truth needs that which is definite and exact, not that which is vague. He seeks certainty, not possibility. Even probability will not satisfy him. And this the atheist cannot give him. For all his bravado and bluster, all the atheist can say is summed up by the language his organisation used on the London bus network, “There is probably no God”. This is the language of those who are unsure of themselves. And this is no surprise, for they have cut themselves off from the source of true wisdom and knowledge.
The evolutionist exalts reason, and yet his system of thought deprives him of reason. For if there is no God, there is no source of logic or reason. No coherent thought is possible; no rational conclusions can be arrived at; no certainty about anything can be achieved.
How is it that man can think, reason, and make logical deductions? If man comes from a cloud of gas, via a lump of rock, how is it that he can do things that they cannot? As Dr. Rob Frost, (one-time atheist), wrote, “If the scientist prefers to suggest there is no God, no Creator, and no first cause, what does atheism offer him intellectually? The atheist must, of necessity, believe that matter without mind created reason and logic. Matter without intelligence created understanding and comprehension. Matter without morals created complex ethical codes and legal systems. Matter without conscience created a sense of right and wrong. Matter without emotion created skills and art, music, drama, architecture, comedy, literature and dance. Matter without design created in humankind an insatiable hunger for meaning and purpose”.
The Christian has the answer to this question, for he believes the Bible, which teaches that man is made in the image of God. This means that man has personality, spirituality, and rationality. This last meaning that he is able to think, reason, and come to logical conclusions, because God has given him the capacity to do these things. Even though man has fallen into a state of sin, his mind is still capable of rational thought. God graciously enables the sincere and earnest seeker after the truth to find Him. He has promised “ye shall seek Me, and find me, when ye search for Me with all your heart”, Jeremiah 29:13. To know God as creator is only the first step. It is God’s desire that we should discover Him to be a Saviour-God. This is why He sent His only-begotten Son into the world, that we might be saved from sin and its consequences. By the sacrifice of Himself at Calvary, He brought salvation within the reach of all who are prepared to accept the testimony that God gives in His word about His Son. Accepting that testimony not only involves belief that Jesus Christ is equal with God, and that this qualifies Him to deal with the sin-question, but it also involves believing that we cannot save ourselves from sin, and that we have no strength to deal with that deep problem.
Those who do find salvation from sin’s power and consequences through faith in a crucified Saviour, find also that they are now able to understand that which the natural man cannot grasp. As a result, they will gladly acknowledge God to be the Creator of all things at the beginning, and will give Him the glory for it. The first chapter of the Bible, Genesis chapter 1, will no longer be dismissed as myth and fable, but will be seen as the record of what God Himself did.
This is not to say that only Christians can understand that all things were created by God. The Epistle to the Romans chapter 1 verses 18-25 reads as follows:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”
We learn from this passage that unbelievers are held responsible by God for their response to the things they see around them.
2 THE ORIGIN OF MATTER
All around the Hebrew nation in ancient times were those who believed the sun was the source of everything, and because of that, worshipped it. Genesis chapter 1, however, makes known to us the startling fact that light existed before the sun and stars did, so that the sun is not the master of the situation, and should not be worshipped. The heathen believed that it was appropriate to bow down as slaves to the host of heaven, whereas Genesis 1 shows they were created to serve man, not be his master. By giving light, dividing the seasons, and making possible for time to be measured, they were man’s servants, not he theirs.
Far from being just one of several creation myths, the first chapter of Genesis presents us with a record totally opposed to the fumblings of the heathen mind, and which is glorious in its brevity, clarity and authority. There is no reason why we should reject its testimony, for it has stood the test of time, as we should expect, being the word of God.
It might be asked why so many are not content with this. The reason is plain. The alternative is not acceptable to them. In the words of Sir Arthur Keith FRS, anthropologist and chairman of the Piltdown hoax investigation, “Evolution is unproved and unproveable. We believe it because the only alternative is special creation, which is unthinkable!” The evolutionist agenda is an atheistic one, and should be seen as such. It was Julian Huxley, who wrote, “Darwin’s real achievement was to remove the whole idea of God as creator of organisms from the sphere of rational discussion”. He also said that he “felt a great sense of relief in believing that God did not exist.”
Of course, the answer of some is that the universe has always existed. This argument, however, forgets one vital point, namely, that the existence of matter is an effect. And there cannot be an effect without a cause, it is a logical impossibility. Nor can there be an infinite line of effects stretching back into the past, for if there is no cause, there is no effect. No matter how many effects there are, one of them must have an originating cause. It was David Hume, celebrated atheist and philosopher, who said, “I never asserted so absurd a proposition that anything might arise without a cause.”
There are those who counter this cause and effect argument with the notion of an eternal series of effects. This will not do, however, for if the first effect is never reached, then there is no originating first cause. If all but one, (the first) effect has a cause, then the whole concept breaks down, and the law of cause and effect has broken down. This would bring us back to the idea of eternal matter, which, apart from being contrary to Einstein’s General Law of Relativity, is contrary to all reason and experience. Every scientist carries out his day to day work on the assumption that effects have causes. Why should there be an exception at the beginning? And what caused the exception?
The Bible reveals the cause of all things to be God, the Creator of all things, for “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”, Genesis 1:1. He it is who brought all things into being, and maintains them as well. He has given abundant evidence of His great power, and expects men to acknowledge Him as Creator. “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse”, Romans 1:19,20. Sadly, many refuse to do this, and one of the ways they avoid doing it is by adopting the theory of evolution.
Others seem to think that they have solved the problem of the existence of matter by theorising about a Big Bang. But what was it that went bang? And why did it go bang? Matter has not mind, it cannot decide to do something. The evolutionist will probably protest that this is not a problem for him, since, as a scientist he deals with things as they currently are. If he is not prepared to confront this problem however, then he must not object if others do so.
Far from solving the problem, the Big Bang theory only makes it worse, for out of chaos there has come cosmos, which to the Greeks was “a system of order and beauty”. It is important to note that the Big Bang theory is only that, a theory. It has not been proved to be correct, and there are many competent physicists who are not Christians who are not convinced it is true, or even possible.
Despite being bankrupt of any answer to these pressing questions, the evolutionist pursues his course regardless. As one of them said, “The universe is here, so that’s it”. This is to evade the issue, and does not commend the mind-set of the evolutionist to thinking persons.
Some try to answer the “cause and effect” argument by asking “Who made God”. But to ask that question is to show the matter is not understood by the questioner. The True God is not, by definition, made. He is not an effect of anything, and has never passed from non-being to being. As always the objections of the atheist fall down because there is a wilful ignorance of the greatness and glory of God.
The account of creation given in the Bible commences with the words “In the beginning”, Genesis 1:1. God has ever been infinitely powerful, but He chose to put forth that power in creation in the moment that is called “the beginning”. There is no other satisfactory explanation for the existence of matter.
3 THE ORIGIN OF LIFE
When discussing the matter of life, we should remember that, as Anthony Flew has written, (in the book, “There is a God” which tells how he, a life-long and campaigning atheist, changed his mind), “The survival of life does not answer the question of the origin of life”.
The origin of life is a matter of great difficulty to the evolutionist. But biology is the study of “bios”, the word the Greeks used for life, and zoology is the study of “zooim”, the word they used for living creatures. No-one who claims to be able to tell us about our origin should be allowed to evade this question. To plead ignorance, or even to rejoice in not knowing, is no help to us. There needs to be certainty. And this the atheist cannot give us, for the simple reason that he denies the existence of God. God is the only wise God, and as such is the source of mind and reason; He is the Creator God, the source of all existence; and so He is also the Living God, the source of every form of life.
We must be clear that existence and life are not the same thing. Life is a condition of existence, as is death. For man, when life ends, death begins, but the person still exists. The state of existence has changed from life to death, but the existence is unchanging. The Bible makes it clear that “it is appointed unto man once to die, and after this judgement”, Hebrews 9:27, so the person continues, even though his earthly life has come to an end. In what state the person continues depends on his response during his life to the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, for He was “once offered to bear the sins of many”, Hebrews 9:28, and those who rely on His finished work in genuine faith are assured that death is the gateway to heaven, not to oblivion.
Now and again in the media there is great excitement because of some laboratory experiment which is supposed to have produced life. The excitement soon goes away, however, as it is realised that nothing of the sort has taken place. All that has happened is that lifeless sludge has been produced on the side of a test-tube.
Life may be defined as “That which enables us to act in response to our will”. Our will is that part of our being which prompts us to do a particular thing. The difference between animals and man is that an animal may change its behaviour as a result of stimulus or instinct, whereas man has a will which can be independent of stimuli. So, for instance, his senses tell him that to touch fire is harmful, yet he may rush into a burning building to save his children. He does not have to do that to survive, but he does it because he is more than a collection of cells reacting to stimuli. Man makes a multitude of responses which have nothing to do with survival, but he wills to make them. Where does that will come from? The atheist has no answer. The Christian believes the will of man comes from God, who made man in His own image so that he might represent and reflect Him.
When God made man at the beginning, He did so in a way that was completely different from His making of the animals. Both took place on the same day, as if to highlight the difference. However, only of man is it said that he was made in the image of God, Genesis 1:26,27. This involves at least three things.
First, God has personality, so Adam was given personality, enabling him to express the character of God.
Second, he was given spirituality, the ability to appreciate God and respond to Him.
Third, he was given rationality, the ability to think, perceive and reason logically.
Because he possessed these things, Adam was able to represent God as His image, and reproduce God as being in His likeness. Of course it goes without saying that Adam was a finite being, and therefore was limited in his ability in these areas, but nonetheless he had the capacity to adequately display the features which to infinite extent are found in God.
The evolutionist asks us to believe not just that a monkey turned into a man, but rather, that a rock has done so. How is that from the rock that is planet earth there has developed a race of creatures of extraordinary complexity and ability? Creatures that have consciousness of self, and others; the ability to think and reason logically; the ability to reproduce themselves; to act on their own initiative; to hope and dream; to strive for a goal; to possess a sense of right and wrong;, and hence of justice; and, most importantly of all, to worship. A rock has none of these things, but man has. How has this happened? The evolutionist does not know, but the Christian does, for he accepts the revelation found in the Bible, and accepts that “God made man in His own image”, on the sixth day of creation week.
In desperation, some have speculated that life came from elsewhere in the universe. As if that would answer the question of the origin of life! That idea is sheer evasion, and determined unbelief. Rather than accept the testimony of the creator Himself when He records that He breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul, Genesis 2:7, he prefers his fantasies and fabrications, which have no scientific basis whatsoever.
We have now confronted three major questions, the existence of reason; the existence of matter; the existence of life. We have noted that the evolutionist has no viable answer to any of the three, and we have also noted the Christian answer, namely that God is the source of reason, matter, and life. Because He is the God of the universe, we are accountable to Him. Instead of evading this truth by hiding behind an unproven theory, it is your best policy to come to terms with things as they really are, and seek the relationship with God that He desires you to have.
How that relationship may be begun and enjoyed is explained elsewhere on this website. As a starting-point may we suggest a reading of “How shall man be just with God”. We sincerely hope and pray that this may stimulate you to earnestly seek the Lord and find Him.
Websites setting out a Biblical view of creation:
Creation.com (Creation Ministries International).