Evolution Versus Creation
I just got through reading an interesting article by respected evangelical theologian R.C. Sproul about how he changed his mind about the Genesis 1-2 creation account. He is now a literal six day, young earth creationist. He changed his mind not because of any scientific discovery, but because he believes every major Christian doctrine proceeds from the first two chapters of Genesis. For instance, what is at stake includes the power of God, the special nature of man as created in God’s image, the nature of marriage, the nature and consequences of sin, the relationship of man to the rest of creation, and much more. If man just naturally came to be through some kind of 4 billion year evolutionary process, then God’s power is not on display in the creation, man is not created in the image of God to have a special relationship with God, and marriage is not a special relationship created by God between one man and one woman. Furthermore, it changes our moral/ethical relationship with sin and its consequences. If we just evolved, then evil is just self-preservation, and it’s not our fault, so there should be no eternal consequences like hell. If we are nothing but an evolved higher form of beastly animal with no moral sense, then we have no special loving relationship with God, and I see no reason for God to send His Son to suffer and die for our sins—especially since evolution redefines or eliminates sin.
Sproul says that he used to hold to what may be called the “framework hypothesis”. This states that the six days of creation in Genesis are just artistic devices to create a “framework” for a more lengthy period of development. This works well if you are determined to resolve the conflict between the Genesis creation account and science. Sproul says he attempted to believe in the “Big Bang” theory while still maintaining biblical inspiration of Genesis1-2. Now, he believes it is necessary to his theology and the biblical doctrines that he teaches, to give up such compromises and embrace the literal interpretation of Genesis 1-2. Nevertheless, his failure to take a stand on the young earth vs. old earth question proves how complicated these issues are. The scientific proof for an old earth is giving evangelicals a difficult task in taking a dogmatic stand on the earth and creation only being about 6000 years old when science seems to be indicating it is somewhere between 3 and 12 billion years old.
The Gap Theory
I am very much like Sproul in that I want to hedge my bets, by believing in the literal creation account, but also leaving some flexibility for science. For instance, I read where we can now see through space telescopes so far out into space that it would take the light from certain stars we see millions of years to get here. In other words, what they are seeing existed millions of years ago. I don’t know what to do with that! One theory that might work is the “gap theory” made popular by the Scofield Reference Bible. It is also called the “ruin-reconstruction” theory. The idea is that there was a previous creation which was destroyed which is seen in Genesis 1:1, and the creation of Genesis 1:2 is a re-creation with an undetermined amount of time between. In this gap you could put the angelic conflict and the old age of the earth by scientist’s standards, and the dinosaurs could be explained as being in that previous creation. This gap could also explain the sedimentary layers and the age of the fossils. Some smart guys like D.G. Barnhouse and W.A. Criswell taught the gap theory.
In the last twenty years a popular theory about creation has developed among scientists, who also happen to be Christians, called “intelligent design”. Simply stated they have proven that the creation, and particularly mankind, has the appearance of being designed. In the same way that if you were to find a watch on the ground, it would have order and complexity and is clearly designed for a purpose; the human body has the appearance of intelligent design. It is interesting that critics openly admit that the creation has the appearance of being designed, but they maintain that appearance is all it is. These scientists that are Christians and hold to intelligent design, believe in the creation account of Genesis, but have a different view of the age of the earth. They typically hold to one of two views: “the day=an age” view, or the “literary framework view”. They point out that the Hebrew word for day is “yom” and is often used in Genesis to refer to an era or age, just as we say “back in the day” to refer to a time period of indefinite length. The literary framework view is that the six days are just a literary framework for a more lengthy time period. Under both of these views they accept the old age of earth, and that the fossils and geologic strata deposited slowly over ages. Again, there are some very impressive evangelical Christians in this group like Norm Geisler, J. Montgomery Boyce, and Charles Hodge.
The Incredible Human Body
I just read a great informative book THE BODY by Bill Bryson, who is a fellow of Britain’s Royal Society (I don’t know what that is but it sounds impressive!). Bryson has written several best selling books that I have read, and he is a scientist and a believer in evolution. Therefore he has no Christian or biblical bias, but his book about the awesome complexity and design of the human body just makes me more certain that God created it. At the atomic level, it takes 7 billion billion billion atoms to make you. Somehow, no one knows how, these particles have a desire to come together and be you. Atoms form into molecules that form the basic unit of life—the cell. Each microscopic cell is full of active DNA, RNA, mitochondria, and much more. A cell is basically a compartment or a little room to contain all this active stuff. None of the cells are actually alive, but somehow they communicate with each other to produce coordinated action. Every cell has two strands of your DNA, and each microscopic DNA strand, if stretched out would measure 3 feet—just think of the compaction of the strand twisting about in that tiny cell. Your DNA is a molecule with two chains that coil around each other to form a double helix carrying genetic instruction, and is an instruction manual for making every part of you. The amount of information in each of the DNA strands is more than the entire Dallas Public Library. Where did all that information that makes you a distinct functioning person, come from? The human brain has 86-100 billion nerve cells called neurons—all of which pass on electrical signals to each other for trillions of connections. The human heart weighs less than a pound and beats about 80 beats per minute over 100,000 times a day. The heart circulates 2,000 gallons of blood all the way around the body every day. If you could stretch out all the blood vessels in your body, they would reach 60,000 miles—so imagine the power and activity of the heart! The average human heart will pump 2 billion times without failure, which is over ten times the performance of the cylinders of the best made cars. How can we possibly believe all that coordinated activity and all that information just evolved from a single celled organism?
Who, When, Where, and How ?
These are the typical questions that we would like to have answered, but God has really only answered clearly the Who question. The Bible is clear on the Who question, and we can be sure that God created all things and continues to maintain all things. I find it interesting that the critics who want to disprove that God created the earth and all that’s in it, use the when, where, and how questions to disprove God. The Bible does not give the details on the when, where, and how—only that God was behind it, therefore we need to maintain some flexibility. When we were created or how old the earth is, is not a salvation issue, but whether God created us is a salvation issue. Therefore the only issue we should be dogmatic about is the WHO question—God created. Amazingly, the scientific, non-Christian crowd is very dogmatic about the when, how, and where questions. I have been told and read that they believe evolution is a fact, an absolute truth, so I always ask them the who, when, how, and where questions. The answers I get back are as follows:
Who—nobody, no cause, something came into being out of nothing
Where— don’t know exactly. Many believe man first evolved in Mesopotamia, but others say Africa, and some Europe
When—wide range of answers between 3 billion years and 30 billion years, but the predominant view is the age of earth is 4.5 billion years, give or take a half billion. When you read this the earth will be 4.5 billion and two weeks old since I wrote it two weeks ago.
How—many theories on the beginning of life like the Big Bang Theory, primordial soup, and even aliens. Richard Dawkins is a leading spokesperson for evolution, and against Christianity. I saw him interviewed. He was asked “How did life begin?” He said “Nobody knows. It had to be from a molecule capable of self replication, but where did that come from? I don’t know, but possibly from intelligent beings from another solar system.” Really? Space Aliens? C’mon Man!
So let me recap their argument that evolution is a fact and not a theory—Something came out of nothing, we don’t know where exactly, we think the earth is 4.5 billion years old give or take a half billion years, and we don’t know how, and THOSE ARE THE FACTS. If evolution were a provable fact there would be a wealth of transitional forms, but all we have is a few controversial ones. We all need to step back and allow some flexibility on issues like this, but when it comes to WHO, we are inflexible and dogmatic, because without God as our creator we have no purpose, no meaning, no salvation, and no eternal life.