The Evolutionary Belief System

by Rev. Dale R. Shunk on August 9, 2010

Several times during our session of the annual conference of the United Methodist Church I heard the following phrase spoken quite passionately: “I believe in evolution!”

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Several times during our session of the annual conference of the United Methodist Church (held in western Pennsylvania in June) I heard the following phrase spoken quite passionately: “I believe in evolution!” We, of course, are free to declare what we believe in the United States of America. But when I heard that phrase, and the use of the word believe, it was revealing to me and many colleagues that the Darwinian Evolutionary worldview is fundamentally a belief system. Also, I realize that the evolutionary world itself is in flux in terms of conflicting interpretations of evidence and assumptions among its scientists; the evolutionary establishment is not as unified as it wants us to believe.

As a result of hearing those who proudly spoke out that they believed in evolution, I (and others) created a petition—labeled “P104—Evolution and Christian Teaching”—to remove the term evolution from the United Methodist Book of Discipline. We who believe in Genesis chapters 1–11 as narrative truth wanted to remove the evolutionary language that was added to the 2008 United Methodist Book of Discipline and return to the more open and neutral 2004 language. (The Book of Discipline, by the way, is our general church rules and order of ministry, agreed upon by the General Conference that meets every four years; we wanted the Pennsylvania conference to endorse the petition and then pass it on to General Conference meeting 2012 in Tampa, Florida, for consideration.) The petition, though, was narrowly defeated.

Now, in the smaller legislative section leading up to the larger plenary vote, our petition passed with a 75% margin. When the petition was presented to the larger plenary body, the passionate speakers who declared that they accepted evolution along with the Bible were able to persuade people to vote against our petition. These speakers didn’t seem to understand that naturalistic evolution is a belief system itself, not science.

Over the years there have been many hoaxes, outright lies, and substantial changes within the evolutionary model. For instance, virtually all of the major “evidences” for evolution presented at the Scopes trial in 1925 have been withdrawn by evolutionists themselves, including those found to be an outright hoax.1 The latest casualty was the highly publicized fossil called “Ida” that was touted to be a transitional fossil between apes and humans. It turns out that the fossil is likely only a well-preserved lemur.2 In addition, while most evolutionists in the 19th century began with the notion that gradualism was the process of evolution, today some evolutionists have switched to the mechanism of punctuated equilibrium (relatively “fast evolution”).

To echo Answers in Genesis’s 2010 theme of “I am not ashamed of the Bible and the gospel,” I want to be known within my denomination as someone who believes in biblical creation! I believe God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit gave us the Genesis narrative as a model to use as a standard in interpreting the universe around us. I believe that our Creator God made the heavens and the earth from His spoken Word in six normal days. My belief is based on an account given by the One who was there in the beginning (John 1:1–3) and who cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18).

I often ask my friends who believe in evolution a question: on what set of assumptions and evidence do you base your belief of evolution? Some discount Genesis chapters 1–11 as just being poetic and “pre-science.” If that is so, then you have to contend with Exodus 20:8–11. These verses include the Fourth Commandment and are part of the greatest list of moral laws ever given and truly inspired by God the Father. This is the reason we have a seven-day week. All the other units of time that we observe like the 24-hour day and the 365-day year are based on physical observations, but the seven-day week is God-given. Exodus 20:8–11 states:

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

Moses was inspired to write the world’s greatest list of moral laws called the Ten Commandments, and Genesis 1–11 is just as inspired. Exodus 20:8–11 stands as a brick wall against those who want to add billions of years into the Genesis creation account. People need to understand that we have a Creator God who spoke the universe in existence with love and purpose and not with a chaotic “big bang,” which is a part of most evolutionists’ belief system. We were created for our specific environment called Earth, created as a very special planet. The environment did not create us, as evolutionists essentially believe.

We should always trust God’s eternal Word over any man-generated wisdom. When we start with the plain teaching of God’s Word and use the same scientific evidence the evolutionists use, it will yield different conclusions and ultimately give glory to God.

Yes, I believe in and trust the biblical creation account as it is plainly stated in Genesis 1. At the same time those who believe in naturalistic evolution must understand that it is a religion in its own right.

I recall a quote from Dr. Tommy Mitchell in the article “Is Evolution a Religion?”:

So, is evolution observable science? No, evolution falls under the realm of historical science; it is a belief system about the past. How can an evolutionist believe these things without rigorous scientific proof? The answer is that he wants to. Evolutionists are quite sincere in their beliefs, but ultimately these beliefs are based on their view that the world originated by itself through totally naturalistic processes. There is a term for this type of belief system—that word is religion.

The more the scientific community searches the immense universe and explores the tiny human cell, the more the power and the wonder of Almighty God will be revealed.


  1. See “The Scopes Trial . . . What’s the Big Deal?
  2. For more, see “Ida”: What’s the Story Now?


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