Creation and evolution are equally scientific and religious. The controversy is not religion versus science, but the science of one religion versus the science of another religion.
Biblical creation is the religion upon which Creator-honoring science is built (often called scientific creation). It is based on the Word (the Bible) of the One who claims that He was there in the past (who is, in fact, outside of time). He moved men by His Spirit to write His words so that we would have an adequate basis for finding out and understanding all we need to know about God’s creation.
We need to define in detail what we mean by the creationist view. This consists of basically a threefold view of history—a perfect creation, corrupted by sin, to be restored by Jesus Christ. A summary of these concepts is as follows:
However, we no longer live in the world God originally created. Because our first parents placed human opinion above God’s Word (as we continue to do), struggle and death entered the world, and God cursed the creation. Charles Darwin called this struggle to the death “natural selection” and offered his theory as a substitute for the Creator. Evolutionists later added accidental changes in heredity (mutations) to their theory. But death and accident do not create: instead they bring disease, defects, and decay into the world God created.
After mankind’s sin and rebellion (the Fall), the earth became so filled with violence and corruption that God destroyed that world with a flood and gave it a fresh start with Noah, his family, and the animals in the ark. Fossils—billions of dead things buried in rock layers which were laid down by water all over the earth—remind us of God’s judgment on sin.
The Bible claims that God knows everything. He has all knowledge. If this is true, then the Bible is the word of someone who knows everything there is to know. If we want to come to right conclusions about anything, the only sure way would be to start with the word of the One who has absolute knowledge. We Christians must build all of our thinking in every area on the Bible. We must start with God’s Word, not the word of finite, fallible man. We must judge what people say on the basis of what God’s Word says—not the other way around.
At one seminar, I stated that we must build all of our thinking upon God’s Word. That must be our starting point. One minister, in a rather irate manner, made the comment that he should be able to go to the Bible to find out how to fix his car. Obviously, he did not understand that the principles that govern our thinking in every area must come from the Scriptures. These principles are immutable. The Bible certainly does not contain the details on how to fix a car. On the other hand, modern science, which enabled the development of the car, arose when people began to base their science upon the Bible. Therefore, this machine runs according to the laws which God made. We should be able to investigate these laws which God made and apply them in different areas. No informed evolutionist would question the fact that modern science arose from a biblical foundation. In other words, what we believe and how we think depends upon the basis with which we start. The Bible contains the very foundational principles and details necessary to develop correct thinking in every area.
Too many people have started with the word of men and then judged what the Bible states.
Unfortunately, too many people have started with the word of men and then judged what the Bible states. What an arrogant position this is! We cannot tell God what He should say. We must be prepared to come totally under His authority and listen to what He says to us. Yes, creation is religion, but it is based on revelation from the all-knowing Creator. Evolution is religion, but it is not based on revelation from God. Instead it is based on the words of men who were not there—men who (by their own admission) do not know everything. And these men, the Bible informs us, are biased against God and His Word.
If the Bible is not the infallible word of the One who knows everything, then we have exactly nothing. We can never be sure about anything. What then is truth: my word, your word, or someone else’s word? In fact, how do you determine what truth is or how to search for it?
I recall a seminar where a young man stated, “I can’t believe in creation. I believe in the big bang. We are just products of chance and random processes. There is no God. What do you say to that?”
I replied, “Well, if you are a product of chance, your brain is also a product of chance. Therefore, the thought patterns that determine your logic are also products of chance. If your logic is the result of chance processes, you can’t be sure it evolved properly. You can’t be sure you’re even asking the right question because you can’t trust your own logic.”
He was dumbfounded. Afterwards he came up and asked for the best books on the subject and said he would have to seriously think this through. He had begun to realize that, without an absolute (God), he had nothing.
Christians have the Bible, which claims to be the Word of God. We can also take what the Bible says and see if the evidence of the present does fit. If we take the Book of Genesis, which claims to be the account of our origins and history, we can see what it says concerning how the world was created and what subsequently happened. We can decide what we would expect to find if the Bible is true (this is our scientific model relating to creation). Then we can look at the world to see if the evidence is there (that is, investigate the present—all the evidence we have—to see if it fits with our model).
For example, we are told that God created living things in distinct kinds, or groups. We can postulate, therefore, that animals and plants should be found in kinds—the one kind cannot change into the other. In fact, this is exactly what we do find (in living as well as fossil organisms).
Genesis tells us that because of wickedness God judged the world with a worldwide flood. If this is true, what sort of evidence would we find? We could expect that we would find billions of dead things (fossils) buried in rock layers, laid down by water and catastrophic processes over most of the earth. This is exactly what we observe.
In Genesis 11 we read of events that occurred at the Tower of Babel. Again, we can ask the question: If this event really happened, what evidence would we expect to find? Does the evidence from the cultures throughout the world fit with this?
Again, the answer is overwhelmingly “Yes.” All humans can interbreed and produce fertile offspring—we are all the same kind. All humans have the same color (genetics tells us it’s differing shades of the one color). If all humans had the same ancestor, Noah (and ultimately Adam), then all cultures have developed since Noah’s flood and the division at the Tower of Babel.
Evolutionists talk about the different races of people in the world today. The term “races” can be used in various ways depending upon the definition you accept. Sadly, evolutionists have used the term in the sense that some groups of humans have not evolved as far as others. When they use the word “races” they are really talking about different levels of human beings dependent upon the point to which they have evolved. Due to evolutionary teaching through the educational system and the media, many in the general public tend to think of the term “races” as applied to the human race in an evolutionary sense. Because of this situation, it is probably better for Christians to talk about one race in regard to humans, not different races. “
God hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation” (Acts 17:26).
It is known that nearly every culture in the world has stories or legends from which one could almost write the Book of Genesis. Most cultures have a story about a worldwide flood similar to Noah’s Flood. Creation legends—not dissimilar to the account in Genesis regarding the creation of woman, the entrance of death, and the original man and animals being vegetarian (Gen. 1:29-30)—abound in cultures around the world. This is powerful evidence that these stories have been handed down generation after generation. The true accounts are in the Bible, but the similarities in cultures around the world are not what you would expect from the viewpoint of an evolutionary belief system.
I recall being taught that the reason the Babylonians (and others) had stories similar to Genesis was because the Jews had borrowed myths of Babylonian origin to include with their writings. However, when this idea is closely investigated, we find that the Babylonian stories are rather grotesque and quite unbelievable in almost every aspect. For instance, Babylonian stories concerning the flood have gods cutting each other in half and water spewing out. When you read the biblical account of the flood, it is certainly the more reasonable. When one thinks about it, stories handed down generation after generation that are not carefully preserved—particularly if they are handed down by word of mouth—do not improve with age. The truth is lost and the stories degenerate markedly. The biblical records have been handed down in written form, carefully preserved by the superintendency of God and have not been corrupted. The Babylonian stories, which only reflect the true record of the Bible, are the ones that have become corrupted, due to the limitations of human fallibility.
Thus, starting with the Bible and working from this foundation, the evidence of the present should fit. And it does, confirming our faith that the Bible really is the Word of God. (A number of books that detail the scientific evidence in support of the Bible are listed at the end of this book.) However, this proves nothing scientifically, because, in relation to the past, nothing can be proven. Neither creation nor evolution can be proven scientifically.
Both creation and evolution are belief systems that result in different scientific models and totally different interpretations of the evidence. This is not to say that the creationist will always have exactly the right explanation about every fact. Because the creationist does not have all available data, there will be many things that may not be able to be explained in specific terms, but nonetheless, all facts should fit into the framework as set by the biblical record.
At one church, a scientist (in a very vocal manner) stood and told the congregation not to believe what I had said. He informed them that, as a scientist, he could show them that what had been said concerning Noah’s Flood and creation was wrong. Science, in his words, had proven the Bible to be wrong. Since he had stated publicly that he was a Christian, I asked him if he believed there was a person in history called Noah. He said that he did believe this. I asked him why. He told me that it was because he had read it in the Bible. I asked him if he believed that there had been a worldwide flood. His answer was no. I asked him why he did not believe there was a worldwide flood. He then went on to say it was obvious from science that there could not have been a worldwide flood—that science had proven the Bible wrong. I asked him how he could trust the Bible when it talked about Noah if he could not trust the Bible when it actually talked about Noah’s Flood. I also suggested that the particular evidence he was using to say there could not have been a worldwide flood might be interpreted in other ways. That is, because we do not have all the evidence or know all the assumptions involved in many of the techniques used for dating the earth, etc., was it not possible that his interpretations could be wrong and the Bible could be right after all?
He admitted that he did not know everything and it was possible there were assumptions behind some of the scientific methods to which he was referring. This additional information could totally change his conclusions. He admitted this was a possibility, but then he went on to say that he could not believe the Bible in all areas (e.g., Noah’s flood) until science had proven it. Again, there was a problem in understanding what science is all about and the fact that science cannot prove anything in relation to the past. I accepted the Bible as the Word of God and therefore interpreted the evidence on that basis. He was accepting the Bible as containing the Word of God but subject to proof by science. Of course, if you hold to the latter approach, as scientists make new discoveries and their theories change, your attitude towards the Bible must also continually change—you can never be sure of anything.
In the public school system I tried to ensure that my students were taught a correct understanding of science and how to think logically. However, when first teaching creation in the public schools, my approach was different. I would show the students the problems with evolution and how evidence supported the creationist view. However, when the students went to another class where the teacher was an evolutionist, the teacher would just re-interpret the evidence for them. I had been using what can be called an evidentialist approach—trying to use the evidence to convince students that it showed evolution wrong and creation true.
The question of origins was outside of direct scientific proof.
I then changed methods and taught students the true nature of science—what science can and cannot do. We looked in detail at the limitations that scientists have in relation to the past. They were told that all scientists have presuppositions (beliefs) which they use in interpreting the evidence. I shared with them my beliefs from the Bible concerning creation, the Fall, Noah’s flood and other topics, and how one may build scientific models upon this framework. It was demonstrated how the evidence consistently fitted with the creation framework and not within that of the evolutionists. I had begun teaching from what could be called a “presuppositionalist” approach. The difference was astounding. When students went to the other classes and their teachers tried to re-interpret the evidence, the students were able to identify for the teachers the assumptions behind what the teachers were saying. The students recognized that it was a teacher’s belief system that determined the way in which he looked at the evidence. The question of origins was outside of direct scientific proof.
This so perplexed some teachers that, on one occasion, a young teacher came to me and abrasively stated that I had destroyed her credibility with the students. She had taught her students that coal formed in swamps over millions of years. I had taught the students that there were different theories as to how coal could be formed. Since this teacher had not indicated the limitation of science and had taught her swamp theory of coal as fact, her credibility was undermined in the eyes of the students. The reason she was so angry was that she had absolutely no comeback and knew it. So did the students.
I would appeal to any who have the opportunity to teach in the area of creation/evolution to research carefully their method of teaching. Ensure that the students understand the whole philosophical area, that is, the presuppositions and assumptions involved. Not only will students understand the issues better but they will also become better scientists and thinkers as a result.
Another existing result of this presuppositional approach emphasizing the limitations of science, is the questions students ask at the end of such a program. When using the evidentialist approach, the questions students asked would be on topics such as, “What about Carbon 14 dating?” “Haven’t scientists proved fossils are millions of years old?” “Surely given enough time anything can happen.” However, using the presuppositional approach (which brings the issues to the fundamental belief level), it was exciting to see a dramatic change in the nature of questions asked: “Where did God come from?” “How do you know the Bible can be trusted and is true?” “Who wrote the Bible?” “Why is Christianity better than Buddhism?” The students started to see the real issue. It was really a conflict of beliefs. The results of this approach have been astounding. Many, many students have listened to the claims of Christ and have shown real interest in Christianity with a number of conversions as a result.
This method works not only for public school students but for Christian school students as well. It is also an important method for the general public. One of the things they recognize is that creationists and evolutionists all have the same facts. Therefore, what we are really talking about are different interpretations of these same facts. They begin to see the real argument—two religions in conflict. Evidence is important (which is why creationists do intensive research), but the method used to present the evidence is vital to the success of the presentation.
After I gave a lecture to a class at a Christian college in Kansas, using material similar to that discussed already (plus additional scientific evidence), a student stated in front of the rest of the class, “What you have said sounds logical and very convincing in regard to accepting Genesis as truth. But, you must be wrong, because my geology professor here at the college believes in evolution and would totally disagree with you. If he were here now, I’m sure he could tell me where you are wrong, even if I can’t see it at the moment.”
I replied, “Even if your geology professor were here and said things I don’t understand because I’m not a geologist, if what he says disagrees with the Bible, then he is wrong. If I can’t explain why he is wrong, it only means I don’t have the evidence to know the errors in his arguments. The Bible is the Word of God and is infallible. I’m sure I could get a creationist geologist to find out why your professor is wrong, because the Bible will always be right!”
Surely, as Christians blessed with the conviction that arises from the work of the Holy Spirit, we must accept the Bible as the infallible, authoritative Word of God—otherwise, we have nothing. If the Bible is to be questioned and cannot be trusted, and if it is continually subject to re-interpretation based on what men believe they have discovered, then we do not have an absolute authority. We do not have the Word of the One who knows everything, which means we have no basis for anything. Truth is spiritually discerned. Without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit there can be no real understanding.