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Many Christians think the creation versus evolution controversy isn’t important and that we shouldn’t let it divide the church. They misunderstand the foundational nature of this issue.
In a culture where God’s Word is constantly under attack from those both inside and outside of the church, we must always be ready to give a defense for the hope that is in us. This web series on Apologetics is designed to give you the tools required to defend the faith.
Today, many Christians think the creation versus evolution controversy is not that important. They think we should not let this issue divide the church. By thinking that way, they misunderstand the foundational nature of this issue. Recently, I spoke on the importance of creation. As he introduced me the pastor stated, “I’m just an old country boy from Kentucky. God said He created it, and I believe it. Period.” “But,” the pastor continued, “we not only need to believe it, we need to understand it, and then we need to be able to defend it.” That pastor had a true understanding of how critical this issue of creation versus evolution really is.
I believe the creation versus evolution debate is the most foundational issue facing the church today. A large number of people who go to church are being overwhelmed by the so-called “scientific evidence” that supports evolution. Many are accepting these secular humanistic explanations because they think, “The scientists are the ones with the PhDs, and they say they have proven the earth is billions of years old with radiometric dating, so it must be true.”
The battle is raging between Satan, the usurper, and Jesus Christ, the Creator. The prizes in this battle are the hearts and minds (and ultimately the eternal souls) of our children and grandchildren. Yet few understand the nature or manner in which the battle is being waged.
One can visit church after church, regardless of denomination, and notice few have a vibrant, growing young people. There also seems to be a lack of young families with kids. It is only natural to wonder why such a large percentage of the people going to church today have gray hair.
Most Christians would agree that many of our churches are dying. Some are slipping down a slow decline, and others are facing a much quicker demise. I recently spoke in a church to about 90 people in a Sunday morning service where not a single person was under the age of 60. When I asked the pastor where the young people were, he said there weren’t any. I asked him why he thought that was. He responded, “I really don’t know.” Sadly, his response is representative of many pastors.
Ken Ham clearly identified the problem nearly 25 years ago. He wrote, “There is a war going on in society—a very real battle. The war is Christianity versus humanism, but we must wake up to the fact that, at the foundational level, it’s really creation versus evolution.”1
We are losing entire generations of church kids to a faith-based belief system called evolutionary humanism. Further, many church leaders do not understand why this is happening. Young people are abandoning the church in droves when they leave home. As demonstrated in the recent book, Already Gone by Ken Ham and Britt Beemer, many of the young people sitting in the pews are “already gone” before they ever leave home.
This war is really about the authority of Scripture. Either God meant exactly what He said and said exactly what He meant regarding the creation account, or He didn’t.
Either God meant exactly what He said and said exactly what He meant regarding the creation account, or He didn’t.In this battle of ideas between creation and evolution, one of the central defining issues is the age of the earth. Many battles have been fought over the interpretation of the scientific evidence as well as the interpretation of the Bible itself regarding this issue. Because we are not teaching science to our children from the biblical worldview, our children are succumbing to science teaching from the secular humanist worldview.
In its creation account and genealogies, the Bible clearly reveals the earth is about 6,000 years old, but evolutionary humanists and even some Christians claim it is billions of years old. Although many people believe naturalistic evolution would be possible over the course of several billion years, it is not. Life forms do not become more complicated without the input of intelligence. You see, our children and young people have figured it out. If you cannot trust the Bible about the creation account in Genesis, how can you trust the Bible about the things that are hard to understand?
I experienced this battle firsthand. When I was two years old, my parents became missionaries to the country of Thailand. I was raised on the mission field for about 10 years. Twice a year, I was sent to a missionary boarding school in Vietnam. All I was ever taught about the origin of the universe was “
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). At age 12, we came back to the U.S. where my father served as a pastor in churches for 50 years. I entered the public education system in junior high where I first began to hear about evolution. When my classmates would ask me what I thought about evolution, I would simply respond, “The Bible says, ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,’ and that’s good enough for me.” Then in my twenties the scientists started raving about carbon-14 dating and how that proved the earth was millions of years old. When asked about this alleged proof, I simply responded, “The Bible says, ‘
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,’ and if He took a million years to do it, that’s still okay with me.”
What I didn’t realize is that I was beginning to take the words of scientists—who do not know everything, who have less than perfect brains, and who were not there at the beginning— and add or substitute their words for the Word of the God who does know everything, who has a perfect brain, who was there at the beginning, and who told us how He did it. Genesis reveals who the Creator was (God), when He created (in the beginning), what He created (heavens and earth), and even how He created (in many cases, He spoke things into existence).
I now realize something else. I wanted to believe in evolution. Yes, without even realizing it I wanted evolution to be true because evolution taught that I was the top of the food chain, that I could live any way I wanted to, that I made up the rules for my life, and that I determined what truth was for myself. In other words, I was the “god” in control of my own life. Further, when I died, that was the end of the story. They would put my body in the grave and plant flowers on it and that would be the end of me—no heaven and no hell. If there were no accountability to a Creator, I could do whatever I wanted. Besides, secular humanist scientists made the alleged evidence for evolution sound so convincing.
The Bible teaches something very different. It teaches that God created everything. If true, then God makes the rules, He set penalties for breaking the rules, and He has the power to execute the penalty. As evolutionary ideas crept into my thinking, I slowly abandoned my biblical upbringing. I began a downward slide spiritually and morally that did not end for 20 years.
Today, many of the youth in our churches are caught in the same net, the same seductive lie. Evolutionary humanism and its millions of years are perhaps Satan’s most effective lie ever, and Christians are not immune to it. Belief in this lie of evolution continues to have devastating consequences on us individually, our families, our churches, our communities, and our nation.
People need to understand that evolution is a worldview teaching man got here without God being involved. Creation is a worldview about how man got here through the Creator God. Both are ideas about origins going in opposite directions. These ideas have consequences because a person’s worldview influences every decision he makes. When comparing these two worldviews and the behavior that result from them, a stark contrast emerges. Evolution is the foundation of humanism. Genesis is the foundational book of God’s Word, the Bible. When people believe there is no accountability for their actions, they tend to act quite differently from those who believe there are consequences for their actions (we admit that all of us, including Christians, often fail to live up to God’s standards).
Let’s consider the issue of alcohol from the perspective of these two worldviews. From the secular humanist point of view, there is no absolute standard of right and wrong. The humanist believes he can decide for himself what is right and what is wrong or that society gets to decide these things. Either way, man is the authority and right and wrong are subject to change.
The humanist can decide that drinking alcohol is a perfectly acceptable activity, especially after a tough week at work. Let’s say that a secular humanist has a bad week at work and on Friday loses his job. Why not go out and get drunk? It is his right to drink, isn’t it? Now if millions of Americans do that (and millions of Americans do), why would we be surprised if some of them get in their cars and drive drunk? They might wander across the median and slam head-on into a van carrying a whole family, killing half of them and putting the other half in the hospital. Medical costs go up, legal costs go up, and insurance costs go up, not to mention the cost in pain and suffering.
On the other hand, if you believe God created the heavens and the earth, then you believe He owns it all. He makes the rules and sets the penalties for breaking those rules. Since His Word commands us to not get drunk, then to break the rule is sinful. The Bible states that the penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23). If people had a biblical worldview, then the amount of drunk driving would be drastically reduced.
This isn’t to claim that all humanists get drunk and that all Christians remain sober. However, drunkenness is a perfectly acceptable behavior for a secular humanist and is consistent with their worldview. In fact, taking the life of another person through vehicular manslaughter (or any other method) isn’t really wrong from a humanist perspective because there is no absolute standard of right and wrong. Of course, many humanists believe it is wrong to harm other people, but their worldview can provide no basis for such a view. On the other hand, drunkenness is entirely inconsistent with a biblical worldview and therefore unacceptable for a Christian.
People think believing in evolution is no big deal, but it leads to all manner of destructive behavior to an individual, the family, the church, and the culture.
Evolutionary humanists often emphatically state, “No real scientist with a degree from a real university believes in creation. All the real scientists know evolution is a fact.” However, thousands of scientists (and I have met many) believe that special creation by God as described in the Bible makes better sense of the scientific evidence. So what about this evidence that allegedly “proves” evolution to be a fact? Let’s briefly look at three.
The assertion: radiometric dating proves the earth is billions of years old, so evolution has plenty of time to work.
Radiometric dating does nothing of the kind because it is based on a number of unprovable assumptions. The concept of radiometric dating is not too complicated. Scientists are able to measure very small amounts of chemicals and the decay rates of radioactive elements. They know what a radioactive element decays into and what particles it gives off as it decays. Dr. Alan White says:
The radiometric dating method is done by measuring the ratio of parent to daughter products in radioactive decay chains, like potassium (40K) to argon (40Ar) or uranium (238U) to lead (206Pb). Unlike carbon-14 dating, radiometric dating with these elements is used for the estimation of longer times. This technique applies to igneous rocks from their time of solidification. Isotope concentrations can be measured very accurately today.2
The dates derived from radiometric dating are based on these untested and unprovable assumptions:
Today, scientists assume natural processes have always been the same as they are now (uniformitarianism). They cannot know this since they were not there observing for billions of years. However, we know that uniformitarian assumptions are wrong. The Bible reveals that God flooded the entire world in judgment. This fact is ignored by uniformitarian scientists but would have had a drastic impact on our world. So what does all this mean? It means that if the assumptions are incorrect, then the conclusions based on them will be false.3
The assertion: the fossil record proves that evolution occurred.
The fossil record does not prove evolution. Instead, it demonstrates mass destruction on a global scale. In Genesis 6–8 we are told about Noah’s Flood, an event that killed all people and air breathing land animals not on board the Ark, ripped up plants and vegetation, and buried much of the remains in and under layers that became sedimentary rock.
In those layers of rock, we find the fossilized remains of those animals buried in the Flood. We also find the remains of massive amounts of vegetation. This is the likely source of the coal, natural gas, and oil deposits came from that we use to heat our homes and power our automobiles today.
The fossil record is inconsistent with evolution but is entirely consistent with special creation and a worldwide Flood.Dr. Duane Gish, in a book titled, The Fossils Say No, and in a follow-up book, The Fossils Still Say No,4 makes an iron-clad case that the fossil record is inconsistent with evolution but is entirely consistent with special creation and a worldwide Flood. He rightly points out that, if evolution were true, then there should be billions of transitional fossils indicating incremental changes between kinds. So where are they? This is no small question for evolutionists because, of the many billions that should be found, they have only produced a handful of highly questionable examples. This exposes evolution for what it is: a faith-based belief system.
Of course, there are no true transitional forms in the fossil record. Darwin wrote, “The number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed, [must] be truly enormous” but added that the lack of these fossils was the most obvious and serious objection to his theory,5 and if they were not found, his theory would be invalid. For more than 150 years, scientists have been looking for the “missing link,” and it is still missing. Not one indisputable transitional form has ever been discovered.
In the first chapters of Genesis, God states 10 times that everything was created “after its kind” and would only reproduce “after its kind.” That series of proclamations clearly indicates that evolution, in the molecules-to-man sense, would not, could not, and will never happen. These verses stop the idea of evolution in its tracks. They also refute “theistic evolution,” the idea that God somehow used evolution as part of His creative process.
The assertion: special creation is only a religion, but evolution is real science.
Secular humanists have been effective at ripping science away from the Bible. We have let them define the debate between creation and evolution as being between religion and science. The implication is clear. Religion is a fairy tale, something you must believe in, something that requires “faith.” Science is based on proof or “facts.” You can believe in whatever religion you want, but evolution is scientific.
However, when examined closely, both creationism and evolutionism are shown to be faith-based belief systems. Therefore, the debate needs to be redefined as a faith-based belief system against an opposing faith-based belief system. Evolutionists cannot prove evolution happened any more than creationists can prove God created. They both require faith. Evolutionists have known and understood this for decades.
Dr. Harrison Matthews was asked to write the 1971 foreword to a massive reprint of Darwin’s book, On the Origin of Species. In it, he stated:
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 the belief in special creation—both are concepts which believers know to be true but neither, up to the present, has been capable of proof.6
His first statement shows him to be a strong evolutionist, but he admits the faith-based nature of his position. Remember, this is an evolutionist saying this. I would agree with him that his position is faith-based. Clearly, evolutionists have been aware of the religious nature of their beliefs for a long time. Yet they continue to deceive our children by teaching them that evolution has been proven to be a scientific fact.
Today, we are seeing the consequences of evolutionary teaching. When you teach generation after generation of children they are nothing more than evolved animals, why should it surprise us when they begin to act like animals? When we teach there is no accountability, we should not be surprised to see large increases in school violence, lawlessness, homosexual behavior, pornography, abortion, and many other destructive behaviors.
We must begin to take responsibility for the education of our own children. If the public schools (and even many Christian schools and colleges) continue to teach our children a false belief system called evolution, then we must begin to teach them true science ourselves. We must first educate ourselves and then our children. Even though secular humanists have been effective at ripping science apart from the Bible, God has not left us defenseless.
Dr. Henry Morris was particularly effective in showing the scientific accuracy of the Bible.7 The author of dozens of books, Dr. Morris was mightily used by God to stand against the onslaught of evolutionary humanism. Yet the body of material to help us only begins there. God has raised up organizations like Answers in Genesis to help us teach the truth about science to our children.
Of course, one cannot scientifically prove special creation. Dr. Henry Morris III stated, “the central message (of the Bible) cannot be tested in a laboratory by scientific analysis or verified by archaeological research. The foundation of truth begins in Genesis.”8 It takes faith to believe in special creation. However, it is not the blind faith, or better called credulity, required to believe in evolution.
Yes, God said that He created, when He created, and how He created. That settles the matter. I have learned how to understand creation science and how to defend it. I encourage you, too, to learn how to understand and then defend it. Then start teaching the truth of God’s spectacular creation to the next generation.
Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.