The Creation and Evolution Debate
The Bible teaches that God created this world in six days: “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day” (Ex. 20:11, NKJV).1 Although many scientists claim that evolution is “a fact of nature,”2 thousands of scientists and many organizations around the world continue to defend a six-day creation. The day when creationists offered nothing but a religious dogma has passed. Solid scientific research is today calling into question the dogmatic pronouncements of evolutionists.
Problems of Evolution
Opponents and defenders of the theory of evolution agree that it faces many challenges. The very complexity of living things is one of these problems. The human eye, for example, is so complex that its existence is impossible to explain with a step-by-step accidental development. The eye has automatic aiming, automatic focusing, and automatic aperture adjustment functions. Unless all these factors are coordinated, the system cannot function properly. “The process of seeing is incredibly complicated and incredibly rapid.”3 Because of the interdependence of these highly complex operations, it is difficult to imagine that the eye should have evolved step-by-step over a long period of time. The same applies, of course, to many other human organs. George Gallup, the dean of opinion polls, once said that the chance that all the functions of the human body could just happen, “is a statistical monstrosity.”4
The second law of thermodynamics presents a further problem for evolutionists. It states that every system, left to its own devices, tends to move from order to disorder. A house left empty will eventually fall into disrepair. Yet evolution suggests that in the biological world, the very opposite is true.
The biggest problem for evolutionists is the origin of life. Since no one has been able to produce life in the test tube, theories as to how life began abound. While most scientists accept the concept that life developed spontaneously, their dilemma has been well expressed by the Nobel Laureate George Wald: “One has only to contemplate the magnitude of this task to concede that spontaneous generation of a living organism is impossible. Yet here we are—as a result I believe, of spontaneous generation.”5 Because secular evolutionists operate in a paradigm without God, this is the impossible situation in which they find themselves.
Evidences Supporting Creation
While neither creation nor evolution can be proven scientifically, there are many facts of nature that support belief in a Creator. The migratory instinct of animals, especially birds, is best understood as a God-given instinct. Millions of birds fly twice a year halfway round the world. The arctic tern, for example, migrates each year from pole to pole and back, some 28,000 miles in all. The golden plover travels some 8,000 miles from the Hudson Bay region to Argentina via the Atlantic, but it returns through Central America and the Mississippi Valley.
In some cases, the parent birds migrate before their offspring do. “The new generation takes off several weeks later and flies instinctively across thousands of miles of unfamiliar land and sea to rejoin their parents. How do they manage to navigate with such precision across such distances, especially since they have never been there before? Experiments have shown that within the brains of these birds is the inherited knowledge of how to tell latitude, longitude, and direction by the stars, plus a calendar, a clock, and all the navigational data.”6 It is extremely difficult to understand how all this information could have been imprinted on the bird’s brain by a slow evolutionary development.
The hibernation phenomenon is another example of purposeful design in nature. During hibernation, the heartbeat of animals is in some cases reduced to two to three beats per minute. “Normally under such circumstances the blood would clot and the animal would die quickly. But when the mammal goes into hibernation something triggers the formation of anticoagulant in its blood, so that all the time it is hibernating its blood, which is moving slowly through its body, will not clot. If the situation did not change when spring came a little injury might cause it to bleed to death. When spring arrives the anticoagulant is no longer secreted into the blood, and the clotting ability returns to normal.”7
The highly sophisticated sonar systems of bats and porpoises, the complex wing mechanism of birds and insects, and the ability of some animals to mimic others (e.g., spiders can disguise themselves as ants) provide further evidence that a creative mind and not blind chance is behind these phenomena.
The Geologic Column
While there are many things in nature that Christians can see as evidences of creation, there are several items that present a challenge to the creationist model. One of them is the geologic column―i.e., the rocks of the Earth are to a large degree arranged like the layers of a gigantic cake. The sequence of these layers is generally the same the world over and therefore predictable. The lowest layer, called Precambrian, contains no fossils apart from some algae and primitive fungi, but beginning with the Cambrian layer, rocks contain a great diversity of fossils. By and large the fossils represent more complex life forms the higher up they are in the geologic column.
According to the theory of evolution, the geologic column is the record of 570 million years of geological activity and biological evolution during which life forms developed from the simplest and oldest to the most complex and youngest. Creationists accept the geologic column, but they interpret it differently. According to creationists, the worldwide flood recorded in Genesis 6–9 fits within the framework of the geologic column. “The Flood could provide the mechanism for the widespread stratigraphic deposits found throughout the crust of the Earth. . . . The Flood could also account for the fossil sequences we find in the geologic column. The sequencing could be the result of the Flood waters progressively destroying the various ecological zones. Also, waters could cause different species to bloat and float to different layers prior to burial. In short, a worldwide flood can provide a possible model for the geologic column.”8
A Matter of Faith
The paradigm of evolution has a powerful hold on modern humans, yet the scientific evidence for it is very slim. The physicist Wolfgang Smith recognized this when he said, “The doctrine of evolution has swept the world, not on the strength of its scientific merits, but precisely in its capacity as a Gnostic myth. It affirms, in effect, that living beings create themselves, which is in essence a metaphysical claim. This in itself implies, however, that the theory is scientifically unverifiable. Thus in the final analysis, evolutionism is in truth a metaphysical doctrine decked out in scientific garb.”9
Metaphysical doctrines cannot be scientifically verified; they have to be accepted by faith. Both evolution and creationism, therefore, are philosophies of origin that belong to the realm of beliefs. While the creationist can point to the evidence of intelligent design in nature as one reason for belief in a creator, the evolutionist must rely on scientific data, which can frequently be interpreted in more than one way. As indicated above, the geologic column, for example, can be viewed as evidence for the development of living organism from simple to complex over long periods of time—or it can be seen as the result of the Noachian flood a few thousand years ago.
Both evolutionists and creationists recognize that there are facts of nature that present a challenge to their particular model of origin. Faith must bridge the gap between the evidence and the paradigm each holds dear. When it comes to the origin of life on Earth, the Christian scientist will take note of what the inspired Word has to say on this matter.
Regardless of the scientific evidence for or against creation, each person has experiences that can be expressed only in religious language. The argument whether creation is a myth becomes irrelevant when the creator is experienced firsthand. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).
NOTES AND REFERENCES
1. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references in this editorial are quoted from the New King James Version of the Bible.
2. Philip E. Johnson, Darwin on Trial (Crowborough, England: Monarch Publications, 1994), 11.
3. Ariel A. Roth, Origins: Linking Science and Scripture (Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald, 1999), 107.
4. George Gallup Quotes (n.d.). http://www.BrainyQuote.com.
5. Roth, Origins: Linking Science and Scripture, 74.
6. Scott M. Huse, The Collapse of Evolution (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 1997), 101.
7. Harold G. Coffin, Creation—Accident or Design? (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1969), 383.
8. C. L Webster, Jr., The Earth: Origins and Early History (Silver Spring, Md.: North American Division of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1989), 64.
9. Roth, Origins: Linking Science and Scripture, 361.