The conflict between the theory of evolution and creationism has been actively debated for the past century. The warfare in the court system has largely quieted down, but the battle in the print media still rages. If you visit any typical Christian bookstore, you will likely find a large section of books devoted to the topic of the origin of life.
After studying this issue for several years, I have concluded that very little can be gained by debating evolution vs. creationism. Two of the biggest obstacles to effective debate on the topic are: 1) the lack of conclusive scientific evidence to forever resolve the issue; and 2) the lack of openmindedness on the part of both camps.
Our limited understanding of the historical record and the workings of the universe makes it difficult for any side to get an advantage over the other. Until the day comes when God supernaturally reveals himself, both sides will still be entangled in this endless battle.
Because salvation is the most important issue for us to be spending our time and energy on, all Christian endeavors need to be productive in the area of winning people for the Kingdom of God. When it comes to soul winning, arguing about creationism simply does not carry any weight. Because of the combative nature of this conflict, the salvation message always seems to be lost in the struggle.
I agree 100 percent with my creationist brethren that our ancestors did not swing from trees by their tails. I just don't think we should be conducting a propaganda war to win new converts.
The Church has a proven history of using faith to triumph over science. When Christians switched to battling with the weapon of science, they began suffering one defeat after another. Evolutionists have good reason to crow about their victories in public schools and in institutes of higher learning. Over the years, they have mopped the floor up with creationists, having won virtually every major contest. With creation science having such a dismal record, I think it's time to look for a better strategy.
Evolutionists and creationists have many differences, but they share one common trait: they tend to oversimplify their explanations of the process by which life began.
Evolutionists are always trying to find evidence that shows the evolutionary process is a natural rule of physics. Scientists have a bias toward believing that the atoms that make up DNA naturally fall into place if given the right environment.
They often speculate on the probability of life forming on other planets. Every time a probe explores one of the planets or moons in our solar system, engineers are looking for evidence of life. Mars is often cited as possibly having the right conditions for the formation of life.
Even if Mars were a mirror copy of Earth, with perfect conditions for supporting living organisms, it would still be highly unlikely that any type of life would form on that planet. The odds are stacked so heavily against the formation of the complex molecular structures, the discovery of living organisms in any other region of our own solar system would only serve to prove the existence of a divine Creator.
It is reckless for someone to think it is a simple feat to have 3 billion amino acid molecules perfectly link up to form the basic genetic code of life. All scientists should find themselves forced to use the term "miracle" when assessing the odds for life forming on any planet.
In the game of chance, evolutionists are way ahead of themselves. Not only are their missing links missing, but so are a thousand other steps that would require non-living matter to form into life.
Creationists make their oversimplification error by claiming the world around us can easily be described by the information found in the Bible, which they frequently try to portray as an all-inclusive scientific document.
Despite the claims by some Christians, God's Holy Word is not a book of science. The Bible is factual, but because it makes such broad statements about our complex world, it is counterproductive to try to go beyond its original text. I've read many of examples of Christians going through the Bible and gleaning out statements that appear to be scientific in nature.
This type of activity seems noble, but it invites critics to point out how these examples seem to conflict with known scientific truths. Creationists often claim that the deep oceanic trenches are fountains of the deep that eject most of the water that comprised the Noadic Flood. Geologistsl point out that the Earth's core is hot just up to its crust and these trillions of gallons of water would come out as super-heated steam.
Because God could have acted supernaturally at any point in history, it's dangerous to assume that any Bible passage can be explained with scientific methodology.
This article is actually a follow-up to my "This Old Planet" webpage. I wrote that article to address the debate over the Earth's age, but what I was mainly looking for was how most Christians would deal with evidence that contradicts the popular notion of an Earth that was older than 4000 B.C.
I knew that most of the feedback related to the article would side with the young Earth view. I didn't expect email from so many people who disagreed with my views without even knowing why they do so. One woman wrote, "Todd, you present a good argument for an old Earth view, but I'm sure there is evidence out there somewhere that explains why the Earth is young."
It is rather obvious that many Christians hold to the young Earth view based solely on the opinion of other believers. It is dangerous for Christians to automatically hold to a viewpoint for social reasons. Group mentality may work on many occasions, but when this type of thinking fails to work, it often leads to grievous errors.
Creationists' conclusion that the Earth is 6,000 years old is motivated largely by fears that the acceptance of an old Earth would be part of an evolutionary time scale.
Truth is not something that is brought into existence by a popular vote. A person can believe that he has a million dollars in the bank, but if he doesn't have that much money in his account, blind faith cannot change that reality.
It is bit of a contradiction for a creationist to claim that life is too complex to have formed by chance while at the same time claiming that the majority of the fossil record was created by a single flood event. Many of the forces that created the Earth's wealth of the fossil layers are unrelated to any type of flood activity.
Junk DNA and Left-Handed Amino Acids
The supporters of evolution and creationism cite an endless number of examples to support their view. Because we have such a limited understanding of how life operates, the validity of most of this evidence is subject to change at any moment.
Molecular biologists believe that more than 95 percent of all DNA code has no ascribed function to it. The unused portion of the genetic chain is commonly called "junk DNA."
It has been proven that sections of DNA can be cut out or replaced with randomized sequences with no apparent effect on the organism. The fugu fish has a genome that is about one-third as large as its close relatives.
Evolutionists argue that junk DNA is left over from a random evolutionary process. They claim if life had a designer, there would not be so much excess genetic code.
The 20 amino acids that are used by life are all of the left-handed variety. Because the right side of the amino acids bonds with the double spirals of the DNA helices, the left side of two pairs of amino acid molecules are able to match up.
Even the most committed evolutionists would have to admit that it would be odd for this chemical arrangement to occur by chance. They would also need to realize the luck involved in not having a right-handed amino that would interfere with the structure of DNA.
Without knowing all the facts, it's hard to determine the reason something is designed in a certain way. In the world of plumbing, nearly all sinks have an s-shaped pipe that holds a small amount of water. Because this joint is the most common cause of blocked drains, a straight drain pipe would seem to be a better design. However, the reason sinks come with water traps is to prevent smelly sewage gas from come up through the piping. Until you became aware of the need to block the sewage gas, the usage of the s-shaped pipe would seem to be a design flaw.
God may have a vital reason for including so-called junk DNA, and there may be a logical chemical reason for those 20 amino acids to be left-handed. The search for an answer to these two opposing dilemmas is endless.
The Boundaries of Chance Cannot Be Set
Both creationists and evolutionists frequently present arguments that deal with the odds of life forming by chance. While making their arguments, they often set boundaries that really should not be set.
Time limits one of the most common of these boundaries. If time before is eternal, it not honest to establish time windows for the occurrence of certain events.
One favorite time-related illustration that creationists like to use is the one about the tornado going through a heap of junk and creating a 747 jumbo jet. They say this is proof of the unlikelihood of evolution taking place.
Because there is no boundaries on time, you cannot honestly apply this analogy as an argument against the theory of evolution. If one single tornado passed through a junkyard, it would not form a jumbo jet. If the process were repeated an infinite number of times, jumbling nature of the twister’s twirling winds would eventually result in the construction of fleet of jets.
Evolutionists fail to take into account the vast number of factors that would have prevented life from forming by chance. If Darwinists devoted more research to the unlikelihood of the evolutionary process occurring, they would probably be more open to the existence of a divine Creator.
Every time a feature is added to an organism, the odds against its existence by chance climb all the higher. Because life would have had to scale this mountain of impossibility to get where it is now, we would have wonder how many zeros are behind the number of improbability.
We are truly dealing with numbers that go far beyond our ability to comprehend. Scientists say the universe might be a few billion years old. They have no way of knowing what was going on a trillion, quadrillion, quintillion, sextillion, septillion, octillion, nonillion, or decillion years ago.
If 1 sexoctingentillion were written out, it would be the number 1 followed by 2421 zeros. Only God could tell us what the universe was like sexoctingentillion years ago.
In the battle of odds between creationism and evolution there is no way for man to determine a mathematical likelihood for either side. The laws of chance concerning the formation of complex life and the existence of a divine Creator are so astronomically large, our limited knowledge makes us unqualified to judge this contest.
Where Did God Come From?
Creationists commonly argue that life is so complex it requires a Creator. Of course, this claim raises the question: "Where did God come from?"
If creationists are going to play by the rules of science, they need to resolve this quandary. Unfortunately, until God reveals himself, we have no way of asking Him this all-important question. It is possible that the Lord may have existed for so long even He has lost track of His own beginning.
The inability of creationists to explain the origin of God is a huge obstacle to being able to convince anyone of the validity of the whole concept of creation science. Creationists cannot argue that evolution is too elaborate to have been triggered by a simple chemical reaction while maintaining the belief that a vastly more intricate Creator "just exists."
A "God who has no beginning and no end" argument sounds nice in theological terms, but it is does not contribute to winning the debate. Evolutionists have the same right to argue that life began from a spark of unknown origin.
The Silent Universe
For many years astronomers have been scanning the electromagnetic spectrum in search of signals that originate from distance worlds. Several organizations have supercomputers that constantly analyze millions of frequencies for signs of extra-terrestrial intelligence. The SETI Institute is probably the most well known of these types of organizations.
After spending several decades looking for these signals, not one hint of a complex message has ever been detected. The only conclusion that can easily be made is that we are living in a ghostly silent universe.
Some scientists have openly speculated that evolution would call for thousands of worlds like Earth. Because some powerful telescopes have found planets going around other stars in an orbit pattern similar to that of Earth, the claim is made that they have the right temperature, the right conditions, and the right chemistry for life. All this hopeful speculation cannot escape the truth that so far the search has been in vain.
The lack of chatter from outer space does not disprove evolution, but it does cast doubt on the idea that evolution is a nature process. There may be life on other planets that has not yet mastered electronic communications. Before the 20th century, Earth was a quiet place. Because the argument is over evolution, they really can be excused for not advancing to the point of broadcasting their existence.
The Gift of Faith
When I was a new believer in Christ, I often wondered why the Bible did not include evidence that would overwhelmingly prove God's existence. I was thinking that the Lord should have added to Scripture things like E=mc², the periodic table of elements, or a diagram of our own Milky Way galaxy.
I now realize that this type of approach would probably not work. Albert Einstein's famous equation that explained the relationship between mass and energy would have been unrecognized during any period prior to the 20th century. When Einstein finally developed his formula, he would probably have chosen to express it in a way that would avoid any confusion with the mysterious one found in the Bible.
It also questionable whether God would be praised if He had revealed hidden knowledge. Men could argue that early alchemists should be given the credit for discovering the primary elements. The diagram of Milky Way might be attributed to some stargazer's good eyesight.
God does provide some supernatural proof for intellectuals to chew on. He uses Bible prophecy to reach out to the skeptical mind. Any scientist will tell you that it is impossible for us to predict future events.
But even prophecy is not enough to satisfy all the doubters. They try to explain it away as just coincidental events or the product of logical guesswork. The stubbornness of man reminds me of the words from the old Doobie Brothers' song, "A wise man has the power to reason away what a fool believes he sees."
To get around all the skeptical thinking, God blessed with us with the ultimate proof. I believe divine faith is what God uses to establish a relationship with man. Faith in God is a gift given to people who are willing to receive it. Faith does not have to compete with opposing theories; it is the purest form of truth.
We are not talking about blind faith in a deity that you cannot prove or disprove. This type faith is the direct result of the working of the Holy Spirit. The Word of God gives several examples of how the Holy Spirit is a vital factor in leading people to the truth.
"The man without the Spirit does not accept the things of the Spirit for they are foolish to him, and he cannot understand them for they are spiritually discerned" (1 Cor. 2:14).
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost" (Tit. 3:5).
"You are a new creature in Christ, with the Holy Spirit dwelling in you. There are two members warring against each other. The Spirit which is quickened, or alive, and your sinful nature. The Holy Spirit works within you, both to help you think the way God thinks and to overcome the power sin has in your flesh. Paul tells us not to grieve the Holy Spirit that is at work within us" (Eph. 4:30).
"And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for He who comes to God must believe that he is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him" (Heb. 11:6).
With faith being given out freely to all who seek truth, Christians have no need to be in the business of mixing science with religion. With prayer, we have the ability to supernaturally win over even the most stubborn evolutionists. I think creationism is harmful because it distracts from what is clearly a better way to win people to the Kingdom of God.
Seek God and You Will Find Him
The triumph of creationism over evolution is not about finding that one piece of evidence that will settle the debate. Our generation is drowning in a sea of information. Because two people can look at the same data and come up with different conclusions, we need to turn to God for a resolution to this issue.
I firmly believe that anyone who searches for the Creator of all life will eventually find Him. The Supreme Lord of Universe would never allow someone to claim that He ignored their pleas. It may take an unknown amount of time and prayer, but for diligent seekers God always provides answers.
God has set up a very clever system for revealing himself to mortal man: He discloses the truth to people who humble themselves and hides it from those who are proud. If you reject God out of pride, the light of the truth will pass you by.
"Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you" (Jam. 4:8).
"The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God'" (Psa. 14:1; 53:1).
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