Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Creation vs. Evolution Part 1

Creation vs. Evolution (Part 1 of 12)

As a former atheist, who once believed in evolution, I have been very interested in the science of Intelligent Design and Creationism. Many faithful Christians just do not see the point of worrying about whether Genesis is literally true or just symbolic. I think it is actually critical, especially to younger generations.

Why it matters:
Genesis 1-3 explains how we were made and how we fell, by choosing sin in the Garden of Eden. This choice ushered in pain, suffering, toil, sorrow and death. It also broke fellowship with God. This is the “bad news.” The New Testament contains the “Gospel” (literally the “good news”) that explains how a virgin-born, sinless Jesus came to restore that broken fellowship with God through His atoning death on the cross. It is vital to know the bad news first, in order to understand the good news.

Many faithful and sincere Christians hold positions about Genesis that just fall apart upon examination. I think you will find that all non-literal positions fail in light of Scripture. I will address the most popular arguments and address at least one reason why each they violate the Bible’s plain language.

“I think that the days in Genesis mean eras or ages, not regular days.” This is known as the “Day Age Theory.” It is very popular in the church these days. It is a compromise to allow for the millions of years that many scientists claim to have existed in Earth’s history. Why are millions of years needed? Vast amounts of time are required for evolution to occur. Thus, it effectively alleges that God created evolution.

The Hebrew could not be any clearer in proclaiming that the word “days” in Genesis 1-2 are intended to mean literal, 24-hour solar days. Even many Rabbis who do not accept the literal meaning of the passage will agree that the author is trying to communicate a week of seven 24-hour days (see e.g., Gen. 1:4-5). There are three ways that a “day” (Hebrew “yom”) can be listed, any of which make it mean a solar day: If they are 1) numbered; if they have 2) morning and evening; and if they are 3) identified with the cycle of light and dark. And--you guessed it--all three are there for each of these seven days.

“I think God started Evolution millions of years ago.” This is known as “Theistic Evolution.” A first glance, this seems to be a reasonable compromise between secular “science” and the Bible. It acknowledges a powerful, creative God and seems to question only the method He used.

However, this would mean that God accomplished His creation by millions of years of death, disease, suffering, mutations and extinction. This violates the repeated statements that the creation was “very good,” and that all animals were initially vegetarian. It argues that there was death before sin, and this stands in stark contradiction to Genesis 2:17 and Romans 5:12.

“I think God created the universe in Genesis 1:1, and there is a Gap afterwards.” This is called the “Gap Theory” and is simply another compromise that honors God to a degree, but tries to explain the alleged millions of years some see in the fossil-strewn rock layers. Many versions claim that in Genesis 1:2, a flood covered the original creation, creating fossils, and that Genesis 1:3 picks up again with the current creation. But, it fails for the same reasons as Theistic Evolution.

Notice also, Exodus 20:11, “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” Again, there is no room for millions of years.

“I think that the fossils were put there by God at creation.” Again, a creative God is at work in this idea, and I call it the “Fake Fossil Theory.” It is undeniable that Adam, the plants, the soil, the sun and the stars were created in a mature, functioning state. At Creation, Adam may well have appeared to have been 25 years old surrounded by 40 year old fruit trees.

However, this apparent maturity is far from placing fake fossils of things that never actually lived in rock layers to be discovered later. Those who hold to this view have no evidence as to why God would deceive, in opposition to Numbers 23:19. They are also at a loss as to explain why the clearly described Biblical flood did not produce these fossils.

Indeed, all these theories violate the clear reading of Scripture. Nothing in the text suggests, or even allows, for millions of years.

I think it is illogical to limit what an all-powerful God could do. He split the Red Sea, sent fire from Heaven, healed the blind and raised the dead. If He said He made everything in seven literal days, about 6000 years ago, why is that too far-fetched to believe? Some folks think that dating methods, star distance and fossil evidence rule out a young earth. In fact, they support a young earth much more than they weigh against it. In this series, I intend to deal with the most popular objections, arguments and questions. I will cover dinosaurs, dating methods, Noah’s Ark and other questions you submit.

For now, I close with the words of Christ, who appears to be a young earth creationist as well. Notice, He allows no room for millions of years either. He stated, in Mark 10:6, “But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’”