Why is the creation vs. evolution argument such a deterrent to the Christian faith?


(Shay Yates) #1

So I am finishing up my 4th year of being a biology major at Florida Gulf Coast University, and at the beginning of my freshman year, I lost contact with God because I thought that I had to choose between Evolution and Creation.

After constantly being presented with information on endosymbiosis, the big bang, and the Miller-Urey experiment, I was convinced that I was agnostic.

In addition, I am trying to merge my field of study with my faith, and I feel like things are starting to click. But I’m not sure if it makes sense to others. Anyway, here are a few things that I have thought about:

  1. The Big Bang: Someone/Something had to push the button to cause that explosion and push everything into motion.

  2. The creation of life on Earth: In The Bible, God created everything in 7 days and humans were made last and were made from the dirt, and when you think about the Cosmos life/humans were created last (Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is a really good documentary to watch on this!). The way I’m thinking about it is that time to us is completely different than the time that God experiences. To further explain, Earth is 4.6 billion years old, so the creation of Earth and everything in “7 days” could have actually been 6.5 million years in people-years, and that our lives are only seconds (or less) to God.

  3. Miller-Urey experiment: Who’s to say that God isn’t the master chemist up there mixing everything together in such ways of the Miller-Urey experiment to get the fundamental amino acids needed for life to create the first cell, out of “dirt” or “star stuff.”

  4. Evolution: Yes, evolution is a quantifiable measurement that takes place within every population on Earth, but that doesn’t mean that it disproves that we have a God. He knew that we would need to switch up our alleles and have random mutations in our genes to keep our species going, so we can adapt and thrive.

#TrendingQuestions


(Matt Western) #2

Some great thoughts. Yes, the new atheists suggest we have to choose between God and Science. This is a false choice. Science explains ‘How things work’, but does not give the answers to morality, and to purpose, meaning or value; Why we exist. How do we know that a Human is more valuable than a rock.

To quote John Lennox (who I love and have read almost all of his books):

“The teaching of morality likewise lies outside science. Science can tell you that, if you add strychnine to someone’s drink, it will kill them. But science cannot tell you whether it is morally right or wrong to put strychnine into your grandmother’s tea so that you can get your hands on her property.””

Lennox has a book called ‘7 days that divide the world’ which might be of interest? I think his position is day-age and that Humanity was a special creation.

  1. yes, Lennox (and others) suggest a self creating universe is logically incoherent. Or if a multiverse is proposed, all the atheist is doing is pushing the problem down the road a bit; what caused the multiverse?
    https://www.rzim.org/read/just-thinking-magazine/stephen-hawking-and-god

  2. yes I also am pondering this also. What exactly is time. We experience time by the passing of events, but what exactly is time. God is outside time and is eternal. Also our experience of time is relative to size. For example, an ant takes a certain amount of ‘ant-time’ to travel the distance of the length of my shoe. From the ants perspective my shoe is in two places at once. Clocks tick faster in an airplane than they do on the ground.
    Timothy (@tfloraditch) also has some interesting thoughts and questions on what will we do in heaven, time/eternity, size of universe which really makes you ponder.
    Distant star light?
    Why is the Universe so big if it is just us?
    What will we do in heaven
    I’ve learnt since being on the forum here, that there are 8 different views of Genesis, which was eye opening to say the least, having grown up with a 6 day literal creation. :slight_smile: I haven’t changed my views just yet, but it certainly has given me cause to think further, which stretches my faith.
    See this post and there are a couple of posts from @SeanO that are good summary ones:
    My Question: The Age of the Universe

  3. I’m not a biologist, and don’t know enough to ask any deep questions on the Miller-Urey experiment, but, can we assume that you need some ‘dirt’ or ‘star stuff’ building blocks to start with - which brings us back to question 1? Can life arise from non-life without an outside cause to insert new information? Are the scientists are using already existing matter for their experiments?, whereas God called matter into existence from nothing.

  4. I’m really interested in this, when you say Evolution, are you referring to adaptation - the loss of genetic information in a species in order to blend into or adapt into an environment? Do you think it’s possible for brand new information in say a certain animal species to arise without an outside cause?

If you are interested; i found this debate between Lennox and Peter Singer regarding Lennox new book ‘Can science explain everything?’ quite fascinating.

Hope this is some helpful thoughts to get the conversation flowing? I’m looking forward to others thoughts too… :slight_smile:


(Kenny) #3

Heys Shay, thanks for being willing to share your struggles with these questions. I myself too, went through the journey and thankfully with the internet and great speakers like Ravi Zacharias, or John Lennox, I managed to get many of them addressed. Just to set some expectations, I won’t consider myself very well learned in this area, and am still studying about it myself, so please excuse me if I am not very technical, haha.

I think that the question itself has an assumption that it is commonly associated with when it is raised. Evolution (in this context) is usually viewed as atheistic evolution - where there is no greater being. There is definitely a form of theistic evolution at play (which will probably correspond to your point #4), but people usually view this question from an atheistic POV which is in counter to creation - which points to an existence of a creator. So the actual essence of the question is actually whether a supreme being (God) exists.

I loved how Ravi Zacharias shared about the many facets that point us to God’s existence:

  1. The first is that no matter how we section physical concrete reality, we end up with a quantity that cannot explain its own existence. If all material quantities cannot explain their own existence, the only possibility for self-explanation would be something that is non-material.

  2. Secondly, wherever we see intelligibility, we find intelligence behind it.

  3. Thirdly, we intuitively know that our moral reasoning points to a moral framework within the universe. The very fact that the problem of evil is raised either by people or about people intimates that human beings have intrinsic worth.

  4. Fourthly, the human experience in history and personal encounter sustains the reality of the supernatural.

Source: https://www.rzim.org/read/just-thinking-magazine/think-again-deep-questions

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In reply to the points that you put up, don’t mind if I change the order up so that it flows better to each other:

#2 - It is true that God is outside of time, and is not affected by it. He is after all the creator of time itself. The book of Psalms shared that:

Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; (Psalm 84:10)

Though the actual counting of the day itself may be more of an artistic license / figure of speech, it clearly shows that there is a difference in how “time” works. I likened it to us viewing time linearly whereas God seeing everything from the start and the end as a moment. This is also why you see verses like:

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. (Revelation 22:13)

Also throughout the bible, you constantly see that God knows both the beginning and the end (in terms of our linear timeframe).

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#1 - I do agree that it is possible that someone / something triggered the explosion in the first place. For myself, I see it that the person possible might be God. The interesting thing is that when we think about a Big Bang, we think about a loud explosion. Sound is involved. And in the bible, it states that:

Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. (Genesis 1:3)

Well, in my opinion, it’s coherent in terms of where the sound came from. Coupled with the fact that He created everything by speaking, and that time wasn’t linear from that perspective, it might’ve seemed to be a Big Bang actually.

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#3 - I won’t say I know much about the Miller-Urey experiment, but based on what I have researched, it seemed to be the theory that the conditions of the early earth was suitable for more complex compounds to be created.

Vikram Sing (professor of Applied Mathematics, Cardiff, Wales) said that the probability of the human enzyme coming together by chance is 1 in 10^40,000. This is vastly more than the no. of atoms in the universe (estimated that the there are between 10^78 to 10^82, approximate, as claims vary). Even if the claims do vary, the probability has reached a point of impossibility.

It is only logical that it is easier to believe that a Creator exists rather than the human enzyme coming together by chance.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EonZXFd0Afw

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#4 - This holds on to the idea that time x matter x chance gave rise to intelligence. However, “chance” itself cannot be shown (even via experiment), since flipping a coin 9 times and getting heads, will still result in the 10th time itself being 50/50. So in a sense, it is something to try to classify what that cannot be explained, and pretty much not much different from being nothing at all.

Also if time x matter x chance creates intelligence, then it is no longer truth because truth is absolute, whereas the 3 factors are constantly changing. If truth no longer exist, then how will we ever know if it is truth that time x matter x chance created intelligence?

Ravi Zacharias has a session where he spoke at length into the area of atheistic evolution.

Source: https://youtu.be/6uMjLKNf4ic

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Lastly, I would like to share this video by John Lennox, where he shares that it is a flawed view to always think that science is intended to disprove the existence of God. Many times the question posed to theists is that science runs counter to the spiritual. He felt that science actually runs along with the spiritual, but the spiritual runs supreme.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0AKUTHcI04

Hope these sources help to shed some light into your questions, because I had the same questions myself.


(Shay Yates) #4

Hi Matthew!
It is fascinating to me that we have consciousness and like you said we have morality, feelings of purpose, meaning or value. I never thought twice about this until my boyfriend brought it up to me a few months back, and I have yet to wrap my head around how that is possible (although one of my professors makes a strong case for the stoned ape hypothesis) whereas no other species on Earth has it.

For part 3, I know scientists have only predicted what the early atmosphere was like 3.5 billion years ago when life first started, and I remember sitting in my bio 1 class astonished by the Miller-Urey experiment. Here is a little summary that I quickly found:

“In the 1950’s, biochemists Stanley Miller and Harold Urey, conducted an experiment which demonstrated that several organic compounds could be formed spontaneously by simulating the conditions of [Earth’s early atmosphere]. They designed an apparatus which held a mix of gases similar to those found in Earth’s early atmosphere over a pool of water, representing Earth’s early ocean. Electrodes delivered an electric current, simulating lightning, into the gas-filled chamber. After allowing the experiment to run for one week, they analyzed the contents of the liquid pool. They found that several organic amino acids had formed spontaneously from inorganic raw materials. These molecules collected together in the pool of water to form [coacervates]. Their experiments, along with considerable geological, biological, and chemical evidence, lends support to the theory that the [first life] forms arose spontaneously through naturally occurring chemical reactions. However, there are still many skeptics of this theory who remain unconvinced. British astrophysicist, Fred Hoyle, compares the likelihood of life appearing on Earth by chemical reactions.”

For part 4, I was thinking along the lines of how evolution is the result of natural selection, and how we see evidence in fossil records, and simply by observing populations and quantifying their alleles/characteristics. Evolution is often very slow, but my thought process is that God might have created us that way. By that, I mean allowing random genetic mutations so a certain organism is better fit in that environment, so that each species including humans, can have the best chance and surviving and thriving in the given environment as it changes.

And thank you so much for all the references!


(William Oder) #5

Hello Shay, from your post and the two replies it is apparent to me that you all know a lot more than me on this subject but I do have a couple of suggestions/sources that were not mentioned but I believe will be very helpful.

Dr Hugh Ross @ Reasons to Believe

Dr William Lane Craig @ Reasonable Faith


(christopher van zyl) #6

I think it’s a deterrent exactly because it’s been posed as an either or question. It’s either God or science. But this isn’t the case.

John Lennox has really good illustrations regarding all of this, and one of my favorites is the Henry Ford one. He says that just because you know how the engine works, doesn’t mean Henry Ford doesn’t exist. They are simply different explanations. One is a explanation of mechanism (think the 4 things you listed) and one is a question of agency.
Why is the kettle boiling? Well, the bunsen burner is heating the molecules, causing them to excitate and change phase etc
Well, no, actually the kettle is boiling because I want a cup of tea. These are both right, and it’s not either or.

We must also remember that scientists don’t always answer from science, but rather from their worldview which is an atheism/materialism /naturalistic worldview. This allows us to conclude that statements by scientists aren’t always statements of science.

Imagine you created the rubix cube, and then someone comes along and solves it, and then proceeds to say “because I have solved it, because I know the inner workings, because I have mastered it, @sdyates5778 does not exist”.

To me, it’s a weak argument.

And To your points, I agree with them.

Ps I could be wrong, but wasn’t the Miller urey experiment disproved?


(Matt Western) #7

Hi Shay,
Yes it is fascinating. I think the main question is a decision of worldview, or simply our belief system that needs to answer 4 main questions that Ravi Zacharius has asked. Does God exist? we can secondly ask how God created: through theistic evolution or a literal 6 day creation.

Origin:
How do you think the earth came into existence?
How do you think human life began?

Meaning:
What is the purpose of human life?

Morality:
How do you determine good and bad?

Destiny:
What will happen at the end (at death)?

Just in terms of thinking about morality from a biology perspective, we can observe in nature:

  • altruism (ants working together in a colony)
  • to simply propagate genes (a male lion kills off the offspring of another male lion in order for the females to be ready to mate sooner and to propagate his genes),
  • survival of the fittest (chimpanzee colonies are particularly brutal with infant cannibalism)
  • a mixture of the above (bee colony where worker bees kill off drones).

Based on these simple observations, how do we humans decide which is the right way or the wrong way to live? If there is no higher objective law to which we appeal to, morality just becomes an opinion.

As humans, we all agree that, for example, the Nazi Holocaust was evil or that torturing babies for fun is immoral (to quote two examples given by the RZIM speakers), but to what are we collectively appealing when we refer to this?
I suppose a question to ask is ‘Can there be a moral law without a moral law-giver?’

The Bible says there are two things which point to God’s existence both internally and externally; in our conscience we intrinsically have this knowledge and feeling of i ‘ought’ to do right and we know when we have not reached this standard, and secondly the existence of the universe itself points to God’s existence.

The second important question once we have established that God does exist, is Has God revealed himself to us? The answer is yes, through the person of Jesus Christ…

Also, thankyou so much for sharing the extra information, and I’ll certainly go and do some reading.

Also, there are two Biologists who are RZIM itinerant speakers, Jose Philip and AJ Roberts, and in the ‘Ask RZIM’ category, there is an opportunity to ask each speaker for a week.

In the archives, you’ll find some questions and discussion from both which might be of interest for your field of specialty?

.
https://connect.rzim.org/t/ask-jose-philip-april-17-21/510

Thanks again for sharing - I hope that I have not put in too much information but just enough to think about a little, and a very warm welcome to the community… :slight_smile:

Also, I have not heard of the ‘stoned ape theory’, so if this conversation thread doesn’t address this, it might be worth asking the question as a new thread for discussion so it gets discussed better if this is something you’d like to explore further?

Kindest regards and have a good remainder of the week ahead. :slight_smile:


(SeanO) #8

@sdyates5778 Glad you are growing in your understanding. May Jesus grant you wisdom as you seek to understand God’s created order and how that fits in with your understanding of Scripture. Here are some thoughts that I hope would be helpful :slight_smile:

1 - In fact, the Bible said that there was an ‘in the beginning’ even when science still thought the universe was eternal prior to Big Bang cosmology

3 - Abiogenesis actually assumes certain pre-existing conditions that are unlikely enough that serious secular scientists have posited that aliens must have seeded the earth. In the following article Hugh Ross explains why the Miller-Urey experiment did not accurately simulate conditions on the early earth.

All these findings leave no reasonable doubt that Earth’s environment at the time of life’s origin possessed far too much oxygen to permit any naturalistic scenario for the origin of life. The oxygen problem is just one of many reasons why a naturalistic explanation for life’s origin is not possible. The elimination of naturalistic explanations leaves just one option: A supernatural, super-intelligent, super-powerful Being assembled the first life on Earth.

https://www.twr360.org/blog/details/1057/oxygen-problem-for-naturalistic-origin-of-life-models

Genesis 1

Plenty of Christians do not believe the earth was created in 7 literal days. In fact, there are a number of different ways to interpret Genesis 1 - not all of them consider the sequence provided to be a literal account of creation. Some of them consider Genesis 1 to be a poem about how the eternal God created the world as a temple. Another interpretation is that Genesis 1 is a response to the popular cosmology of the ANE that places God as the ultimate creator and ruler over the chaos often depicted in pagan cosmology.

Evolution

Some Christians do accept evolution and I think the debate over evolution is a secondary, not a primary doctrinal issue. However, if you watch the video linked below from Berlinski, who is not a believer, he makes some very salient points against macro-evolution (species to species).

No Primordial Soup - Hugh Ross


(Mitzi Witt) #9

In my small understanding of it all, I only can say as it concerns point 4, that gene mutation ( even though it can be beneficial but also detrimental) is not the same as evolution (that things progress from simple to complex). Gene mutation seems to be more of something discarded, even damaged, not something progressing as Darwin speculated about. I think God got it right at the very beginning.


(Shay Yates) #10

@Kyrie thank you so much for relaying all of your knowledge on these topics! I’m not really a numbers person, so I never thought about the statistics and probabilities of how everything fell into place.

When I think of space and The Big Bang I don’t really imagine it being loud for some reason, maybe that is because when I think of space I think of it being silent. The never-ending thought I have about space is how it is so big and it seems unrealistic (for me at least) to believe that we are the only ones in the entire universe when we are just the only ones in this galaxy. Sorry, that was kind of like going down the rabbit hole and is probably another question suitable for another post. haha.


(Shay Yates) #11

@c3vanzyl Thank you so much for your input! And I haven’t been actively looking into whether or not the Miller Urey experiment was disproved, I just know that is what I was taught in one of my first biology classes in college a few years back. Also, I will definitely look into John Lennox, most of the people who have commented on my question have referenced him.
I’m so glad that I joined this community as I am beginning my walk with Jesus! It has already sparked so much within me!


(Shay Yates) #12

@SeanO Thank you for all the information you provided! At the beginning of this year, I started investing time into the Christian faith, and I already feel something changing within me. And the information you provided will not only help me further connect my faith with my career path, but it will also help me familiarise myself with Scripture and ways to interpret it!


(SeanO) #13

@sdyates5778 So glad that you are growing in your walk with Jesus and in understanding how the Christian faith relates to your chosen profession! C. S. Lewis has a famous quote where he talks about how his faith is what makes sense out of every aspect of life - it is not only something that he understands and believes, but something that helps him understand and see the whole world.

I was taught at school, when I had done a sum, to “prove my answer”. The proof or verification of my Christian answer to the cosmic sum is this. When I accept Theology I may find difficulties, at this point or that, in harmonizing it with some particular truths which are imbedded in the mythical cosmology derived from science. But I can get in, or allow for, science as a whole. Granted that Reason is prior to matter and that the light of the primal Reason illuminates finite minds, I can understand how men should come by observation and inference, to know a lot about the universe they live in. If, on the other hand, I swallow the scientific cosmology as a whole, then not only can I not fit in Christianity, but I cannot even fit in science. If minds are wholly dependent on brains, and brains on bio-chemistry, and bio-chemistry (in the long run) on the meaningless flux of the atoms, I cannot understand how the thought of those minds should have any more significance than the sound of the wind in the trees. And this is to me the final test. This is how I distinguish dreaming and waking. When I am awake I can, in some degree, account for and study my dream. The dragon that pursued me last night can be fitted into my waking world. I know that there are such things as dreams: I know that I had eaten an indigestible dinner: I know that a man of my reading might be expected to dream of dragons. But while in the night mare I could not have fitted in my waking experience. The waking world is judged more real because it can thus contain the dreaming world: the dreaming world is judged less real because it cannot contain the waking one. For the same reason I am certain that in passing from the scientific point of view to the theological, I have passed from dream to waking. Christian theology can fit in science, art, morality, and the sub-Christian religions. The scientific point of view cannot fit in any of these things, not even science itself. I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen not only because I see it but because by it I see everything else. C. S. Lewis


(Shay Yates) #14

@BillO Thank you for the recommendations!


(Timothy Loraditch) #15

@sdyates5778 Shay. You are going to get a lot of long answers to this, but the bottom line is that “without faith, it is impossible to please God. Because everyone who comes to Him must believe that he is and that He is the rewarder of those who seek Him.” Heb 11:6.

There are a lot of great minds out there and they are not going to figure this out. Nobody can prove God exists and nobody can prove that He does not. The question is do you have faith? If you do, God will reveal everything to you in His time. Guaranteed!


(Timothy Loraditch) #16

If you are interested in what physicists know about time there are three videos on Youtube.com that you will want to see. Alert! This is a secular information source. Sixty Symbols is a series of YouTube videos created by Nottingham University in the UK. They are all fascinating but I think The Gamma Trilogy is the best. Make sure you watch all three of the trilogy to get the full story.


(Matt Western) #17

Thanks I’ll definitely check it out.


(Anthony Costello ) #18

@sdyates5778

Shay, great question, and I am thrilled to see you taking the time and effort to engage seriously with the debate over evolution and creation. Although, I might say the more fundamental debate precedes the creation vs. evolution debate, that being the debate between naturalism and supernaturalism. The existence of the universe, or anything material at all, raises the more fundamental question of what kind of being could bring a time-bound, space-bound, finite, contingent, yet incredibly fine-tuned thing like our universe into existence. So, as you pointed out already, once you have a reasonable inference to point number 1, what caused the existence of the universe, then you already have lots of options with regard to how a timeless, spaceless, immaterial, extremely powerful, personal, and necessary being (i.e. God) might work with the matter He has created.

Second, with regard to life on earth, bio-diversity, and human complexity, although you’ve already received a lot of material here to scrutinize, I would strongly emphasize the work of actual scientists in the relevant fields, and would therefore highly recommend looking into the work of geneticists like Doug Axe, physicists like David Snoke, and organic chemists like James Tour. There is a legitimate revolution going on in the natural sciences, and there are Christians in key positions who are moving this revolution forward. Here are some additional resources to supplement your quest for God’s truth:

https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=yfp-t&p=james+tour#id=3&vid=e2f2ad07348e95e20329311a39ffb5d0&action=click

I think if you are interested in pursuing science as a career, these are good folks to become familiar with. I would also suggest looking into the Discovery Institute and the work they are doing in every area of scientific research:

https://www.discovery.org

Hope this helps.

In Christ,
Anthony


(gerhard NvC) #19

#TrendingQuestions

Just some points to consider. If someone believes in evolution that person literally speaking believes in the “orderly unfolding of a plan” thus accepts the existence of a plan which in turn implies a plan maker.

Once we can free ourselves from the physical interpretation of Genesis with the image of a Gnome like figure manually making a mud pie human by the riverbank we have to think about the story in a more abstract form. After all, this story was written not as a scientific textbook but as a book to describe reality and to make parts of our universe history accessible to people without any scientific background, in fact without the ability to read and write, so they could relate to it and form a coherent worldview https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=n5hJRJfkUU0 to allow them a meaningful and safe way to interact with reality. It does in no way contradict our more and more complicated understanding of the underlying processes but simplifies them in a fascinating way that allows not only to convey a physical reality but at the same time an emotional reality that we cannot do in a science text book. And if we do science without the love for it for the glory of the lord we have to ask ourselves who we want to glorify with the science we pursue.
So if we look at Genesis from a creators perspective we would have to consider how we would go about such a project. First of all we would figure that we cannot create live as we are alive already. We could however create something that comes alive in the end. Considering the complexity of the task we would know that what we need to design is a process that leads to the desired outcome, so we have to make it follow a rule. The rule that governs the evolutionary process is called “the word of God” , one of the most misunderstood rules of our times. Unlike the “Golden Rule” which puts the internal self as the reference standard the word of God puts the the love of thyself e.g. the love for one another as the point of reference. Survival fitness is not to outcompetes our neighbours but to love them like thyself. This makes evolution an integration function leading to ever increasing complexity and eradicates selfish elements that would destabilize the system.

To end with some philosophical statements:

Life is the ability to move energy at will

ao let us be careful who’s will we do

And

To live forever is the art
To learn to live in Jesus heart


(Shay Yates) #20

@anthony.costello Hi there! I am 100% sure that I want to pursue a career in the science field, and I thank you so much for your input and the references you attached!!