For too long the creation versus evolution controversy has revolved around points of secondary importance. It’s time to get to the heart of the matter!
By Clayton D Steep
November-December 1984 The Plain Truth Magazine
MOST “creationists” are guilty of the very thing they accuse evolutionists of doing: misinterpreting the evidence!
Actually, the commonly accepted religious concept of creation has changed little since medieval theologians insisted the earth is flat.
Only some six or so thousand years ago, according to this concept, God created “out of nothing” the universe and everything in it. Not only does this idea overlook the actual biblical account of creation, it also represents a misinterpretation of the physical evidence to support a preconceived and erroneous notion.
One can only wonder how many educated people have rejected the whole idea of special creation merely because they have not heard the true biblical account. The biblical account of creation, as recorded in the first chapters of Genesis, is compatible with the entire body of provable, observable, measurable, recordable scientific data. What this means is that the physical evidence of and by itself does not require choosing between an evolutionary process on the one hand or belief in a universe that is only about 6,000 years old on the other hand. Let us explain.
What the Bible Really Says
Where most “creationists” err is that they assume the Bible places the creation of the universe at a point in time about six or so thousand years ago. The Bible, however, says nothing about such an idea.
Genesis 1:1 states, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Those words describe a complete episode in the prehistory of the universe. There follows a time lapse of indefinite length between this verse and the verse that follows — a time lapse that may well have spanned multiple millions of years as measured by scientists using radiometric dating methods. The Bible does not describe this period in great detail, nor reveal how long it lasted.
As verse two of Genesis 1 opens, we are confronted with a totally different scene. We now see an earth that had come to be in ruins, in darkness and covered with water. Some great disaster had befallen the earth.
The English word was in this verse is better translated “became” or “came to be.” “Now the earth became without form, and void; and darkness came to be upon the face of the deep.” (See the New International Version rendering and footnote.)
This revelation of earth’s history is important because the second major error most creationists make is to attribute the near totality of earth’s strata to a flood in Noah’s day. They overlook the physical evidence of events, including flooding, before and up to the climax of Genesis 1:2!
From verse two the Genesis account goes on to describe a recreation, how God reshaped and refashioned, nearly 6,000 years ago, the already existing, but now desolate earth. The Bible thus reveals an earlier period for the earth and its original inhabitants long before man was created.
Why Evolution Then?
Many evolutionists have taken for granted the false explanation of the Bible. They have therefore concluded that the written biblical record of creation could not be true. Having carelessly set aside the biblical account, educators and scientists were left with no choice but to believe in some form of evolution and to interpret all physical evidence accordingly.
One highly celebrated proponent of evolution who totally rejects the traditional — and false — explanation given to the Genesis record of creation conceded in private, “The evolutionary explanation may not be complete or compelling but nothing else is possible.”
In other words, the evolutionist, after he has left the Creator out of the picture, because he found the traditional interpretation of Genesis to be in error, has no choice but to try making evolution work. As this well-known author remarked, “no alternate explanation to evolution is possible.”
Evolutionists are stuck with evolution. This, in spite of the fact that they cannot adequately explain the mechanism by which evolution is supposed to have taken place. There are all those gaps in the “evolutionary tree.”
Oh, there have been attempts to fill those gaps — with a measure of wishful thinking. Charles Darwin, for example, wrote in The Origin of Species that “the number of intermediate and transitional links, between all living and extinct species, must have been inconceivably great. But assuredly, if this theory be true [he doesn’t sound convinced!], such must have lived upon the earth” (emphasis ours).
“Must have”? But where? When? Who has found the proof that this “inconceivably great” host of intermediate species existed? Where are all those missing links that “must have” lived on earth? One hundred years after Darwin this essential proof is embarrassingly absent!
Even a sizable number of evolutionists have come to accept that “transitional links” will never be found. But since they are aware of no plausible alternative to evolution that would involve God, the Creator is kept out of the picture. In an effort to bridge the gaps in the biological record, as revealed in geology, the idea of “punctuated evolution,” or evolution by leaps, has attracted recent interest. If, however, a long, slow process of evolution has failed to leave a credible record, it is certain an evolution — by — leaps has left even less of one.
Some seek to get around the difficulties in the evolutionary concept by resorting to a form of theistic evolution. This brings God into the evolutionary process. But only far enough to get evolution over the rough spots like the origin of the first living cells, missing links and other such troublesome problems. It is merely another effort to interpret the physical evidence without giving God the credit.
Not that the Bible is specifically a science textbook. It is not. But where the Bible speaks on scientific matters, it is in harmony with the facts of science.
Correctly understood, the Genesis account renders totally unnecessary any attempt to explain the physical evidence in evolutionary terms. Consider a couple of the popularly cited “proofs” of evolution and see how easily they fit into the biblical account of creation.
Evolutionary science places heavy emphasis on comparative embryology. So what if the embryos of humans, chickens, pigs and turtles look similar at certain stages in their, development? That’s no problem. One Designer designed them all. Why wouldn’t there be similarities? Why wouldn’t there be a repetition of themes just as individual buildings by the same architect or different models of automobiles made by the same company may have similarities? Most houses and most automobiles look similar in the early stages of manufacture. So it is with embryos. A pig embryo, however, never becomes a chicken. Nor a chicken a turtle. Nor a turtle a human. Each reproduces after its kind.
But what is the origin of the different “kinds” with their individual characteristics? Evolutionists have derided creationists for continually citing examples of the “wonders of nature.” But such chiding does not answer the question: How can the design evident in the “wonders. of nature” be explained? The skill of the garden spider in building its web, the interdependent partnership between certain insects and flowers, the deadeye accuracy of the archer fish, the entertaining antics of dolphins and seals, the agile trunk of elephants, and man himself — an assemblage of 30,000,000,000 living cells functioning harmoniously, capable of thought, of emotion, of expression, able to split atoms he cannot see or to construct immense edifices — these and incalculable numbers of other “wonders” cannot be rationally accounted for by a blind, purposeless, unintelligent, time-and-chance process of evolution.
The subject cannot be avoided. Nor can the conclusion: Design demands a Designer!
What about the “survival of the fittest”? Which schoolchild has not. read about the light-colored moths and the dark-colored moths on the tree trunk? The light-colored ones, if more conspicuous, are quickly eaten by birds. The dark moths survive because they are less visible.
“See?” proclaim the evolutionists, “survival of the fittest.” And indeed it is. The principle of survival of the fittest does have a place in the natural scheme. But it does not bring about a change from one life form to another! It does not explain the arrival of the fittest. It merely helps determine the survivability under given conditions of varieties naturally occurring within the boundaries of each Genesis kind. The dark-colored moths do not become something else. They are still moths. And so they shall ever be.
These are two of the primary. proofs given for evolution. And yet, as these examples illustrate, the physical evidence of and by itself does not require an evolutionary explanation. In order to fit into the concept of evolution the physical evidence must be interpreted according to evolutionary thought. It is not the evidence itself that is even the central issue in the creation versus evolution controversy. It is the interpretation of that evidence that is the crux of the whole matter!
In other words, the evidence used or discovered by evolutionists does not pose a problem for creationists who understand the true biblical account of creation.
Seeing the Facts Clearly
Interpretation of evidence is one thing. There is. unfortunately, however, another factor sometimes at work: lack of candor. The Plain Truth published an article some months ago asserting that the marvelously complex human. eye could not have evolved from “primitive” eyes. An inquiring reader sent a copy of the Plain Truth article to an evolutionist editor for comment. Notice how the answer he received obscures the facts.
“Eyes in existence today,” the evolutionist wrote back, “range all the way from light-sensitive spots near the heads of some animals, to indentations, to indentations with a membrane, to lens-like membranes, to everything up to humans.” So far, so good. This is evidence. It is true. No creationist would deny it.
Now comes the interpretation! The evolutionist takes the quantum leap and takes for granted that evolution has occurred. The letter continues, “… all the various stages in the evolution of the eye still exist today.” But that is only one way of interpreting the evidence. That is not proof. A creationist could just as easily say that “all the various kinds of eyes God created still exist today.”
But then the evolutionist clouds the issue even further. He concludes his short reply, “By looking at [all the varieties of eyes in] the living world, then, we can easily see how something as complex as the eye could evolve.”
Notice that! “Could evolve.” Is he claiming it did evolve that way? Is he claiming that if you line up all existing eyes in the living world in order of complexity, from the light-sensitive spots to the human eye, that the arrangement would show how the eye evolved? No, he is not. He would be laughed out of the laboratory by his fellow evolutionists.
Why? Because if you line up all living creatures in an order based solely on the complexity of their eyes — from simple eyes to complex eyes — the position of the creatures themselves in such a lineup would be out of conformity with the “evolutionary tree.”
The statement, then, that by looking at all the different eyes “we can easily see how something as complex as the eye could evolve” implies what evolution itself cannot support. Yet this type of reasoning — even in textbooks — misleads many people.
When all is said and done, we are still left with the question, how did the different eyes develop if they were not created?
The Creator’s Credentials
The realm of the physical sciences confines itself to what can be experimented with, observed, measured and weighed — the physical, material universe. While many scientists including evolutionists — may allow for the possible existence of God, most freely admit they do not allow belief in the spiritual to affect their theories. They pride themselves in their powers of inductive reasoning. But they leave out data from an entire dimension — the spiritual. Why? Because they cannot quantify it — measure it. There is, then, a built-in anti-supernatural bias in most scientific reasoning.
It is no wonder science never even claims to have the truth! Rather, its avowed goal is only to find a closer approximation to “truth.” Significantly, the Bible describes as one of the characteristics of our times that some would be “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (II Tim. 3:7).
Jesus Christ promised his followers, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). He meant spiritual truth, certainly. But not exclusively. He also meant truth concerning even a physical matter that affects one’s worship and perception of the true God.
Some have suggested that The Plain Truth should not take a position in the evolution versus creation question. The realm of science, it is claimed, should be kept separate from religion.
Where science sticks to the facts in areas such as chemistry, physics or mathematics, there is no argument. But when human beings depart from strict observation and measurement of physical laws and begin to theorize and interpret evidence erroneously, when they ignore an entire dimension of evidence — the spiritual — when they seek to take away the credentials of God the Creator and Lifegiver, then it is they who have encroached upon the realm of the spiritual, and not vice versa!
The credentials of the true Creator God set him apart from all gods. One day the apostle Paul confronted a crowd of idolators and admonished them to worship the real God. Which one? The “living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein” (Acts 14:15). That is how God is identified.
On another occasion Paul was standing amid lifeless idols worshiped in ancient Athens. But Paul didn’t worship those gods. He worshiped the real God. How did Paul identify this one true God and distinguish him from gods humans had made? Listen to Paul! “God that made the world and all things therein… he is Lord of heaven and earth…” (Acts 17:24).
The theory of evolution attempts to strip the Almighty Creator God of those credentials, making him little different from impotent idols, the works of men’s hands! That is why The Plain Truth cannot remain silent.
To demonstrate God is the Creator, we don’t have to produce lengthy volumes detailing all the proofs. The evidence is already available. It — is everywhere. It is beneath our feet, in stratified deposits. It is all around us, in everything we can see, hear, touch, taste and feel. It is above us, stretching out incalculable numbers of light years into space. It has been gathered by geologists, biologists, paleontologists, astronomers. It has been written up in countless volumes. One needs only to separate erroneous interpretation from measurable facts.
Whereas scientists who acknowledge God as Creator can look at the physical evidence and see God’s handiwork-brilliant, imaginative, colorful, sometimes even humorous-evolutionists look at the same evidence and try to construct a workable godless theory. Those who understand the true account of creation simply give God credit for his workmanship and marvel at what he has done and at the ultimate purpose of life; evolutionists have to contend with an idea whose mechanism they cannot explain and which is purposeless.
It all boils down to a matter of rejecting the false and unscientific, traditional explanation of creation and accepting the true biblical record of creation (this makes all the evidence explainable), or rejecting God as Creator (in which case faith in some form of evolution, with all of its difficulties, is the only — and erroneous — alternative).
Why not look at all dimensions of knowledge — including the most important?