Darwin’s Delusion: Why I Believe in Creation
November 5, 1995
To many modern thinkers this sermon would seem incredible, like a relic of the Dark Ages, a living fossil, a sermon that might have been preached during the Colonial Era but not at the end of the twentieth century. For I propose to assert several things in this sermon: First, that the universe was created by the hand of God, just as the Bible says, and second, that evolution and Christianity are fundamentally incompatible.
It is that second proposition that seems astounding. Can there actually be anyone today who seriously doubts the truth of human evolution? Hear the words of several world-class scientists and educators:
Evolution itself has long since passed out of the field of scientific controversy. There is no other subject on which scientific opinion is so unanimous. It is the one great truth we surely know. William Patten, Dartmouth College
The proofs of evolution are not merely adequate. They are overwhelming. Gordon Alexander, University of Colorado
There is no rival hypothesis except the outworn and completely refuted idea of special creation, now retained only by the ignorant, the dogmatic, and the prejudiced. Horatio Hockett Newman, University of Chicago
Such sentiments could be multiplied. In the face of statements like that, why preach this sermon? Why expose myself to public ridicule? If we doubt evolution, why not just keep quiet about it?
Why Not Keep Quiet?
It’s simply not true that scientific opinion is unanimous in favor of evolution.
There are several answers to that question. First, it’s simply not true that scientific opinion is unanimous in favor of evolution. In fact, it’s not even true that there is one universally-accepted theory of evolution. Darwin’s theory of natural selection is now widely questioned, even by those who claim to be evolutionists. Today there are a variety of evolutionary theories, many of which are directly contradictory to one another.
Second, we all need to know where we stand. People will ask you what you believe and you need to be ready to give a solid answer. After all, the Bible does teach something very specific about the origin of the universe. You cannot dodge the issue if you are a Christian.
Third, the church should never be afraid of controversy. Jesus wasn’t. He stood toe-to-toe with the leading authorities of his day and called them hypocrites, evildoers and rotting corpses. He didn’t try to win any popularity contests or curry favor with the powers-that-be, and neither should we. I’m sure all agree that we don’t need to stir up trouble, but we don’t need to run from it either.
Fourth, when all the evidence is fairly considered, you will discover that a very solid case can be made for believing in the creation accounts in Genesis 1-11. Furthermore, after all the smoke is cleared, you will find that the case for evolution rests on unfounded assumptions. The evolutionists are long on theory and short on hard evidence.
With that as background, let’s briefly consider four approaches to the problem of the Bible and modern science.
I. Four Approaches to the Problem
1. Use Science to disprove the Bible.
This is the approach of the skeptic, the rationalist, the agnostic, the atheist, and everyone who believes that science can unlock all the secrets of the universe. It elevates science to the status of a religion and makes scientists a kind of secular priesthood. These were the radicals of the nineteenth century who cheered Charles Darwin because they understood that his work undermined the foundation of the Christian church. They are the people who today dismiss the Bible as a work of fiction and Christians as superstitious dupes.
The church should never be afraid of controversy.
2. Reinterpret the Bible to harmonize with evolution.
Many liberals use this approach because it allows them to call themselves Christian while sparing them the embarrassment of having to literally believe the creation account in Genesis. Unfortunately, this approach is becoming all-too-popular in certain evangelical circles, where Genesis 1 is seen as poetry or as a “creation song” and Adam and Eve simply stand as symbols for humanity and not a literal man and a literal woman, the first two human beings on earth. Harmonizers tend not to take the story of Noah’s flood literally–seeing it either as a local flood or as a metaphor for God’s judgment on human sin–and for that matter, they believe that accurate biblical history begins at Genesis 12, not Genesis 1:1.
There is no final conflict between the Bible rightly interpreted and the facts of science rightly understood
3. Separate the Bible and Science completely.
Here is another way that Christians have dealt with the problem. It’s the “out of sight, out of mind” approach. Rather than face the problem squarely, they assume that the Bible is true and that evolution is true, but they can’t see how to make it all fit, so they compartmentalize their faith. Related to this is the view that “Oh well, it doesn’t matter whether God created us directly or through evolution. He could have done it either way.” That of course is a dangerous half-truth. The issue is not, What could God have done? (because God could have done anything he chose to do) but rather What did God actually do? And are we willing to believe it or we will kowtow to secular scientists?
4. Begin with the Bible because it is absolute truth.
This is the historic Christian position. While recognizing the many great discoveries of modern science, we refuse to give secular scientists the final word on how the universe came to be and how human life developed on the earth. Francis Schaeffer stated it well when he said that when all the facts are finally in, we will discover that there is no final conflict between the Bible rightly interpreted and the facts of science rightly understood (see his No Final Conflict for further discussion).
II. Problems With Evolution
In this section I would like to sketch out three of the most obvious problems with the theory of evolution. For those desiring more information, I recommend Darwin On Trial by Phillip E. Johnson, published by InterVarsity Press. Mr. Johnson is a renowned legal school at the University of California, Berkeley. His work subjects the customary evolutionary arguments to the scrutiny of the rules of evidence in a court of law. The result is a devastating refutation of evolutionary claims. He recently published a sequel–Reason In the Balance–that shows the inevitable negative consequences when “philosophic naturalism” rules in any society.
Evolution is the belief that “all organisms had parents.”
It is important that we understand what is meant by the term “evolution.” In this sermon it refers to the belief that all life on earth has developed from nonliving matter and has progressed from simplicity to complexity over time. Tom Bethell offers a simple four-word definition: Evolution is the belief that “all organisms had parents.” Evolution in this sense is much different from the natural development within species through crossbreeding (i.e. different varieties of birds, cats, dogs and fish). After all, a dog is still a dog, a cat is still a cat, regardless of what breed they may be. Such natural development within a given species has nothing to do with the theory of evolution discussed in this sermon.
1. The Fossil Record
You may have been taught that the fossil record proves evolution. However, fossils by themselves prove nothing at all. Since Fossils don’t exist in the past, only in the present, some meaning must be attached to them. No one disputes that millions of fossils have been collected all over the earth. But what do they signify? Since the theory of evolution depends on the concept of transitional forms between various kinds of living creatures–from reptiles to birds, from fish to land animals, from dogs to horses, from monkeys to men–you would expect that the fossil record would be filled with examples of “half-frog, half-bird” creatures, or fish that walk on land, or dogs that look like horses, and so on. But what do you find? Just the opposite. Well over 99% of all fossils represent examples of known living creatures. Absence of transitional forms is striking.(For a detailed discussion of the fossil record, see Darwin on Trial, Chapter 4, “The Fossil Record.”)
Well over 99% of all fossils represent examples of known living creatures.
2. The Second Law of Thermodynamics
In layman’s terms, the Second Law states that in a closed system, energy tends to move from order to disorder. Without additional energy, everything in the universe moves from complexity to simplicity to random chaos. Clocks run down, clothes wear out, our bodies grow old, and our hair falls out. What happens when you don’t mow your grass? It doesn’t mow itself. Your yard turns into a jungle.
But evolution supposes that somehow the Second Law has been suspended so that things will develop from chaos to simplicity to complexity. This quite simply contradicts everything we know about the universe as it exists today. The universe is running down, our sun is running down, our natural resources are not being renewed, the earth itself cannot last forever.
3. The Laws of Probability
Evolution in its purest form relies on two things for its proof: time and the immutable laws of chance. Given enough time, the evolutionists say, anything can happen. That’s why the evolutionists “need” billions of years. Everyone agrees that evolution can’t be seen because it happens too slowly. Therefore, the only rational way to maintain belief in evolution is to keep pushing time back a hundred million years here and a hundred million years there. Pretty soon you’ve got five billion or ten billion or twenty billion years. That should be long enough to accommodate the amazing series of mutations, chance variations, and ever-so-slow adaptations that take place over thousands of generations.
Consider the testimony of George Wald, late Professor of Biology, Harvard University:
Time is in fact the hero of the plot. The time with which we have to deal is of the order of two billion years. What we regard as impossible on the basis of human experience is meaningless here. Given so much time, the “impossible” becomes possible, the possible probable, and the probable virtually certain. One only has to wait: time itself performs the miracles.
That’s why I say that time is the god of the evolutionists. Without billions of years, their theory can’t work. However, there isn’t enough time, not even with 20 billion years. Dr. James Coppedge, director of the Center for Probability Research in Biology, applied all the laws of probability to the possibility of a single cell coming into existence by chance. First, he computed an entire world in which all the elements were equally available all the time. Then he had the amino acids combine at a rate one and one-half trillion times faster than they do in nature. In computing the possibilities, he found that to form a single protein molecule by chance would take 10262 years. Most of us do not have any idea what that means. To get the smallest human cell would take 10,119,841 years. That means that if you took pieces of paper and wrote 1 followed by zeroes, you would fill up the entire known universe with paper before you could even write the number! That is how many years it would take to form just the tiniest living cell by chance.
Time is the god of the evolutionists.
Noted astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle commented that the chance that higher life forms might have emerged through evolutionary processes is comparable with the chance that “a tornado sweeping through a junk yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the material therein.”
Don’t Teach It In High School
A few years ago Dr. Colin Patterson, senior Paleontologist at the British Natural History Museum, lectured at the American Museum of Natural History in Washington. In the course of his remarks, he shared many of his own doubts about the evidence that supposedly proves evolution. Then he uttered these remarkable words:
Can you tell me anything you know about evolution, any one thing …that is true? I tried that question on the geology staff at the Field Museum of Natural History and the only answer I got was silence. I tried it on the member of the Evolutionary Morphology seminar in the University of Chicago, a very prestigious body of evolutionists, and all I got there was silence for a long time and eventually one person said, “I do know one thing–it ought not to be taught in high school.”
III. What We Learn From Hebrews 11:3
With that we turn to Hebrews 11:3, which seems to me to be one of the most important verses in the Bible on the subject of evolution and creation, even though it is often overlooked. “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that which is seen was not made out of what was visible.”
First, the universe bears evidence of God’s design. It was formed or “framed” (as the King James Version puts it) at God’s command. The Greek verb is katarizo, which means to put things together in a way which perfectly fits them for an appointed purpose. The word is in the perfect tense, which describes past action with continuing results. That is why we can look at the beauty of the world around us and know that God created it by his all-powerful word.
And God Said
Second, the universe came into existence by God’s command. That is why eight times in Genesis 1 you find the phrase “and God said.” He spoke and light shined through the darkness. He spoke and the waters receded from the earth. He spoke and dry land appeared. He spoke and vegetation appeared. He spoke and the sun filled the sky by day and millions of stars twinkled by night. He spoke and the sea teemed with fish and birds began to fly. He spoke and cattle grazed, squirrels gathered hickory nuts, otters frolicked in the streams, and the kangaroo began hopping across the outback. Finally, he spoke again and created Adam. He breathed into him the breath of life and Adam became a living soul. When Adam got lonely, God took a rib from his side and created Eve. Thus did the human race begin.
Up From the Ooze
You may argue that what I have just said is fanciful, but is it far less fanciful and far more noble than the billions of years needed for lightning to strike the primordial soup thus creating amino acids and proteins that eventually strung themselves together to create the compounds needed to produce the tiniest form of life, which across millions of years, through blind fate, trial and error, natural selection and random mutation, became a multi-cellular organism floating through the bubbling ooze of the earliest oceans. From that organism came another and another, and millions of years later, a random mutation produced a shadowy skeleton that hardened over the generations into a bony structure that, within a few million years, began to develop feet, which one day walked out of the ocean onto dry land, creating the reptiles and the amphibians, which evolved millions of years later into birds in one branch of the family tree and mammals in the other branch. Those early mammals first ate only vegetation but within a few million years learned to eat each other. Somehow, a few million years ago in some forgotten gulch in Africa or maybe it was the Fertile Crescent or perhaps in Asia, an animal was born that stood upright. She was “Lucy,” the mother of all humans. Though she looked like an ape, she was really one of us, and from her developed all the various branches of monkeys, apes, orangutans, gorillas, and in one fortuitous twig of the tree, semi-humans developed, who over a couple of million years became the Neanderthals, the cave people, the first true humans, and from them came the first crude, undeveloped emerging civilizations of Africa and the Middle East and Europe, small tribes of hunters who lived in mud huts and about 100,000 years ago, learned how to play with fire. They also learned how to kill and cook and eat, but not how to read and write. That would come much later, really only a few thousand years ago. When man learned to write, he began to compose fantasies about his past. That’s where you get the legend of Adam and Eve.
You cannot “prove” creation solely by studying present processes.
You are free to believe whichever version you like, but I suggest that it takes more faith to believe in the many miracles needed for evolution to be true than it does to believe in the simple grandeur of the creation account in Genesis 1.
The Bible says that God spoke and the universe came into being. Perhaps you’ve seen that T-shirt that says, “I believe in the Big Bang Theory. God spoke and Bang! It happened.” That strikes me as a perfectly biblical statement.
Blind to the Truth
Third, present processes cannot explain the origin of the universe. Hebrews 11:3 explicitly says that God created the universe from things that are not visible. That means that modern science can never fully explain the mystery of the original moment of creation. This stands forever as a rebuke to the overweening arrogance of modern scientists who in concocting their theories hope to attempt to explain God away. They can no more explain creation than a blind man can explain the color green. They are morally blind, spiritually blind and thus scientifically blind to the truth of God the Creator.
This truth cuts both ways. You cannot “prove” creation solely by studying present processes. If you could, then no one would be an evolutionist. You can, however, see the abundant evidence all around you.
Each individual must make a personal choice. You may choose to ignore the evidence, suppress the truth and become and evolutionist. Or you may choose to see the hand of God at work in the world and believe that God created all things by the word of his power.
IV. Important Principles to Remember
1. Neither creation nor evolution can be ultimately proved because both are statements of personal faith.
Evolution is a faith just like creation is a faith. Both rest upon certain facts and also certain assumptions about the universe. That helps us understand why some people get so angry when you question evolution: You are really questioning their religion, and no one likes that.
Evolution is a faith just like creation is a faith.
So my advice to you is, Be bold about what you believe but don’t be surprised if people get angry at you. And don’t get angry back. Just present your faith in God the Creator and then smile. You don’t need to get in an argument because you can’t argue people into the kingdom of God.
2. Evolution as a worldview is fundamentally incompatible with the Christian faith.
Thomas Huxley, a rabble-rousing scientific contemporary of Darwin who was called Darwin’s Bulldog, put this matter this way: “It is clear that the doctrine of evolution is directly antagonistic to that of Creation …Evolution, if consistently accepted, makes it impossible to believe the Bible.”
Here is an explanation–from an atheist!–of the reason Christians must reject evolution:
Christianity is–must be!–totally committed to the special creation described in Genesis, and Christianity must fight with its full might, fair or foul, against the theory of evolution… . It becomes clear now that the whole justification of Jesus’ life and death is predicated on the existence of Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit he and Eve ate. With the original sin, who needs to be redeemed? Without Adam’s fall into a life of constant sin, terminated by death, what purpose is there to Christianity? None.(C. Richard Bozarth, The American Atheist, September 1978, p. 19. Cited in Ken Ham, The Lie: Evolution, Master Books, 1987, p. 74.)
This week I’ve been reading a fascinating book called The Darwin Legend by James Moore. In it he debunks the legend that Charles Darwin converted to Christ on his deathbed, a rumor that has circulated since shortly after he died in 1882. The truth is, he was raised in the Christian faith but gave it up at an early age, in part because his evolutionary speculations led him away from the Bible. Toward the end of his life, he openly said that he no longer believed in God or in the existence of heaven or hell. His last words were, “I am not in the least afraid to die.” Although he was given a Christian burial in Westminster Abbey, he was no Christian.
Let me state the matter directly. It is not possible to combine evolution and Christianity in any form, although some people try. Theistic evolution is nothing more than a vain attempt to join together two things which are forever separated.
3. Three words summarize the biblical teaching regarding where we come from: created, not evolved.
We should teach that simple statement to our children. Let them learn that they were created and that they did not evolve. Then when they are older and are exposed to evolutionary ideas in the school system, let them learn to give the required answers on the biology test and then write at the bottom of the paper “created, not evolved.” The same is true for our college and university students. Nothing is more fundamental than that our young people should be fortified with the majestic biblical truth that they were created by God and are not the products of blind evolution.
Three words summarize the biblical teaching regarding where we come from: created, not evolved.
4. Faith begins at Genesis 1:1.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” You either believe that or you don’t. If you doubt that, you can’t believe anything else in the Bible. If you believe it, you can believe anything else the Bible says.
We are not free to pick and choose which parts of the Bible we want to believe. You can’t say, “Well, I’ll start at Psalm 23 because it touches my soul.” But the Lord who is the Divine Shepherd of Psalm 23 is the God who created the heavens and the earth in Genesis 1:1. By the same token, you can decide to accept John 3:16 without also accepting Genesis 1:1 because the God who so loved the world is the same God who created it in the first place.
Faith begins at Genesis 1:1.
Some people say that it’s hard to believe God created the world. To the contrary, it is the easiest thing in the world to believe. Just open your eyes and look around. Do you believe that the world in all its beauty, order and complexity happened by chance? Do you believe that the stars simply happened to evolve over billions of years?
The truth is, the knowledge of God is natural to us. That’s why little children aren’t atheists. We’re born with the knowledge of God implanted in us. Adults have to work hard to become atheists and evolutionists.
Light from God steams in on every side. You have shut your eyes to keep from seeing it.
Three Great Questions
But that leads to one final point: Since the universe as it is rests on God’s “understanding,” no one can understand the universe properly without a knowledge of God. If you leave God out, you’ve missed the fundamental truth about the universe! That means that in order to understand human origins and the true history of the universe, we must begin–not with the vain speculations of science–but with God’s understanding as He has revealed it to us in His word. Start there and you start on firm ground. Start anywhere else and you sink into the quicksand of humanistic unbelief.
This touches on the need for a truly Christian education. No one can know the universe and the answers to the great questions of life without also knowing God. There are three great questions of life:
Where did I come from?
Why am I here?
Where am I going?
The first question is the most fundamental. Until you answer it, you cannot answer the last two properly. If you think that you evolved up from the slime, if you believe that you arrived on the earth by chance as the result of blind evolution over millions and billions of years, if you believe that you are the product of an evolutionary stream that that started when a bolt of lightning hit the primordial soup in the dim reaches of the distant past, if that is what you believe about yourself, then truly you don’t know where you came from or why you are here or where you are going.
Light from God steams in on every side. You have shut your eyes to keep from seeing it.
Praise God, we know! Praise God he has revealed the truth about the universe. He made it by his understanding. He formed it by His Word. He spoke and the universe came into being.
Truly, “the heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1, KJV).
Many people don’t know what I am about to tell you. When the Presbyterians built what we call the West Wing, they added an observatory on top of the building. Most people have never seen it, and since the 2003 renovations closed the winding metal staircase, most people will never see it. Before the renovations the only way to get there was by entering through a locked door near the stage, then up a winding metal staircase, then through another padlocked door that took you to an enclosure on the roof. But there it is–an observatory with a telescope stand, and a circular metal roof that opens to the sky just like the round roof of the Adler Planetarium. It looks like it hasn’t been used for about 40 years. As far as I know, we’re the only church in Oak Park with an observatory. People wonder why they built an observatory into a church building. I know the answer to that question. Those godly Presbyterians understood that the study of the stars leads you back to God–not away from him.
No Kangaroos In My Family Tree
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” So the Bible teaches, and so we believe.
That means that God created me. I am not an accident or an oversight. I am not product of impersonal time and chance. I am not the great-grandson of a gorilla or second cousin to a kangaroo or even the brother-in-law to a baboon.
When God put the world together, he put me in it, just the way I am, just where I am, just who I am. He fashioned my arms, molded my bones, and knitted me together in my mother’s womb. He made me nearsighted, long-legged, with blue eyes, brown hair, and a Southern accent. He put inside me a passionate craving for pizza, chicken-fried steak and the Chicago Bulls.
I am not the great-grandson of a gorilla or second cousin to a kangaroo or even the brother-in-law to a baboon.
In short, God made me just the way I am. I’m a designer original, one of a kind, a limited edition of one, as unique as any snowflake that ever fell to the earth.
And so is everyone who reads these words. Because God made you, you fit in. You belong here. And God has a plan for your life.
All of that comes from the doctrine of creation.
Standing Before the Creator
The truth is that God made you and me. One day we will all stand before him and give an account of our lives. The Bible tells us that all of us have individually broken God’s law and sinned against him. Each of us are guilty in his eyes. If we are judged on our own merits, we will be condemned to eternal punishment.
That means we have no hope except in the mercy and grace that has been shown us through the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible teaches us that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
One day you will stand before your Creator, the one who made you in his own image. If you are trusting in your morality, your goodness, your piety or your religion, you will not make it. Your only hope is to run to the cross and to embrace Jesus Christ by faith as your Savior and Lord.
Have you ever done that?
God’s claim on us is this :
He made us … and we ran away from him
He loved us … and we paid no attention to him
He sent his Son to die for us … and we never knew it.
He wants us to come back to him … and we must do something about it.
If you want to know the God who created you, you can. He’s done everything necessary for you to have a relationship with him. He gave his Son to die on the cross and then he raised him from the dead. He’s waiting for you to make the next move.
What are you going to do about it?