Lesson 12

Darwinian Evolution explains human existence; we don’t need a Creation

What once was an easy starting point for Christian evangelism is now under attack by many in the scientific establishment. The Bible begins its message with the account of Creation. Creation is what makes us need the Bible’s message. God made us. We are accountable to him. If we have turned from him, we are under judgment and needy of a Savior. When Paul preached Christ in Athens, he stressed that there was one God who had created all people. “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands... From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places they should live” (Acts 17:24-26).

Paul continues, explaining that because God made all people, we are all accountable to seek him and ripe for judgment because of our idolatry. Creation marks the starting point for the good news of Jesus Christ. People are responsible to God because God made them. But Creation is under attack today by many in the Darwinian establishment. How do Christians respond to the allegation that Darwinism has made creation an unnecessary assumption?

1. Darwinian evolution was not a factual scientific discovery.

In 1859, Charles Darwin published his book On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection and introduced into the western world the theory of macroevolution, of the evolution of all life from a single-celled organism, which itself would have evolved from non-living matter.

2. Life cannot come from non-life.

The biggest problem with evolutionary science lies in evolution’s very first step. The probability of even one of the simplest single-celled organisms developing from non-living matter has been calculated at one chance in 10100,000,000,000. I have no clue how they got this number, but needless to say the chances are effectively zero. Even if this estimate of probability is significantly off, non-living matter simply could not have turned into a living being—even a simple living being—no matter how spicy the primordial soup was.

And this statistic was calculated under ideal controlled conditions. How much more impossible would naturalistic evolution have been with human beings—not just single-celled organisms—and that under thoroughly un-ideal circumstances! Naturalistic evolution simply could never have happened—a conclusion an increasing number of non-Christians are beginning to realize.

3. Mutants aren’t progress.

Mainstream evolutionists claim that the variations between species are the result of a process of natural selection whereby small mutations in the parent species over time add up to major differences—birds from reptiles, or mammals from fish. The problem with this logic is that it could only work if the entire change occurred at once. There are extreme limitations on the positive effects of mutations—mutations almost always end in sterile and weak animals that quickly die off. Natural selection is unable to provide a mechanism for evolutionary changes as large as new organs or new species in higher life forms

For natural selection to work, each tiny change must itself produce a positive benefit that helps it—and not the parent line of the species—win out in the struggle to survive. The appearance of an eyeball, for example, would have had to include hundreds of individual mutations over time that would have eventually resulted in a complete eye. But what good is 5% of an eye? 5% of an eye does not give you even 5% vision—it is a useless mutation. What good is a fish with 7% of a lung? Or stubby, bumpy appendages that might one day evolve into legs? Such mutations would serve only as limitations. A small animal gradually developing wings would first have to develop proto-wings. Such forelimbs would likely become awkward for life on the ground long before they became helpful for gliding or flying.

4. Biochemical complexity trumps appearance-based claims.

Often people have tried to pull the comparative morphology card on me. Comparative morphology is a fancy name for “look sort of alike”. It goes like this. Examine the appearance of a chimpanzee in the womb, and compare that with the appearance of a human in the womb. We look a lot alike. This kind of argument was more impressive before the molecular revolution of the 1960s. Now we can examine the chimp’s and the baby’s DNA, and there are lots of differences. Sure, some will add, there is a 99% genetic similarity between all primates. But that 1% is huge. And those percentages refer only to the appearance of the placement of the chemical “letters”—they don’t even hint at the vast difference in genetic content afforded by those letters. Mere biological and physical similarity between living species does not necessarily imply common ancestry—it could imply a common Creator. Demonstrating that a similarity exists does not demonstrate how that similarity came to be.

And the molecular revolution has demonstrated the incredible complexity of living systems at the molecular level. At the biochemical level, one finds a complex world of instruments comprised of innumerable interdependent and finely adjusted pieces. These manifold elements collaborate within carefully balanced systems. To alter even the tiniest part of any of these systems results in failure and death. There are natural limits to biological change, and the level of interdependence demonstrated by the various systems of life make evolution a biochemical impossibility. The various mutations within Darwin’s proposal would each have had to result in a working and balanced system. Indeed, as Michael Behe has argued in Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, each species can only tolerate a very limited degree of evolution, regardless of the length of time involved. Each species has an irreducible complexity that prohibits change at the species level or higher.

5. The only hard evidence—the fossil record—supports creation, not evolution.

“If we exclude the possibility of creation, then obviously man must have evolved from an ape-like creature. But if he did, there is no evidence of it in the fossil record.”

Notice that Zuckerman accepts evolution, not because there is evidence for it, but because he cannot accept the only alternative—creation!

6. Punctuated Equilibrium is a cop-out for a failed theory.

The lack of hard evidence for Darwinism has led to the development of the theory of punctuated equilibrium. Punctuated equilibrium is a theory that suggests that species do exist in a condition of stasis. Evolution takes place in rapid spurts so quickly as to leave no evidence. This enables evolutionary science to continue without the need for empirical verification. The theory’s more ardent proponents have even suggested that one species lays an egg and a radically different species hatches—the hopeful monster theory—such that missing links are not needed.

This is a convenient theory, since it would permit the fossil record to look just like creationists said it would look a century before punctuated equilibrium was first suggested! This is no longer science, but (atheistic) religion. Science deals with empirically verifiable facts and observations. Punctuated equilibrium was developed to justify a formerly verifiable theory after its verification failed. Punctuated equilibrium cannot verify itself—it argues from a lack of supporting data, an argument from silence.

7. Christians seek to synthesize science & Scripture (3 attempts).

Does this position take Genesis 1-2 seriously? I think it does. The immediate context implies that the days of Genesis 1 are not 24-hour days, Genesis 2:4 referring to all seven days in the Hebrew as one day. These are anthropomorphic days (describing God's activity in human terms). God is pictured as the Great Potter, “forming” man out of dirt, “breathing” into man. Like a potter, God is pictured as creating during the day and resting from that work during the night (between evening and morning). This appears to be the main point to the language of “days.” The Hebrew word “day” (yom) can mean either what we speak of when we use the term “day” or an unspecified period of time, as in Job 20:28, Ps. 20:1, Pr. 11:4; 24:10; 25:13; and Ecc. 7:14.

Remember: our literal reading of Scripture does not mean that we fail to recognize literary aspects of a passage. The literary structure of Genesis 1 may indicate that the strictly literalistic reading may not be intended, since the text has a strongly poetic quality and structure. The chapter is organized around God's forming and God's filling His universe, days that are parallel:

DAYS OF FORMING   

   

DAYS OF FILLING

Day 1: Light & darkness separated   

   

Day 4: Sun, moon & stars

Day 2: Sky & waters separated   

Day 5: Fish & birds

Day 3: Land (with plants) & seas separated   

 

Day 6: Animals & man

 

Text Box: Major Evolutionary Views and the Fossil Record
Each box illustrates what pattern the perspective would expect to see in the fossil record.  Each line represents a species. Notice the similarities between the 2 views on the right.

The fossil record reveals the abrupt appearance of the various species over many hundreds of millions of years, followed by their extinction. The fossil record does not reveal a gradual transformation of one species into another—as traditional Darwinism would postulate. Indeed, we simply cannot trace the ancestry of a species from one general type of animal to another.

But—assuming modern dating techniques have at least some level of accuracy—the fossil record does not reveal the abrupt appearance of all species at the same time, as the young earth creationist approach has proposed. Still, the appearance of any given species would appear to be abrupt, rather than gradual—data that could fit either a punctuated equilibrium evolutionary model or an old earth creationist model. Still, punctuated equilibrium, a theory developed to cover the embarrassing lack of evidence for Darwinism, has trouble on biological grounds. The total lack of fossil evidence for radical evolutionary changes would require a nearly immediate and total evolution within one generation—a process perhaps possible for some simple organisms, but far exceeding the natural limits of biological change in more highly developed organisms.