Creation God's Way
Did God create Adam out of dust, and Eve out of Adam's rib? This seems very far-fetched!

Juan asks: did Created more People beides Adam and Eve ? just wonder because in genesis says God created man and woman and put them in the World and told them to multiply then later said He Created Adam and put him in Eden
Question about A General Question: Creation or evolution?
Motivation - Curiosity: Sincere curiosity
Bible view - The Word of God - [question 166, Friday, 03-Jan-2014]

Creation God's Way

There are three basic choices:

1. Assume God fashioned Adam out of dust and then made Eve from Adam's rib, and the entire human race descended from these two parents. This may seem far-fetched.

2. Assume natural forces acted on mixtures of inanimate compounds and gave rise to simple lifeforms, and the entire human race evolved from these simple lifeforms. This, also, may seem far-fetched.

3. Choose not to think about questions such as the origin of life or creation vs. evolution.

If you are still hanging around choice 3, we encourage you to think it through until you home in on either choice 1 or 2. Both are a matter of faith, which the Bible clearly acknowledges (Hebrews 11:3, below). Choice 3 is a wimp-out, even though it is chosen by millions of people worldwide.

This article is designed for people who have not made up their minds about origins, creation, or evolution. These are not open-and-shut issues. You must consider the evidence and then render your own verdict as a jury in a court of law, that is, beyond a reasonable doubt. Pondering questions about the origin of life, Bible creation, and secular evolution causes you to address issues that are much more important than choices 1 and 2 above. Consider, for instance, questions that can shape a young person's life, or help older people work through tough decisions, such as:

  • About God
    • Does God exist?
    • Do things happen randomly?
    • Is Bible-based faith separate from natural science?
  • About mankind
    • Is the human race special?
    • Am I morally accountable to a higher power?
    • Should the Bible influence my behavior?
  • About the Bible
    • How should I interpret the Bible?

If you are not prepared to address questions like these, simply skip this article. But if you want to explore such matters in a biblical context, please read on. We answer each of these questions in the 'Summary' section. The book of Hebrews says:

By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.
- Hebrews 11:3 [NASB]

Of what kind of faith does Hebrews speak? At one time, during the Dark Ages, it was blind, religious faith. But we are not in the Dark Ages today. We have science which has magnificently revealed God's handiwork in all of His creation. According to this Wikipedia page, Sir Isaac Newton, perhaps the world's greatest scientist, 'saw God as masterful creator whose existence could not be denied in the face of creation.'

Genesis and Its Chronology

The book of Genesis is so cool. Every Bible doctrine of both the Old and New Testaments appears in Genesis in embryonic form. If we inspect the Genesis account of creation we find a dual parallel structure.

  • First Account: The Universe

    1. Six creation days (Sunday through Friday)
    2. Creation of mankind in God's image (Genesis 1:26)
    3. God's first covenant with men and women (Genesis 1:28ff)
    4. Sabbath day (Saturday)

  • Second Account: Men and Women

    1. Creation of Adam from dust (Genesis 2:7)
    2. The garden of Eden
    3. Making of woman from Adam's rib (Genesis 1:21ff)
    4. Institution of marriage (Genesis 1:24)
    5. The first sin (Genesis 3:1ff)
    6. The bad consequences of sin
    7. The promise of redemption from sin's curse (Genesis 3:15)

adam and eve in the garden with the serpent
Adam and Eve appear in the second creation account. Before that they are seen only as 'mankind.'

Trying to interpret the first chapters of Genesis as one long sequence in time leads to all sorts of problems. These are the problems Juan points out in his question. Instead, the Bible passages make perfect sense when seen as two parallel accounts, the first focusing on the universe and the second on mankind.

The second creation account sets the stage for the biblical narrative. It addresses men and women, not the the natural universe. The Bible is a book about human relationships and human morality. It is not a science textbook or a philosophical essay. The creation story is presented in two parts, with more detail and emphasis given to the important second part. In fact, the second part ends with God's promise of a solution to man's sin problem (Genesis 3:15), and the entire remainder of the Bible concentrates on this Solution: His name is Jesus Christ.

Literary Framework of Genesis 1 - The dual parallel structure of the creation account is elegantly previewed in its first part, which itself has a dual parallel structure. Interpreting the six days of creation as one long sequence in time leads to all sorts of problems. For instance, light is created first, then the sun three days later. It makes no sense until you see the dual parallel structure:

  • First Account: Forming the Universe

    1. Light and darkness separated
    2. Sky and waters separated
    3. Dry land and seas separated

  • Second Account: Filling the Universe

    1. Sun, moon, and stars
    2. Fish and birds
    3. Animals and mankind

The Stuff of the Universe

The three components of the physical universe are space, time, and energy or matter.
Only three fundamental components make up the physical universe.

The Physical Universe - When someone studies the universe as a whole, its beginnings, dimensions, characteristics, and ultimate end, he or she is called a cosmologist (not a cosmetologist, who deals with beauty treatment). Modern cosmologists agree that the physical universe is made up of three basic components:

  • Space
  • Time
  • Energy or Matter

Space, strange as it may seem, is not simple emptiness. Space is a physical thing, like time, energy, and matter, and it has physical characteristics. For instance, physicists tell us that space can be bent and stretched, which is pretty amazing to us regular folks. Not only that, Einstein proved that energy and matter are interchangeable, as expressed in his famous equation E = mc^2. Cosmology is heavy-duty thinking.

Back in Bible times, the science of cosmology had not advanced very far. So we don't expect to hear about the flexibility of space and the theory of relativity in the Bible. But we expect the Bible to be consistent with science, and so it is:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth ... And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
- Genesis 1:1ff [NASB]

It is not difficult to imagine scientists in Bible times calling space heaven and matter earth. Likewise Genesis 1:1 includes morning and evening as passage of time. So the three components of the physical universe, i.e., space, time, and energy or matter, are present in the first verse of the Bible. For that verse, at a minimum, the Bible is consistent with modern science.

The Spiritual Universe - In addition to the three components of the natural universe, the Bible talks about three components of a supernatural universe, and here the Bible and secular science differ. Unlike Newton, today's scientists often restrict their thinking to the natural, physical universe. There is no room for the supernatural in secular science.

According to the Bible, God created three components of a supernatural universe:

  • Divine Image
  • Eternity
  • Soul or Spirit

God's Divinity - On a supernatural level, God fills the universe. His 'incommunicable' attributes such as unchangeableness, timelessness, omnipresence, and omniscience, remind us how different He is compared to us. But there are many characteristics of the divine nature which we share. In fact, one of the most important scriptures in the creation story is Genesis 1:27, as follows:

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
- Genesis 1:27 [KJV]

This verse states clearly that men and women reflect God's divinity, at least to some extent. Attributes such as wisdom, compassion, truthfulness, faithfulness, love, abstract reasoning, mercy, acting counter to instinct, use of tools, spirituality, written communication, pursuit of happiness, righteousness, creativity, burying of dead, wrath, free will, art, music, humor, morality, rationality, trade, and a sense of beauty are 'supernatural' attributes that do not occur in other animals, only in mankind.

No animal will ever spend an hour in prayer or sit down to discuss the merits of bovine philosophy. Animals do not ask themselves what makes them different. Nor do god-like attributes occur to any extent in the 'natural' animal kingdom. Bestowing on mankind the ability to assimilate and reflect divine nature is an important component of the supernatural side of Bible creation.

God Created Time - The idea that God created time, but is separate from it, is seen in the Bible in several places, including the Genesis 'day' account (above), and the several 'I am' statements which separate God from time. We live in a universe with sequential progression of moments, but God is always in the present:

Then Moses said to God, 'Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you.' Now they may say to me, 'What is His name?' What shall I say to them?' God said to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM'; and He said, 'Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.''
- Exodus 3:13 [NASB]

God is eternal. What, then, is eternity? Most people think of eternity as an unending passage of time. But that's not it. God existed before the creation of space, time, matter and energy, in a different and separate kind of existence, a spiritual existence, an autonomous existence, and existence we call supernatural, above nature. Secular science subscribes to what it detects with human senses or rationalizes with the human mind. The Bible speaks of a world not directly detected by the senses: the invisible world of Colossians 1:16:

For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible ...
- Colossians 1:16 [NASB]

Components of the universe
Even though they have not yet answered the question of the origin of life, secular scientists see only three components of the universe. The Bible reports three additional components, one with the ability to produce life directly.

Spirit or Soul - The final component of the Bible's invisible universe is called spirit, or sometimes soul. It's the raw material which God used to make angels, demons, heavenly dwellings, and hellish abodes. When God breathed spirit into lifeless Adam, Adam lived.

Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
- Genesis 2:7 [NASB]

Abiogenesis - This simple explanation, that a 'spirit' component brings life to lifeless chemical matter, answers a big question facing scientists today: how did life begin? Instead of acknowledging some type of supernatural essence, that is, one not detected by human senses or concluded by human reasoning, as the spark of life, staunch evolutionists grasp for spontaneous generation. Rejection of the supernatural makes the irrational claim that nothing exists outside our own human capabilities. It is more rationale for a scientist to say 'I don't understand how life began, but I'm working on it' than to assert as fact 'Life began by itself.'

In the strict sense, theories of evolution do not address the basic existence of life. They address only how life changes over time. Scientists are developing theories of abiogenesis which describe natural processes by which life arose from non-living matter. Much work has been done. See, for example, this Wikipedia page. But so far no completely viable theories have emerged. Similarly, cosmogeny, the study of the origin of the Big Bang, has not yet devised testable theories.

Quenching Our Thirst for Knowledge

It seems human beings have a built-in thirst for knowledge. We get uncomfortable when we do not understand things that intrigue us. Lacking understanding, we often devise explanations that quench our thirst and alleviate mental discomfort. Until science arrived, there was no clear mechanism for testing these devised explanations. Now we have the scientific method which does just that. To address origins, Bible creation, and natural evolution, there are two sources of knowledge to draw on:

  • Bible-based faith
  • Natural science

It is easy to 'choose sides' and emphasize one over the other. Faith deals with invisible things (which, by the way, often produce visible effects) and science deals only with the visible. Many Bible believers discount science and many scientists discount faith. However, there is a good argument that says faith and science complement each other, and it takes both to formulate a complete view of the universe.

Bible-based Faith - One of our greatest thinkers, Albert Einstein, wrote in a 1941 proceedings:

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.

Einstein was not Christian, nor was he an observant Jew in the normal senses of these words, but he refused to eliminate religious faith when trying to quench his thirst for knowledge. He saw religious faith as age-old quest for knowledge. Einstein's view comes in-line with the Bible, which defines faith as follows:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
- Hebrews 11:1 [KJV]

Faith, then, provides concrete evidence of the unseen, supernatural world described so vividly in the Bible.

Natural Science - Science is new compared to religion. Modern science started in the late-1500s and is often attributed to the work of Galileo Galilei. Galileo used the scientific method to acquire new knowledge and correct previous knowledge, and he became famous in religious circles when he forcefully stated that the Earth revolves around the sun, not the other way around. The practicing Christian church, which was devoid of biblical enlightenment at that time, humiliated and punished Galileo for contradicting their interpretation of the Bible which, they believed, taught that the Earth was the center of the universe. Not until the Protestant Reformation, sparked and enabled by science and technology, did the apostate church acknowledge that Galileo was right all along.

The Scientific Method - The scientific method is an extremely powerful technique for uncovering knowledge. It has several steps, the most important of which are:

  • Question - formulate a question, such as 'why is the sky blue?'
  • Hypothesis - dream up an explanation which may answer the question
  • Test - conduct experiments to gather evidence about the hypothesis
  • Analyze - determine if the evidence supports the hypothesis or not

Science uncovers truth by repeating these steps many times. Results are not considered final until the same outcome occurs over and over when tested by different means. The process continues indefinitely. Nothing is ever settled completely, because new evidence may change scientific conclusions at any time. Einstein, for instance, discovered a new formulation for the law of gravity which was 'finalized' centuries earlier by Newton.

The scientific method reigns in our natural human tendency to believe what we want to believe regardless of the facts. In other words, scientists are instructed to 'doubt everything' and let the scientific method uncover truth, no matter what the truth may be. So science is based on doubt, and doubt is the opposite of faith. If you eliminate one, either doubt or faith, you run the risk of missing truth because you start with a poorly formulated question, postulate a flimsy hypothesis, neglect necessary tests, and analyze incomplete data.

Bible-based science
Bible-based science provides a better starting point than secular science. Secular science can easily miss important connections and relationships.

The graphic above gives a simplified view of Bible-based science versus secular science. The Bible portrays a personal, active, intimate Creator who pervades the universe. Accepting science as a discovery mechanism to reveal God's handiwork leads to one set of conclusions, but disconnecting the supernatural Creator from the universe leads to another set of conclusions. Hence we have the creation vs. evolution debate today. Which type of scientist are you?

If you subscribe to Bible-based science, you are in a small minority. According to this Wikipedia page, only about one-third of scientists have some type of belief in God. Surely those with specific Bible-based beliefs are a small portion of the believing one-third. In our view, the majority of today's scientists are making grave errors by neglecting Bible-based faith. They are doing lame science according to Einstein, and worshipping a lame god according to Romans:

Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
- Romans 1:25 [KJV]

Creation and Evolution: What's the Difference?

The fundamental difference between Bible-based creation and atheistic evolution is that God does the former and nature does the latter. This simple graphic highlights the dichotomy.

creation and evolution differ significantly
God does it all in creation, but has no part in secular evolution. This simple graphic shows the fundamental difference between the two theories.

In the biblical view of creation, God not only creates life and nature, but interacts with them on a continual basis. In contrast, standard evolutionary theory does not include God and interaction is limited to that between life and nature. Time is important for evolution, but of little consequence for creation, wherein God and mankind are eternal.

Terminology is always an issue when discussing complicated subjects. Our general headings 'creation' and 'evolution' have many sub-headings that provide more detail or focus on one view. For instance, terms like neo-creationishm, intelligent design, flood geology, and young earth come under the general heading 'creation,' while natural selection, biased mutation, genetic drift, and gene flow correspond to 'evolution.' For this article, we stick with the overall view and use the general headings without much detail for the sub-headings.

Deism - A religious view known as Deism comes somewhere between the two extremes shown in the creation and evolution graphic above. Thomas Jefferson was a famous Deist who contributed immeasurably to the extraordinary success of America during its early years. Jefferson believed in God as the author of life and nature, but did not believe that God interacts with life and nature today. Deists, then, are evolutionists who believe in God, but they are not Christians or Jews in the biblical sense. Deists remove the supernatural elements from the Bible, leaving only codes of ethics, i.e., the 10 commandments and the Golden Rule. These indeed are valuable, but lack love, passion, and empathy. Deism is a viable and successful religion, but many merits of Deist philosophy are diluted by its lukewarm approach to spiritual matters. Deists can easily miss out on lifetime benefits which come from prayer, praise, worship, interaction with other believers, Bible-holy living, giving, and helping other people. In fact, most 'nominal' Christians today are really deists and do not know it. The definitive passage for lukewarm Christians is in Revelation 3:

So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, 'I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,' and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.
- Revelation 3:16ff [NASB]

Examples from the Debate

Much of the rhetoric in the creation v. evolution debate is very nasty. Both sides dig in and then wage war with personal attacks. Finding reasoned, unbiased logic on the Internet is difficult. We used two primary resources when constructing this article:

  • Pro-creation: Systematic Theology by Dr. Wayne Grudem, Inter-Varsity Press (Leicester, England) and Zondervan (Grand Rapids, MI USA) 1994
  • Pro-evolution: TalkOrigins.org

The TalkOrigins site has a masterful index of creation claims, each with a reference to creationist material and each refuted by evolutionist material. It is a good place to grasp the scope of the debate. There are about 450 separate topics addressed in the index. This is not a simple debate.

creation claims
Click the image to see a web site with a long index of assertions by creationists.

Archaeopteryx
Fossils of 'Archaeopteryx,' a recently discovered feathered dinosaur, show a possible 'missing link' between dinosaurs and birds.

Here are some interesting examples taken from the TalkOrigins index.

  • Abiogenesis - Creationist: Evolution-minded scientists say that life started when nature produced life from lifeless matter. Why is no such life being produced today? Evolutionist: Conditions have changed. Also, any partially formed life is quickly eaten by life that already exists.
  • Anatomy - Creationist: Only a whole eye is effective; gradual development of the eye serves no purpose. Evolutionist: Complexity only indicates that something is difficult to understand, not that it is difficult to evolve. Darwin, in his original work, proposed a very plausible scenario for eye evolution.
  • Cognition - Creationist: Evolution does not explain man's consciousness and free will. Evolutionist: Science does not yet fully understand consciousness, but there are preliminary results that indicate it evolved.
  • Cognition - Creationist: Humans have language. If evolution were true, other species like chimpanzees would have language as well. Evolutionist: The advantage of language conforms to the idea of natural selection. There are several theories about chimpanzees that may apply, but more research is needed.
  • Paleontology - Creationist: Fossilized footprints in Texas show that man and dinosaur lived together at the same time. Evolutionist: The 'man tracks' are not really from men, but from dinosaurs.
  • Paleontology - Creationist: Archaeopteryx (feathered dinosaur) is not a missing link between dinosaurs and birds. Evolutionist: Archaeopteryx is a missing link between dinosaurs and birds.
  • Geology - Creationist: Radiometric dating of a geologic formation in Kenya has yielded a wide range of different results, from 0.52 to 220 million years, showing that radiometric dating is unreliable. Evolutionist: This illustrates radiometric dating has problems, but it equally illustrates that the problems are not insurmountable.

Theories about the Origin and Development of the Universe

Many evolution-minded scientists tell us that the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old, and that is a lot of years. This age is based on radiometric dating, a scientific technique that discovers the age of rocks based on the amount of radioactive material they contain. On the other hand, some creation-minded scientists tell us the earth is about 10,000 years old, and that is a lot different than 4.5 billion years. The 'young Earth' age is based on reconciling Scripture with observed geological phenomena around the planet. Young Earth people assert that radiometric dating and other standard scientific methods are flawed.

In addition to debates between evolutionists and creationists, there are debates among creationists themselves about 'young Earth' vs. 'old Earth' models. The 'young Earth' position is supported directly by Scripture, but there are also interpretations of the Bible that support 'old Earth' dating.

We classify 7 prevailing theories about the origin and development of the universe in three classes:

  • Theories not directly compatible with the Bible
    • Steady State
    • Big Bang
    • Darwinian Evolution
  • Theories somewhat compatible with the Bible
    • Deism and Theistic Evolution (old Earth)
  • Theories strictly compatible with the Bible
    • Gap (old Earth)
    • Day-Age (old Earth)
    • Creation with an Appearance of Age (young Earth)

Theories Not Directly Compatible with the Bible

Steady State and Big Bang
Steady State and Big Bang are two scientific theories about the origin of the universe. They are non-biblical because they start with something, while the biblical universe starts with nothing.

The Steady State Theory - The Steady State theory has recently been pushed aside by its competitor, the Big Bang theory. Steady State says the universe has always existed, while Big Bang says it has a definitive beginning.

Today everyone agrees that the universe is expanding. It is getting bigger and bigger by the moment. You can see this expansion using the latest technological innovations, such as space-borne telescopes and modern radio astronomy. However, the idea of an expanding universe did not enter scientific thinking until the mid 1900s. Before that time a philosophy called the Perfect Cosmological Principle prevailed. This principle asserts that the universe is static and unchanging, and great thinkers like Albert Einstein subscribed to it.

Steady State theory is built upon the Perfect Cosmological Principle. It says that the universe has always existed, without beginning and without end, and has always appeared the way it appears today. If, indeed, the universe is expanding, the Steady State theory requires that new matter come into existence continuously so that it always looks the same and does not appear to be 'thinning out.' Astronomers tell us that to support the Steady State theory, the rate of creation of new matter must be about 10^32 kilograms per second, where 10^32 is the number 1 followed by 32 zeroes, or 100 million trillion trillion kilograms per second. Wow.

If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know
- 1 Corinthians 8:2 [NASB]

The modern version of the Big Bang theory is not an explosion
The modern version of the Big Bang theory is not an explosion, but the sudden appearance of everything at once. This is closer to the biblical model than prior versions of the theory.

The Big Bang Theory - The main difference between the newer Big Bang theory and the older Steady State theory is that, with the Big Bang, the universe has a starting point about 13.8 billion years ago. The philosophical underpinning the Big Bang is called the Cosmological Principle, which is slightly different than the Perfect Cosmological Principle supporting the Steady State theory. Albert Einstein had to modify his own personal beliefs when he invented the General Theory of Relativity because, even though his invention clarified several anomalies in the universe (e.g., the peculiar orbit of the planet Mercury), it muddled the Perfect Cosmological Principle and the Steady State theory. Such give-and-take is how scientific discovery works. The Big Bang theory crushes all prior theories because it matches mathematical results to scientific observations much better than any other theory.

Faith and Reason - Interestingly, the Big Bang theory is much closer to the Bible than the Steady State theory. With Big Bang, there is a Genesis-like beginning, but with Steady State, there is no such beginning. The move of science toward the Bible is encouraging to many Bible believers, but it is meaningless to scientists. Scientists, on purpose, expect things to change as they refine their theories further and further. The next change could be away from the Bible, or it could be toward the Bible. It doesn't matter to scientists. They just want to get closer to the truth. Bible believers need to learn that lesson. Our understanding of both Scripture and nature is imperfect. If the Bible is true, and if full understanding can be achieved someday, there will be no conflict between Scripture and science. Many famous scientists, e.g., Newton, Galilei, Kepler, Pascal, Boyle, Faraday, Maxwell and others, agree with this idea and view science as a gateway of understanding God's handiwork. Most believers, on the other hand, are intimidated by it, afraid that science will somehow undermine their faith. Mature faith should embrace science, and mature science should embrace faith. They are not mutually exclusive.

Creation Out of Nothing - The Bible clearly requires us to believe that God created the universe out of nothing. There are many verses which requires this, for example:

Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.
- Revelation 4:11 [NASB]

Since both the Steady State theory and the Big Bang theory require something to be present in the universe at all times, they are not directly compatible with ex nihilo (out of nothing) creation. The Steady State theory purports space, time, and energy always existed. The Big Bang postulates a super-hot volume of sub-atomic particles at the beginning, although the theory expressly excludes how or why that volume came into being. In other words, the Big Bang theory leaves the door cracked open for supernatural intervention at the beginning.

The philosophy behind Out-of-Nothing Creation is Causality, or the 'law of cause and effect' which states that every effect has a cause. In this case, the effect is the universe and the Cause is God. Steady State violates Causality because there is no cause of the universe. Big Bang circumvents Causality because cause is excluded from the theory. Atheistic science has not yet devised testable theories for the cause of the universe.

Some theologians reject ex nihilo creation, saying that something was present before God started His creative work. This, then, makes Genesis very compatible with the Big Bang theory. What was present was water, perhaps an ancient understanding of sub-atomic particles:

And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
- Genesis 1:2(c) [KJV]

The light was the Big Bang. This would solve a lot of problems, but honest analysis of Scripture points to out-of-nothing creation, not out-of-something creation. In addition to Genesis 1:1 and several Old Testament scriptures (e.g., Psalms 33:6ff), there are many New Testament scriptures that require us to subscribe to the out-of-nothing account. Here is an example:

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
- John 1:3 [KJV]

It is difficult to interpret 'all things' as 'everything except water.'

Darwinian Evolution - British naturalist and geologist Charles Darwin is best known for his theory of evolution that states (1) that all life on Earth comes from one common ancestor, and (2) that it slowly evolves in small steps controlled by forces known as natural selection, sometimes known as survival of the fittest.

man evolution
This representation of Darwinian evolution shows man and apes descending from a common ancestor. This appeases non-believers (they need not answer to a supreme God) and frustrates believers (the Bible says that man is special and distinct from animals).

Darwinian evolution is remarkably durable. First published in 1859, ideas of common ancestry and natural selection still underpin the refined and updated evolutionary theory known as modern evolutionary synthesis. There are evidences for and against evolution, and there are also significant moral consequences associated with subscribing to it. Morally:

  • There are ominous consequences of fostering ideas of imprecise origins of human life, including neglect of the weak and defenseless (e.g., late-term abortion and human euthanasia), and visions of 'master race' supremacy (e.g., Nazi Germany). Ideas of human equality prevail when the exceptional nature of mankind is emphasized (see Race and Racism in the Bible on this web site). Jefferson wrote 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal' and this conclusion can be easily reached by reading the Bible or by simply observing life on Earth. But the Bible tells us why human beings are exceptional: because they are made that way, in the 'image of God.'
  • Equating mankind with animals can lead to reckless living, rejecting moral codes and going instead with Just Do It attitudes without regard for future consequences. Pragmatic, live-for-the-moment thinking often leads directly to unbridled poverty, drug addiction, unwanted pregnancy, and oh, yes, Hell itself. Traditional values hold society together and America's departure from them started with the sexual revolutions of the 1920s and 1960s. The best evidence of the positive impact of Bible-based moral codes is the overwhelming success of European and American cultures over non-biblical cultures of the same time period and starting points (see Why the Vast Disparity in National Prosperity? on this web site).

Supercharged with moral implications, rational evidence often takes a back seat. As mentioned above, zealots on both sides of the debate, evolution vs. creation, make harsh and rash statements. Discounting such noise, here are a few more examples supporting the Darwinian model:

  • Scientific evidence -- a large majority of today's scientists subscribe to evolution due to a large amount of observed evidence.
  • Selective breeding -- practiced for centuries, gives rise to different breeds of dogs, plants, farm animals, and the rest; the basic idea is to amplify desired traits which, according to Darwin, nature does by herself and can produce different species over millions of years.
  • Geographical distribution -- life forms tend to group geographically on the Earth's surface, indicating common ancestry
  • DNA evidence -- according to scientists, molecular structures withing living cells poins to Darwinism, but is not readily understood by laymen
  • Court rulings -- various US courts, including the Supreme Court, have found in favor of evolutionists when creationists try to balance the treatment of creation and evolution in public schools.

While arguments against Darwinian evolution includes:

  • Biblical reference -- nothing in the Bible remotely resembles a single common ancestor or a process of natural selection apart from God.
  • Return to the wild -- nature appears to favor 'wild' states of organisms, rather than new 'evolved' states; left alone, organisms return to stable, original types; this indicates that natural selection inhibits evolution rather than promotes it.
  • Transitional fossils still elude scientists -- recent discoveries of, for instance, feathered dinosaurs may point to actual 'missing links' in the evolutionary model, but, according to this Wikipedia page, transitional species found to date do not unquestionably connect one species to another; Darwin himself acknowledged this weakness in his original theory.
  • Origin of life -- even though the theory of evolution does not directly address the question of creating living organisms from dead matter, it is a related subject and scientists have yet to find testable theories or laboratory experiments that generate life.
  • Taught in school -- a few US states, notable Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas, and Florida allow creation to be taught alongside evolution in public schools.

Little can be done to summarize the creation vs evolution battle except to say that both sides operate on theory and, as more and more evidence is gathered, one theory will emerge closer to reality. Cooperation rather than rank arrogance between the warring parties would probably uncover more evidence faster. The moral issues stir a lot of cloudiness into the clear thinking of both sides. In all cases, the exceptional nature of the human race should not be diminished.

Theories Somewhat Compatible with the Bible

Deism and Theistic Evolution - Deism, addressed above, views God as the initial author of life and nature but lets evolution do the rest. Another view, called Theistic Evolution, adds God to the evolutionary model in a different way. Theistic evolution says that God guides the evolutionary process as it moves along, making 'tuning adjustments' so things come out according to plan. Both Deism and Theistic Evolution are very compatible with scientific endeavors, but are not completely compatible with the Bible.

deism and theistic evolution
Both Deism and Theistic Evolution incorporate God into the evolution model, but both deny day-by-day interactions between God and the universe, as the Bible portrays.

About one half of the Bible's text describes God's interaction with history. This interaction is continuous and ongoing, not a one-time thing (Deism), and it is also very deliberate and purposeful, not tweaking and adjustments to an on-going process (Theistic Evolution). This verse in Psalms conveys the immediacy and power of God's creative Word:

By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.
- Psalms 33:6ff [KJV]

The words 'For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast' imply immediate, all-powerful, deliberate action.

For these reasons, plus a few other reasons not mentioned explicitly, Deism and Theistic Evolution do not form a perfect bridge between strict Bible interpretation and modern science. They require both to 'give in' a little to reach compromise. However, Deism and Theistic Evolution are acceptable to many people, including some believers and some scientists.

Theories Strictly Compatible with the Bible

The Gap Theory
The Gap Theory proposes two distinct creations with a time gap between them. The gap may be very long, up to billions of years.

The Gap Theory - Scientists build theories by constructing possible models and comparing them to measurements and observations using mathematics. Theologians build theories by constructing possible scenarios and comparing them to Scripture using hermeneutics. Hermeneutics is the theory of text interpretation, and we have a simplified outline of it on our About page.

The Gap Theory proposes that there is a time gap between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2:

- In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Genesis 1:1
- Time gap, possibly billions of years
- And the earth was without form, and void Genesis 1:2a

The normal, six day creation picks up after Genesis 1:2. But this is really a second creation, the first occurring before the gap. Since the Bible has nothing to say about what happened during the gap, we are free to construct most any scenario. Usually scenarios chosen correspond to modern scientific results. For instance, dinosaurs may have lived during the gap, and this explains the fossil record. Evil may have flourished during the gap, including the fall of Satan from heaven to earth. Of course there are embarrassing gap arguments, including visits from extra-terrestrials and large Atlantis-style civilizations. At a minimum, the Gap Theory provides a reconciliation between young earth and old earth scenarios.

Hermeneutically the Gap Theory suffers major problems, the most severe of which is that no verse in the Bible, not even one, gives explicit support to an earlier creation. There are several other problems as well.

day-age theory of creation
The Day Age theory of biblical creation allows for more than 24 hours in each day of Genesis 1.

The Day-Age Theory - From a pure faith standpoint, creation took place in a sequence of six 24 hour days. Conversely, a pure reason view says that Genesis chapter 1 is only a fictional allegory that may have a deeper meaning. Somewhere along the continuum from pure faith to pure reason a Bible interpretation known as the Day-Age Theory comes into play. Here the six days of Genesis are really six spans of time, or ages, that may last millions of years or longer. Such an interpretation is possible from Hebrew grammar, where the word for 'day' sometimes refers to periods longer than 24 hours, but it is not without theological problems.

One such problem for the Day-Age theory is that animals would have to had die before the time of Adam and Eve, creating the fossil record. While this is possible, it is generally held that death did not start until Adam and Eve sinned. A second problem is that plants would have to grow without sunlight for millions of years, since they were created before the sun was created. These, and similar problems of Bible interpretation, add doubt to the viability of the Day-Age theory. However, the literary framework argument mentioned in the first part of this article answers most, if not all, of the theological problems with Day-Age.

Day-Age reconciles the Bible with scientific dating of the Earth, so it is a view widely supported by many Bible thinkers today.

God the watchmaker
It is possible that God created the universe with an appearance of age, like a watchmaker creates a timepiece and then starts it running

Creation with an Appearance of Age - People who believe the earth is young, a few thousand years old, generally subscribe to the idea that God created the universe with an appearance of age. Adam and Eve, for instance, were not created as infants, but as mature adults. Extensions of this idea allow chickens to be created before eggs, trees to be created full grown, geological formations to be created in place, rather than requiring eons to form, and stars to be created with beams of light already reaching Earth so Adam and Eve could see them on their first night. It is a very compelling argument from a theological point of view, but scientifically it requires complete discounting of radiometric dating and many other scientific disciplines.

Sometimes this young-earth approach is called Mature Creationism since God created the universe in a mature, not infantile, state. More often it is called God the Trickster because it implies that God intentionally deceives people by making things appear old when they are not, even though He tell us in Genesis that He did precisely that and followed it with a massive flood to jumble everything up. Indeed, scattering fossils throughout the Earth's crust would be deceptive since there is apparently no other motivation for God doing so, except to keep mankind's pride in check and foster a dependence on God, as follows:

but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.
- 1 Corinthians 1:28 [NASB]

Summary

We started this article with a series of questions. Here are typical answers to those questions.

Secular View Bible-based View
Does God exist? Perhaps. Yes.
Do things happen randomly? Luck and chance are key elements of the universe. God controls things and He is deliberate, not random.
Is Bible-based faith separate from natural science? Yes. Science considers nature only; the Bible has supernatural parts. No. Neglecting the supernatural may, in fact, suppress the truth.
Is the human race special? No. Humans are simply advanced animals. Yes. People are made in the 'image of God.'
Am I morally accountable to a higher power? No. I am accountable only to other people. Yes. I am accountable to God.
Should the Bible influence my behavior? Somewhat. It has a proven code of ethics. Yes. Obedience brings fullness of life.
How should I interpret the Bible? Treat it as a collection of allegories. Treat it as true and valuable, and interpret it carefully.

From a scientific point of view, Day-Age creation and Literary Framework interpretation are the closest to current science. Creation with an Appearance of Age is the farthest from current science. Further, Deism and Theistic Evolution provide positions in which both science and Bible interpretation give up a little to reach practical compromises.

What About You?

If you are leaning toward evolution, that's ok. At least you have thought about the issue and come to a conclusion. You are relying on your own reason and your own resources, and most people enjoy such independence. However, pleas remember that living without moral absolutes and looming eternal consequences often leads to severe life troubles. You also may be missing out on the many benefits that Bible-based faith can bring.

If you are leaning toward creation, that's better in our view because you are probably more disposed to tap into faith-based benefits such as a Bible-holy lifestyle, daily interaction with God who loves you, fellowship with other believers, and helping other people who are less fortunate than you.

by Paul Richards

Mon, 26-Jun-2017 22:32:38 GMT, unknown: 642722 ABfy4x0bXCYNE
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