Title: Each According to Its Kind
Text: Genesis 1:11-13, 20-21, 24-25
Date: February 7th, 2010
I’ve been teaching through the first few chapters of the Book of Genesis since the first Sunday of the New Year 2010. Today I’ll take some time to deal with the topic of the “fixity of species” – or more accurately, the limitations to biological evolution as witnessed in the Bible and the fossil record. The “fixity” doctrine is the understanding that natural development within different types of biological life is limited to fixed points. Or in other words, every kind of biological life has its limits as to how far it can adapt naturally. This “fixity” belief is in direct contradiction to Darwin’s theory of evolution, which teaches that every type of biological life has no fixed limits in naturally adapting to the environment. In fact, the whole theory of evolution is based on the notion that biological life does in fact develop gradually into different species and kinds in response to the environment and with the help of mutations. But this evolutionary teaching directly contradicts the Bible, which clearly states, for example, in Genesis 1:11-13, “Then God said, ‘Let the land produce vegetation; seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.’ And it was so. The land produced vegetation; plants bearing seed according to their kinds and the tress bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.” Each type of plant life was created by God for reproduction “each after its own kind,” which clearly implies fixed limits. Apple trees would produce apples, orange trees oranges. Apple trees wouldn’t gradually and naturally develop into orange trees, neither would orange trees evolve into apple trees – or any other kind of tree. According to the Bible, God the Creator made things to have definite fixed limits. That goes not only for plant life, but animal life of all kinds and finally human life. But according to Darwin and his theory of evolution, every kind of life developed from a single life source millions or perhaps billions of years ago on earth. According to evolution all animals – including humans – are related to one another because of their common ancestry ages ago. Where did humans come from? Where did you and me come from? According to Darwin, we came from apes and monkeys. Through a natural process of one species or kind of monkey evolving into something more developed, such as an ape, and then apes developing gradually into something more complex, us humans appeared. In order for this to happen there cannot be any fixed boundaries or limits to the natural development process. But according to the first chapter of the Book of Genesis, God’s Word, the creation of all kinds of living things came with natural boundaries or fixed limits in their development. So we come to a decision to make – is the Bible correct or is Darwin right? I’d like to argue that we can trust the Bible not only because it’s God’s Word, given to us for the purpose of revelation, but because it confirms the actual fossil record concerning the fixity of species or kinds. Let me explain.
First, the Bible teaches “micro” evolution – limited development within species or kinds. Genesis 1:20-21, “And God said, ‘Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.’ So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving things with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” Now just because the Bible says that God created each plant or animal after its kind doesn’t mean that there can’t be any development within a certain type of living thing. For example, through breeding, dogs can come in all shapes, sizes and forms, but they never stop being dogs. There can also be many different types of cats, both wild and domestic. These don’t violate the teachings of the Bible in respect to the fixity of kinds. There is room for natural growth and development within the fixed boundaries. For example, in human kind, we see a wide variety of different types of people inhabiting the earth. There are short people and tall people, fat people and skinny people, dark people and light people, and so on. But what is clear from universal human experience is that people – whatever their size or shape or color – they never turn into something else, or gradually develop into another kind of living thing. But from our present experience on earth we can say that people are shifting and changing over time into different kinds of people, but never into something other than a person. Because of the structure of DNA there are all kinds of combinations possible within the boundaries of human existence. God built that DNA into every kind of living thing so that it would provide the template for its growth and development. We see variety within each kind of living thing because built God that component into reproduction and growth. But God as Creator didn’t build within the DNA the capacity to recombine to become something totally different or a different kind of life. But that’s exactly what Darwin and evolution claims took place. Now the interesting thing is that the actual fossil record of living things from long ago doesn’t show a record of things gradually blending into different types of living things. For instance, if evolution were true we should expect to see a huge fossil trail of every kind of living thing blending into different living things. The whole fossil record should show massive blending preserved in stone. But it shows no such record at all. Why not? Because it didn’t take place; it never happened. God built within each living kind of thing boundaries so that it couldn’t gradually develop into something different, other than within its own fixed kind. The fossil record confirms creation, not evolution.
Second, the Bible teaches against “macro” evolution – the gradual development of lower forms of life into higher forms of life. Genesis 1:24-25, “And God said, ‘Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds; livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.’ And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.” Notice the repetition of the phrase, “After its kind.” Now if evolution were true, if God were trying to communicate that he created through a long, evolutionary process where one kind of life slowly, naturally over time developed into another kind of life, if he were trying to explain it that way he wouldn’t have repeated over and over the phrase, “After its kind.” He might have said something like, “And this kind became another kind and the new kind became a newer kind.” There is a way that God could have communicated the evolutionary process, but the way Genesis describes Creation isn’t it. But even though we see no such evolutionary process taking place today, and even though the fossil record doesn’t show the gradual blending of one kind of living thing into another, still evolutionists say it must have happened that way because it’s the only natural explanation we have of how life in its many forms came to be. But that’s just the problem – why must there be a natural explanation of how life in its many forms came to be? What if the complexity of life didn’t come to be through a natural process? What if – as the Bible describes – it came about by special creation by an act of God? Then, if it happened through a special act of God, why would we insist on explaining it naturally? I admit, God could have chosen to bring about all of life in all of its complexity through a process of natural selection or evolution, but that’s not what the Bible describes took place and that’s not what the fossil record shows. The fossil record is so troubling to evolutionists that some have decided that Darwin was wrong in thinking that evolution came about through slow, gradual changes over time from simple living things to more complex living things. Many today are saying that evolution took place not through slow, natural changes but through sudden, abrupt changes all at once. This alternate theory exists for one and one reason alone – it’s an attempt to explain the obvious lack of fossil record confirmation for evolution. The problem for the theory is that if you push the new theory of abrupt, sudden change too far you get back to something more like Creation. For example, there is indeed room in the biblical record to believe that God created life in stages, but since he fixed all living kinds with definite boundaries, he and he alone – not nature acting on its own – could create something of a different kind, more advanced. That’s actually more in line with what the fossil records shows.
Third, the Bible teaches what real science confirms, Creation not evolution. It’s important to notice that the actual fossil record confirms what the Bible teaches and actually contradicts evolution. So then why do so many scientists point to the fossil record to prove the theory of evolution? Because they do so by filling in all the gaps in the fossil record with their own faith in evolution. It’s not that the fossil records actually confirms the theory of evolution, it doesn’t, but if we fill in the gaps with the belief in evolution – that it really happened – then we can look at the same fossil record with all its gaps and see proof for evolution. What they are really seeing is what they believe beforehand, by faith. Evolution is a type of new religion for many secular people today. It is a religion because it claims to answer almost all the profound questions that philosophy and religion have traditionally tried to answer. Questions like, “Who are we?” and “Where did we come from?” and “Where are we going?” In one way or another, the theory of evolution answers all the traditional religious and philosophical questions in a totally secular and naturalistic way. So then, if a person wants a natural religion based solely on material energy, time and chance, then evolution is it. But what is crystal clear is that evolution is not based on the fossil record, but rather it’s based on the beauty of the theory itself. And we must admit that there is a type of elegance to it even if it doesn’t fit the natural facts. Evolution has become a sort of religion for many people because it really does seem to explain everything if it’s true. I must admit that if evolution is true, then it does answer many or most of the questions traditionally posed by religion and philosophy. But as Christians we have every reason to doubt it and not much reason to accept it as true. First of all, it contradicts the Bible, which we have come to trust completely in all things upon which it speaks. Second of all, evolution contradicts our basic inner gut instinct that there is meaning and purpose to life and existence. But if evolution is true, then there is no other meaning and purpose in life than to survive through superior adaptation to the environment. But survive for what purpose? Evolution gives no answer to this question because through natural selection there is no overall meaning and purpose to the whole process; it just is. Why should I trade the biblical account, which is confirmed by the actual scientific fossil record, and which comes with meaning and purpose for human existence, and trade that in for a natural theory that isn’t confirmed by actual hard fossil evidence, and which robs me of any point or purpose in life other than mere animal existence? I admit that evolution is a clever theory; it’s brilliant in its simplicity. But for me it takes too much faith to believe in it – I’m unwilling to jump over all the gaps by faith to do so. I’d rather stick with the Bible and stick with real observable, hard science.
What does all of this have to do with you and me today and with our lives as we live them in the modern world? It has a lot to do with all of us. As I’ve said before, the theory of evolution — in addition to lacking the hard scientific evidence that Darwin hoped would be found but hasn’t been found and after over one hundred years perhaps the feeling is growing that it never will be found — in addition to this, evolution robs a person of ultimate meaning and purpose in life. If we take the theory and think it through from start to finish, it leaves the human race and all of us who are members of the human race, you and me, as simply animals who have fought and clawed our way to the top of the heap. But for what purpose? According to evolution there will be another kind of living thing that will overtake us and triumph over us in the survival of the fittest. Or the other possibility is that all of life will be lost and no life survives. Since the theory of evolution requires no God at all in order to explain everything, then there is no ultimate plan or purpose for whatever evolves. There is no ultimate end to measure progress. That means no single human life in the past or the present nor in the future will really have any long term or ultimate meaning. The process of natural selection, which is evolution, according to the theory, has no ultimate plan or purpose, it just works its way through the ages processing everything along the way, but to no higher end or ultimate ideal. How different is the biblical description of Creation by God. Not only are we given an account of how all things came to be, an account that is confirmed by real observable science, but we are given meaning and purpose for our lives as well. We are all here by God’s plan. God has a purpose for us as individuals and for all of us as a society. There are absolute moral values because there is an Absolute Moral God who gives them to us to live by. We have design for our lives; it’s the will of God. We can choose to live in harmony with that divine will, or we can chose to rebel against it. We are responsible for our beliefs and behaviors here on earth. One day we will have to give an account to our Creator for how we believed and lived in life. If we put our trust in God and if we seek to do his will, we will be permitted to live and exist with him, in his eternal realm of existence where perfection is complete. But if we reject God and his will for our life we will face an eternal existence apart from God to live in everlasting regret. There is meaning and purpose in the way God created the universe, the world, and all of life, including human life. Creation corresponds to the way we all instinctively know things are made to be. Evolution corresponds to nothing of what our inner moral and spiritual life tells us is true. For these and many other reasons, I reject the theory of evolution and embrace the biblical account of creation – I hope you do to.