The Top Three Problems With Evolution

Title: The Top Three Problems With Evolution

Text: Genesis 1:1, Hebrews 11:3, Genesis 1:24

Time: July 30th, 2012

 

In a recent lecture in New York city the scientist and Christian Dr. John Polkinghorne said that the theory of evolution explains how God brought about humans on the planet earth – and that he believes it because the scientific evidence supports it. Francis Collins, an evangelical Christian and scientist, says much the same thing in his book The Language of God. Meanwhile, evangelical Old Testament scholar Bruce Waltke recently resigned from his teaching position at an evangelical seminary because he says he’s changed his views concerning Genesis and now believes the theory of evolution. What is happening in the evangelical world today concerning the doctrine of creation? Granted, there have always been “evangelicals” — or those who have either identified with the evangelical Christian movement or have been identified with it, persons like the famous Oxford don C.S. Lewis, who was open to evolution. But for the most part, scholars, leaders and members of evangelical churches have rejected evolution as incompatible with a literal understanding of the teachings of the Bible. But today, evangelicalism is in disarray in so many areas, it’s not surprising to see many more scholars, leaders and church members embracing the mainstream scientific belief of evolution. This is a shame, because it basically means that the plain and simple teachings of the Bible are being rejected in one form or another, and that the secular, almost-atheistic scientific worldview is being adopted by more and more Christians. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 says, “Test everything. Hold on to the good.” Evangelical Christians have always understood that in order to “test” everything we need to know what the Bible teaches and then compare its teaching with whatever new ideas are being presented that challenge our faith. But in respect to evolution today, it seems evangelicals are ready to by-pass the testing phase and simply skip to the conclusion – and there is great pressure today in our secular society to embrace evolution as the conclusion, without question. Many evangelicals are giving in. Some evangelicals, like Collins, feel that the only problem is a literal reading of the Book of Genesis. So the solution for him, and others like Bruce Waltke, is to simply read Genesis non-literally. That solves the conflict between Creation and evolution, so they say. But it really doesn’t solve the problem with evolution and the Bible, because the problem isn’t just in the Book of Genesis; it’s actually larger. Evolution presents a whole different worldview from the biblical worldview. There are many reasons why evangelicals, and all Christians, should continue to be skeptical of the theory of evolution. Let me list three simple reasons why we should be skeptical of it.

 

First, evolution can’t be demonstrated empirically. Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The Bible describes God through a series of supernatural acts creating the earth; evolution on the other hand teaches that no supernatural acts are necessary, that everything can be explained naturally as a process of gradual development from an initial Big Bang. Now evangelicals such as Francis Collins and Bruce Waltke are now teaching that even though the Bible describes a series of supernatural acts performed by a creator God, that maybe in fact, the theory of evolution is correct after all, and that everything really did begin with a Big Bang, as science teaches, and that everything evolved naturally, not supernaturally, from this to produce earth and all life and finally human life. But as Christians we need to be very skeptical of such an explanation because it basically undermines the entirely trustworthiness, not only of the first book Genesis, but of the entire Bible as well. But aside from this spiritual objection, we should take a skeptical stance in respect to the theory of evolution because it can’t be scientifically and empirically demonstrated. This is a scientific and rational objection to the theory. Evolution could be divided into two parts – micro evolution, where small, gradual incremental changes are observed; and macro evolution, where large-scale changes are postulated that can transform something like a fish into something like an amphibian, and then into something like a mammal, and then into something like a man. Of course, this latter, “macro” evolution can’t be seen because it supposedly takes thousands or millions of years to happen. Now the only thing that can be demonstrated scientifically and empirically is small-scale changes, or “macro” evolution. But here’s the problem. Scientists often claim that they can “prove” evolution, but what they mean is that they can demonstrate micro-evolution. Or in other words, they can show that finch beaks change over time, or fish scales change due to environmental factors, and so forth. Then, from these small examples, they extend the reasoning to large-scale change, or “macro” evolution. But the large-scale changes have never been demonstrated empirically, only the small-scale changes. So then, in fact, the heart of the theory, the main point of contention, hasn’t actually been proven. They claim lots of little changes add up to mega changes in living things, but even this hasn’t been scientifically or empirically proven. The only thing that’s proven is that living organisms demonstrate the ability to undergo small-scale changes over time; and empirically, even these small-scale changes are limited and in no way produce anything like another kind of creature. So evangelical Christians should be skeptical of the theory of evolution because it can’t even be demonstrated empirically.

 

Second, evolution gives the blind, purposeless forces of nature magical, enchanted qualities. Hebrews 11:3, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” As Christians we readily admit that creation occurred through the activity and agency of a supernatural being that we call God. The irony is, the so-called scientific theory of evolution introduces something beyond the supernatural, intelligent design and creation of God, and actually introduces some kind of magic in order to explain how an orderly universe and life on earth came about. Now scientists who accept evolution, including Christians like Collins and Polkinghorne, would deny that anything like magic is included in the theory of evolution. But that’s what the theory actually requires in order to work. For example, let’s take the question of how life first came about on the planet earth. The theory of evolution says that life on earth came about through some purely natural, blind, purposeless process that didn’t have any end in mind. So then, if, as evolution says, life arose on earth from an accidental chemical combination, then it should be able to explain the process. But it can’t. Yet it says that nature is able to do this nonetheless. But in science, if you can’t explain how nature does something, if you can’t give a description of how something happens, then you really don’t have an explanation of that something happening. So as it stands right now with the theory of evolution, nature itself has some kind of magical or enchanted property that can turn chemicals into life. That’s what would have to be the case if we just accept evolution as it stands today. Nature must be enchanted with some magical force that just knows how to turn chemistry into life. The kind of vast building, shaping and transforming of nature that evolution requires would indeed require some kind of magic or enchanted substance. But this is the kind of thing Darwin wanted to avoid. His goal, and the goal of all evolutionary scientists, is to find a purely natural way of explaining everything. Well they haven’t. And if you can’t explain everything naturally, you don’t have a natural theory of everything. This is why Christians should be skeptical of the theory of evolution. Someone may say, “Well, the way science is advancing, we assume that someday we will have a purely natural explanation for everything.” Ok, well, as Christians let us wait for that day to arrive where we truly have a natural explanation for everything. But until then, why should we exercise our faith in a theory that runs contrary to the Creation account? Anyway, why should we be called upon to exercise faith in a scientific theory when in science supposedly you aren’t supposed to need faith, just the facts? No. This is just another reason why Christians should take a skeptical stand towards evolution.

 

Third, the fossil record doesn’t show the gradual development of evolution. Genesis 1:24, “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.’” The Bible teaches in the creation account of Genesis that God made living things each according to its own kind, not through a process that blends one kind into another. But evolution teaches that what started from a single-cell ameba gradually evolved over time into all of the many different kinds of living things, from fish to amphibians to mammals to man. Ok, so according to the theory of evolution, everything had transitions, and everything transitioned into something else to arrive at the present state of life on earth today. Ok, if this is so then the entire planet should be filled with transition forms of life. There should be a whole planet full of mostly transition forms. And for any single present day life form, there should be a whole and complete record of transition forms that brought the present form to its current state. Let’s just consider one human life form – man. If the theory of evolution is true, then there should have been a huge transition remnant in the ground. There should be the bones of a vast number of transitional forms leading up to the modern day human. It’s shouldn’t be hard to dig and find record of these past transition forms because there would have had to be a lot of them in order to produce the required mutation by pure chance that would find favor in the environment and survive. The law of numbers teaches that if evolution works on the principle of mutation, then there would need be a large number of transition forms to produce enough mutations to produce the newer and evolved forms. But where are these vast transition forms? The actual fossil record shows some so-called transition forms, but these are called transitions only if we assume evolution is true and that what we see are in fact transitions. But if they are transition forms, where are all the other ones that would be needed to explain the whole sequence? They’re missing. But where are they, assuming they ever were there? Remember, according to Darwin’s theory there should be a whole lot of them, because he said that evolution operates in a slow, gradual, incremental way. Ok, if it operates that way, then it would take a long, long time for so-called macro-evolution to happen. And in-between the beneficial mutations or evolution advancements, there should be a whole lot of stable, abundant transitional fossils left. But there aren’t. This is just another reason why Christians should be skeptical of the theory of evolution, another scientific reason, that is, apart from biblical objections.

 

This is why it doesn’t make sense for evangelical Christians to jump on the bandwagon of evolution at this time. It might make our role of evangelist easier if we could find common ground with non-Christians over the topic of evolution. I’m aware that the large Roman Catholic church has made its peace with the scientific world and with evolution. The present pope seems to have no problem with evolution, at least in some of his statements. However, in other statements he seems to say that the theory doesn’t explain human origins as well. So there is some ambiguity with the present pope. However, the church as a whole pretty much accepts evolution as compatible with Roman Catholicism. We might understand that Catholics probably don’t want to get into a long, drawn-out fight with science again, since the last time they did that over Galileo, it lost in a big way. So there might be some kind of over-reaction going on with the Catholic church over science. But as evangelicals we don’t have to be afraid of the scientific establishment. Yes, there is the famous Scopes Trial of last century that is used to try to intimidate Christians into taking their stand on evolution or risk embarrassment and ridicule. But as Christians we shouldn’t be intimidated from standing alone if need be against the world on any issue. Today there are all kind of issues that the world is pressuring us to cave in on. For example, today same-sex marriage is popular and worldly people are pressuring believers to accept it as perfectly ok. Well, we must resist the pressures of the world to conform to its thinking (Romans 12:2). God’s Word says already that same-sex relationships are sinful. Therefore, same-sex marriage is doubly sinful, because it not only is sinful in itself, but it perverts the holy institution of marriage in the process. Christians must stand against the sinful culture and expose its lies and errors. It’s the same way with evolution. Evolution, as I’ve mentioned, has a number of scientific and empirical problems as a theory, not to mention the problems it encounters with the Bible. As Christians we have every reason to look upon it skeptically, and hardly any reasons to embrace it enthusiastically. But I’d say at this point it’s wiser to doubt evolution as a scientific theory, for scientific and theological reasons. We shouldn’t be bothered that certain evangelicals among us have embraced evolution. That doesn’t mean anything. Anyway, it’s not about what believes what, it’s about what the Bible teaches, and what can be demonstrated factually. Until evolution can prove itself empirically we should all be skeptical of it.

Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: