Last Sunday, February 13, MSU campus museum opened its doors to the public for the celebration of the birth of famed 19th century British naturalist, Charles Darwin, the man credited as the father of evolutionary biology. The museum director and paleontologist, Dr. Brandt said in one interview with the Lansing State Journal (“MSU Museum discovery day celebrates Charles Darwin”) that the museum was there to present the public with the truth about science, in response to a survey that reported the statistics of teachers advocating creation. As I rolled it around in my head, I began to think of truth. As a Christian, I proclaim that the Bible is the ultimate authority and the source for all truth. In contrast, Carl Sagan said in his book Cosmos, The cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be (Ham). The secular world and Christianity are at war with each other, perhaps best emphasized in the origins debate. It is often, falsely, referred to as the war between science and religion. Most Christians feel they must buy into evolution in order to maintain credibility in the secular world and argue that their faith in evolution is compatible with the word of God. The dilemma that plagues many people, Christians and unbelievers, is understanding how God’s word can be trusted on the topic of origins, especially in light of modern science. And if it is not true on origins, then where is it true? What is truth and how can we be sure of it?
Philosopher Immanuel Kant taught that truth is found only in what can be experienced through the five senses (Magee). While there may be something supernatural that exists outside of the realm of our senses, he argued, we can never know it for certain (Magee). This is the philosophy of naturalism. Naturalism assumes that all absolute truth originates from a study of the natural world, as opposed to the Bible, and then looks at the world to substantiate the argument. Evolution is based on a study of naturalism. It, like every philosophy, starts with presupposition beliefs which prove that the holder of this philosophy started with the philosophy before he had evidence to substantiate his claim.
A literal reading of the Bible likewise starts with some presuppositions. It assumes that God is the sovereign Lord and that His word is true from the very first verse. Neither of these worldviews can be known to be true until you assume that they are true. You cannot prove that there is no God until you are convinced of it yourself. Likewise, you cannot argue for the existence of God unless you presuppose that it is true. Each side tries to prove what it already assumes and each of its “proofs” rests on unproven premises (Magee 43). However, the conclusion to either of these arguments depends on the validity of the premises that were made in order to arrive at those conclusions. In other words, the truth of the conclusion depends on its hidden assumptions.
Everyone starts at science with hidden assumptions. The naturalist starts with the idea that the world is the consequence of a cosmic explosion whereas the consistent Christian starts with the idea that the world was purposefully created perfectly and that due to the sin of mankind, all creation fell. Before either of them look at the evidence, they know what they will find is what it is that they believe to be true. The naturalist who assumes that God does not exist, looks at the world and finds “evidence” of it. The Christian who assumes that God does exist looks at the world and likewise finds things that support his worldview. All evidence requires interpretation and your worldview will decide for you how you will see that evidence. Therefore, this is not a debate over religion and science or which group of intellectuals has better evidence; it is about assumption versus assumption and religion versus religion. Neither side is without bias. Physicist Hubert P. Yockey wrote this:
Research on the origin of life seems to be unique in that the conclusion has already been authoritatively accepted…What remains to be done is to find the scenarios which describe the detailed processes by which this happened. One must conclude that, contrary to the established and current wisdom, a scenario describing the genesis of life on earth by chance and natural causes which can be accepted on the basis of fact and not faith has not yet been written (Evolution Exposed, p. 133).
What makes the Bible true?
The Bible is a very unique book in that it claims to be the Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16) and the source of all truth (Pro. 2:6). It was penned over a period of about 1600 years by over 40 different men, yet it maintains a consistent message (Edwards). James 3:17 says, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure…without partiality or hypocrisy.” It is a book under a microscope, yet errorless, perfectly preserved by the Holy Spirit. It teaches origins in light of a very different timeline than the revisionist history that many learned in school teaches. Where evolutionists insert millions of years, the Bible genealogies dating back to Adam, the first man, only account for about 4000 years. The 2000 years from Christ to the present teach a world that is only about 6000 years old. Genesis teaches that the world was created perfectly and purposefully and that it was Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden that brought death and suffering into the world. God, in fact, urges us to study the world and see the work of His hands (Job 12:7-11, Psalm 8, Psalm 19:1-4) Many believe that science has disproved this claim and would go so far as to call it a scientific fact. However, when we interpret the world in light of God’s word, we find that the world is consistent with what we find in the Bible. For example, the Bible teaches that about 2000 years after Creation, God sent a global flood as a judgment of evil to wipe out the remembrance of the wicked. When we look all over the world, we see rock layers that suggest a catastrophic display of plate tectonics, pushing apart continents and rapidly burying the creatures that we now dig up as fossils. Evolutionists are still at odds over what happened to the dinosaurs, most advocating the popular hypothesis that they were killed with a meteor. However, this guess would not accurately account for the fossil record as we observe the shocking record of a sudden, cataclysmic burial of fossils in limestone layers laid very quickly.
How can we trust the authenticity of the Bible’s claims? As shown above, you have to be convinced of the claim before you will accept the evidence. That does not mean that there is no good argument for the Bible. The brilliant apologist Dr. Greg Bahnsen argues in his book, Always Ready, that the best argument we have for the Bible is that if it is not true, we cannot know anything. Only Christianity can make sense of the “preconditions of intelligibility”-the laws of logic, the uniformity in nature, and the reality of moral absolutes. Think about it: if the world is a random-chance chemical explosion, what would lead us to see the absolutes in reasoning embodied in the laws of logic? What would lead us to trust our senses enough to study the world and assume that what we observe is reliable? If our senses are just the result of a few electrical impulses swimming around randomly across neurons, why should we trust that what we observe in the world is reliable? And if there is no God who upholds the universe, why should we assume that there are constants that the world operates under? Or why should we possess any sort of moral code? After all, if we are just sophisticated animals, why should we care about lying or cheating or stealing or killing? Animals kill each other all the time, so what does it matter? And especially if you are going to apply a “survival of the fittest” worldview to life; at that point, murder is justifiable, even heroic. The secular world recognizes that God’s morality is a good thing-no one wants to be lied to, or cheated, or disrespected, or murdered. But in accepting the validity of God’s standard yet denying God they reduce themselves to a self-refuting standard. 2 Timothy says they have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof.
I am not proposing that the unbeliever does not accept logic or morality or consistent laws under which the world operates under; I am saying he is inconsistent in his accepting these things. As shown above, there are assumptions behind every worldview and those assumptions must be justified by the worldview in order to assume that the worldview is true. Because the unbeliever assumes the preconditions for intelligibility but cannot logically argue for them, he destroys his own worldview and proves the Bible to be true, unwittingly. Through these preconditions, God has made himself knowable. Men who deny Him therefore, suppress this truth of Him in their hearts though they must use His truth to argue against the truth, therefore proving the truth by arguing against that truth. Christianity is not true because it cannot be proved false; rather that it proves true what is consistently held to be true by all men, who could not know that it was true unless Christianity were true. And we see in the Bible that men do know the truth of Christ but have chosen to worship that which was created instead of He who created. In order for their argument to be rational, it has to be wrong (Lisle 182)!
The truth about Darwinian evolution
Evolution argues that there was a big bang about 10 to 20 billion years ago (Origins of the universe, National Geographic), the earth springing into existence about 4.5 billion years ago (Prehistoric Time Line, National Geographic), and people roaming the earth for about 190,000 years (Prehistoric Time Line). While creationists start with a literal interpretation of Scripture, evolutionists start with their own assumptions-one being naturalism and the other being the uniformity of nature, the concept that the rates we see the world decaying at today have been consistently decaying at that same rate for billions of years. Evolutionists in every field of science look for evidence to justify this belief. In geology they point to the rock layers and fossil record. In biology they point to the similarities in DNA among a variety of species in order to find traces of common ancestry. However, we have no reason to assume that this is the case and since no one was recording such rates for us to observe, this is an assumption that must be invented in order to preserve the worldview. Secular schools are confident enough to teach that evolution is a fact, so I decided to find confirmation of this in secular literature. Instead I found statements that justified that what we see in the world is compatible only with the Bible. This one for example is from the University of Michigan:
Throughout time we have asked ourselves these questions: How did our universe begin? How old is our universe? How did matter come to exist? Obviously, these are not simple questions and throughout our brief history on this planet much time and effort has been spent looking for some clue. Yet, after all this energy has been expended, much of what we know is still only speculation… will never truly know how it began. We can only speculate and give our best guess [emphasis added] (“Big Bang: It sure was BIG!”).
Or this one from Scientific American regarding the discovery of red blood cells in dinosaur bones:
The tiny structures lay in a blood vessel channel that wound through the pale yellow hard tissue. Each had a dark center resembling a cell nucleus. In fact, the spheres looked just like the blood cells in reptiles, birds and all other vertebrates alive today [emphasis added] except mammals, whose circulating blood cells lack a nucleus. They couldn’t be cells, I told myself. The bone slice was from a dinosaur that a team from the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Mont., had recently uncovered—a Tyrannosaurus rex that died some 67 million years ago—and everyone knew organic material was far too delicate to persist for such a vast stretch of time [emphasis added] (“Blood from stone“) .
Or this one from Scientific American regarding the “missing link” named Ardi: When researchers spy skeletal similarities in the fossil record, they might be led to believe that species “are more closely related than they really are,” wrote the authors of a new review paper [emphasis added].
Or this one from PBS:
The short answer is we don’t really know how life originated on this planet. There have been a variety of experiments that tell us some possible roads, but we remain in substantial ignorance [emphasis added].
Even some of the best “evidence” for evolution has been discredited, much to the dismay of the buzz that was created after their discoveries. What we see commonly is that the evidence is being misrepresented. In many cases, we are led to believe that evolution is better substantiated than can actually be accounted for. Good science does not involve fabricating evidence or selective editing; rather, if a hypothesis repeated shows itself to be arbitrary over and over again, we cannot reasonably hold it to be true. When a failing philosophy thrives in popularity though it makes more regress than progress in actual research, it points to the intricacy of the worldview that it defines. Despite its utter failure in actual practice, evolutionists clutch their worldview like a security blanket that they cannot be weaned from. What we see in science is not that there is no evidence to support the Bible, but that the evidence is unaccepted purely because it points to the biblical God. The geneticist credited with discovering the cause of Down’s Syndrome, Jerome Lejeune, said this:
We have no acceptable theory of evolution at the present time. There is none; and I cannot accept the theory that I teach to my students each year. Let me explain. I teach the synthetic theory known as the Neo-Darwinian one, for one reason only; not because it’s good, we know it is bad, but because there isn’t any other. Whilst waiting to find something better you are taught something which is inexact, which is a first approximation (Evolution Exposed, p. 51).
Why can’t we all just get along?
Many Christians believe they can marry secular philosophies and the Bible. Anyone who disagrees is portrayed like the Grinch who is taking all the innocence out of the world of science. Though the Bible teaches 6 literal, 24-hour days, theistic evolutionists interpret these days as inexplicitly long periods of time; however, there are many reasons to suggest otherwise. The word “day” in Hebrew, “Yom”, is defined by Brown, Driver, and Briggs Hebrew Lexicon as “day, 24 hour-period, as defined by evening and morning in Genesis 1.” While God is outside of time, He reveals Himself to us under the limitations we operate under in order to make Himself knowable. While God does not have to operate under our senses or perception or laws, He uses these to express His power and as an instrument through which we can know Him better.
More than this even are the ethical implications and more so, the flaw we inflict on God’s perfect character by reinterpreting His word. In the beginning when God created man, He gave him the commandment not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. When Adam sinned, the ramification, namely death, was demonstrated over the whole universe. Romans 8: 22 says, “For the whole of Creation groaneth and travailed in pain together until now.” However, if we reinterpret the text and add millions of years into Genesis 1, we insert death before the sin of Adam; this does not merely dilute, but deletes, the consequences for sin. So where man was lost and in need of a Savior, he now becomes part of a vicious biological process that a “good” God made him to be part of. Jesus becomes irrelevant and unnecessary, since God wouldn’t save us from a “very good” biological process, and sin loses its sting. God’s perfect character is destroyed and His view of a “very good” world involves horrible atrocities. This character is not the God of the Bible.
When we allow evolution to dominate our thinking, we have not given our whole mind over to God and allowed him to have it. Romans 12 teaches us to, “Present your bodies a living sacrifice unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be ye not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, and that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” We seem to be content finding something that comforts us to believe in and have ceased to pursue truth. Alex and Brett Harris write in their book, Do Hard Things:
Complacency thrives when hidden behind rationalizations…Obviously this means that the majority of complacent people don’t think they have a problem. And as many wise men throughout history have observed, the most dangerous enemy is the one we fail to recognize.
Some Christians may be persuaded by compromising leaders who profess to be an authority on Scripture. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 says, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn from the truth and shall be turned to fables.” Martin Luther dealt with this in his day as well. He said:
The Days of Creation were ordinary days in length. We must understand that these days were actual days (veros dies), contrary to the opinion of the Holy Fathers. Whenever we observe that the opinion of the Fathers disagree with Scripture, we reverently bear with them and acknowledge them to be our elders. Nevertheless, we do not depart from the authority of Scripture for their sakes (Ham).
Astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle said on the issue, “Christians have a moral obligation to be rational, to think God’s thoughts after Him” (“Evolution and Logical Fallacies”). As Christians, we need to bow to the name and authority of God (Rom. 14:11), asking God to lead us to truth (Ps. 25:5) and helping us to see that all the earth is the Lord’s (Ps. 24:1-2). God will not share His dominion in our heart or mind with any other. We need to possess our vessels worthily, being a good steward of the mind and knowledge that we have received from God.
As the year rolls back around to the celebration of the legacy left behind by Charles Darwin, it brings with it a suppressed truth as God is once again put on trial and shows Himself more than victorious.
Melot, Derek. “MSU Museum discovery day celebrates Charles Darwin”. Lansing State Journal. 14 February 2011. Web. Accessed 17 February 2011.
Holy Bible. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 2008. Print. King James Version.
Magee, Brian. The Story of Philosophy. Barnes and Noble Publishing, 2006. Print.
LaRocco, Chris; Blair Rothstein. “Big Bang: It Sure was BIG!”. University of Michigan. Web. Accessed 2/17/11. http://www.umich.edu/~gs265/bigbang.htm
Knoll, Andy. “How did life begin?” Nova, PBS. July 1, 2004. Web. Accessed 17 February 2011.
Harmon, Katherine. “Observations: Was “Ardi” not a human ancestor after all? New review raises doubts”.
Scientific American. 16 February 2011. Web. Accessed 17 February 2011.
Mary H. Schweitzer. “Blood from stone: How fossils can preserve soft tissue”. Scientific American. December 6, 2010. Web. Accessed 17 February 2011.
“Prehistoric Time Line”. Prehistoric world, National Geographic. Web. Accessed 17 February 2011.
“Origin of the Universe”. National Geographic. Web. Accessed 17 February 2011.
“How do we know the Bible is true?” Scripture under Scrutiny. Sermonaudio.com. 17 July 2008. Podcast. Accessed February 2011.
Ham, Ken. Presentation Library 1.2. Hebron, KY: Answers in Genesis, 2006. PowerPoint.
Lisle, Jason Dr. The Ultimate Proof of Creation. 1st Edition. Green Forest, AR: Masters Books, 2009. Print.
Evolution and Logical Fallacies. Lisle, Jason Dr. Answers in Genesis Ministries, 2009. DVD.
Harris, Alex, Brett Harris. Do Hard Things. Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah Books, 2008. Print.
Patterson, Roger. Evolution Exposed. Hebron, KY: Answers in Genesis-USA, 2007. Print.
Bahnsen, Greg Dr. “Heart of the Matter”, Always Ready. Robert R. Booth. Cmfnow.com. Web. Accessed 20 February 2011.