Does God Use Evolution?
by O. P. Martin
Today's culture of science, education, and law would have us believe that naturalism is to be equated with reason, science, and fact, whereas creation would correspond to faith, religion, and feelings. But, is naturalism really true? And, perhaps just as important, are these really two different categories of knowledge? Three quarters of getting the right answer is asking the right question.
Creation and naturalism both seek to answer the question of origins by interpreting the available evidence. Both philosophies have been around since ancient times. One is not science and the other religion. In fact, we shall see which requires more faith, and which is more reasonable.
The people who have made the biggest contributions to science have been ardent creationists. Bacon, Newton, Pasteur, the list goes on and on. Even Charles Babbage, the man who invented the first programmable computer, was a devoted Christian. Modern science was founded in a climate of, and by those who were personally committed to, belief in the Bible, creation, and the Lord Jesus Christ. The founders were convinced of the light of not only special revelation, but general revelation as well, in which they maintained they were "thinking God's thoughts after Him."
People have not always remained friendly toward God. "The Origin of Species" gave God-haters the excuse they thought they needed to run after naturalism instead.
Naturalism is the idea that the universe is self-existent, and that nature, what we can measure with our senses, is all that exists. This spawns the need for a theory, like evolution, to try to explain how we got here. If naturalism turns out to be wrong, then we will have to admit that God exists and that He created us, which will turn our hearts toward the Bible, the most reliable of all holy books.
Naturalism and evolution are put forward as an origins theory, yet the two things they have the most difficulty giving any explanation for are the origin of the universe and the origin of life.
The Origin of the Universe
Astrophysics seems to point to a creation event. Red shifts in the spectra of distant objects suggest that the universe is expanding, and the discovery of background radiation agrees with the prediction of theory. Note that we do not need to conclude that a big bang actually occurred. If God exists and He created Adam as a fully formed adult, then He can certainly have created the universe as an adult as well. "... He stretches out the heavens like a tent" (Psalm 104:2). All the expanding universe really tells us is that it cannot possibly be self-existent.
Albert Einstein tried to resist the big bang theory by introducing a cosmological constant into his relativity equations, because he did not like the implication that we must accept the existence of God. Later, when observations showed this constant to be zero, he said it was the biggest mistake of his life.
There are more problems. Let's assume for a moment that the big bang happened. In the earliest moments after the supposed big bang, the laws of physics break down; later, they come into existence. Where did they come from? For that matter, where did the whole universe come from?
Hawking wrote a "no-boundary" proposal. But it is not really a theory, depends on mathematical oddities such as imaginary time, is not likely to be confirmed by any observation, and doesn't really answer the question of how the universe could have somehow created itself. Similarly, some evolution-minded scientists have appealed to a quantum fluctuation as explanation for how the universe supposedly leapt into existence. But, Heisenbergian indeterminacy does not claim to create matter, only that it is not possible to determine an existing particle's location by shooting another particle at it.
The amount of time available since a big bang also poses a big problem for naturalists since there is not even close to being enough time for the evolution of even a single living cell.
Scientists are not even able to come up with a single grand unified theory that would explain all physical phenomena that are now observed. Yet, some naturalists hold out great hope that such a theory, called the Theory Of Everything, will be found and will answer all of life's great questions.
The fabled TOE, since it includes those who are doing the thinking, however, is inherently self-referencing, thus potentially incoherent. It may never be any more than a myth, and in any case would explain disappointingly little.
The Origin of Life
The test of a scientific theory is whether it makes predictions that are verified by observation. Evolution has never done this. No life form has ever been observed to evolve from another. Evolution is not a fact.
Small changes in a population over time is sometimes referred to as "microevolution." This does happen. The color of certain moths and the length of bird's beaks (among finches in Galapagos) are common examples. But this is variations built in to the existing DNA, not the appearance of new, complex systems, and certainly not new organisms descending from old.
Microevolution, the variation built into existing DNA, does not prove evolution, nor does it answer the question of the creation of life in the first place.
We are talking about a mere parameter which is implemented using existing machinery versus a complete complex informational system which needs to somehow appear all at once in order to function and provide the advantage.
Indeed, selective breeding has been employed for thousands of years. But, dominant genes do not grow more dominant over time. Never has one kind changed into another kind.
I used to say that
the teaching that some animals evolved, by survival of the fittest, from other animals which are still around for some reason is infantile, like saying that London is the capital of Paris and Paris is the capital of Rome.
I have been told that this is not a good argument to use because the evolutionists are really only claiming that today's species evolved from a "common ancestor." But, whenever this is pointed out, could someone please mention that the lack of fossil evidence for any "common ancestor" is so huge as to be termed the "trade secret of paleontology."
Some evolutionists object to the term "improvement" because it implies purpose.
Could it be that living organisms give the appearance of being designed for a purpose because in fact they were?
Throughout the ages mankind has had the natural tendency to desire to create things. Gradually we come to realize there are laws such as conservation of energy and mass that are the truer way of nature. Pasteur proved his critics wrong when they believed in spontaneous generation, affirming instead the biblical principle of life coming from life. You can't get something from nothing naturally. Where one finds information in the structures of life, there must be a higher source of that information. Things flow down, not up. It will not be mathematically possible for us to assist in our own evolution, as some naturalists hope.
Thousands of DNA and protein sequences have now been compared in hundreds of species, and none of them can be called the ancestor of another.
Behe points out that complex organs such as the human eye could not be gathered gradually because many parts are required simultaneously before an advantage can be seen. He calls this "irreducible complexity". A simple example is the mousetrap, which is made up of five well-matched, interacting parts, without any one of which the mousetrap would not work.
The mathematical probability of the formation of all that would be needed for one cell to live from natural processes is statistically zero. A tornado assembling a Boeing 747 from a junkyard has better odds.
If a computer program suffers corruption of even one bit, the result can be severe malfunction or complete failure. The DNA is no different. That's why it contains specific machinery to try to guard against mutations, usually successfully, and will actually correct errors. A mutation is a corruption of the DNA's program, and almost always results in the death or impairment of the organism. In a few, rare cases, a mutation may give a life form an advantage in a specialized environment. But, when the specialized environment is removed and replaced with the creature's natural habitat, it is seen that the mutated offspring live less healthy lives than their purer brethren.
Although scientists have succeeded in synthesizing a few amino acids in the laboratory from non-living chemicals, no one has been able to go further. And that is a long, long way from creating life. Amino acids are like letters of the alphabet, whereas proteins correspond to coherent sentences. The simplest cell is enormously complex, more so than our largest cities, with factories churning out thousands of different, complicated proteins, each one with every atom just so. In fact, proteins are needed to make DNA, but DNA is needed to make proteins; which came first? This is similar to the famous chicken and egg question. But, it is not an inscrutable dilemma; the answer is given to us plainly in the early chapters of Genesis.
Naturalists attribute everything to chance and necessity. But, what is the term "random" except an admission that the mathematical phenomenon under consideration is too complex for the human mind to comprehend?
No one has ever observed or explained how this mysterious force called "necessity" can work with chance and time against the observable and repeatable second law of thermodynamics in order to write the information necessary for life. But we know such a "force": God. Proverbs 16:33 "The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD." But, does the Lord use evolution?
Evolution is completely incompatible with scripture.
If, as evolutionists claim, natural forces do the work of creation in a purposeless, unguided fashion, this leaves a rather weak god, certainly not the God of the Bible. And a god who sets in motion the spinning top, as it were, of the world, then ignores it, is himself easily ignored. But, our Lord, as revealed in the Holy Text, demands our complete allegiance,
to the extent that we are called to give up our lives if necessary for the sake of the gospel.
God's beautiful design of successive refinement over six days is radically different than the scheme offered by naturalists. Remember, the sun, moon, and stars were not created until day four (after plants were on Earth)!
Death and violence are assumed by evolution to be essential to the formation of life, but, according to the Bible, they did not appear until the fall of Adam.
The need for long ages was cooked up by evolutionists.
Radio isotope dating is based on flawed assumptions.
The Hebrew word for "day" is only used to refer to something other than a literal 24-hour day when it can be seen from context. No such context exists in Genesis 1.
There is no need to compromise if you believe God is powerful enough to have created the entire universe in the first place.
The House of Cards
We've all seen textbooks showing a gradual progression from ape to man.
Discoveries which have been called missing links have turned out to be: apes, men, hoaxes, but no missing links.
In one case, in 1922 in Nebraska, one tooth was found. Evolutionists then painted pictures of an ape-like man, all from one tooth. Later, the tooth was found to be that of an extinct pig. In another case, Piltdown Man turned out to be a deliberately-doctored hoax which fooled the experts for 40 years. Why? Because they, too, have very strongly-held pre-conceived ideas which cause them to force all evidence into the interpretation they want.
We can expect more new finds from time to time as the old ones are discredited, so that those who hate God can always have something to point to. But, even most evolutionists are occasionally forced to admit that there simply is a profound lack of transitional fossils.
On the other hand, what we find in the fossil record is exactly what should be predicted if the biblical account of a global flood is true. The data fit so well that naturalists can't stand it, and they try to argue that Noah's flood was local, not global. But, that is not what the Bible says. The Mt. St. Helens eruption of 1980 and other local catastrophes have shed light on some of the natural processes involved, erosion and deposition; and, the resulting conditions we therefore expect from the great flood, massive amounts of dead things laid down in rock layers by water processes, is exactly what we do find all over the world. The reality of Noah's flood removes the millions of years that evolutionists desperately cling to, even though even that is nowhere near enough to allow their theory to succeed.
The fact that evolutionary theory does not agree with observed evidence causes evolutionists to bicker among themselves, offering conflicting wares, none of which cover the bases.
Dawkins and his camp attempt to provide a creation story for the first cell and subsequent modifications with the "blind watchmaker" thesis, but they suffer not only by missing how the DNA works, where any (always-deleterious) mutation to a gene affects multiple organs and multiple genes are needed to support any organ, but also when the predictions of the theory do not match the fossil record.
On the other hand, Gould and company attempt to explain things in such a way as to match the fossils, at the expense of the minor detail that such explanations are theoretically impossible.
Each contradicts the other. No wonder they are anxious to exclude all discussion of creation. If most people say they believe in God, should the evolutionists feel secure enough to present all sides?
If they were really free from fear, they would invite debate and discussion, wouldn't they?
Maybe by the time you read this, some of the information may seem out of date. Don't be fooled. We can expect that they will continue to cough up
ever more complicated formulae to attempt to explain away the fact that they never had any evidence for their theory in the first place. Why? Because they wish to continue acting however they please without feeling that they might be accountable to The Almighty.
It is like the latest, greatest brand of snake oil. When asked about the fact that the so-called medicine purchased on the last trip didn't work, the reply is "But, this is new and improved. It will work for sure!" And, some will be fooled by the glitzy, new packaging of the same old lie.
It takes more faith to believe in the mysterious force which somehow works against the second law of thermodynamics than it does to believe in the God of the Bible for Whom there is considerable evidence. If He is real, the house of cards falls. Who created whom? If we created the concept of God, then academia is right to relegate religion to areas of psychology or anthropology. If, however, God is real and created us in His image, then this fact permeates our lives and is the starting point for all other reasoning. We are accountable to The Almighty for our thoughts and actions. Let us seek Him while we may.
There is nothing that says that science has to be naturalistic, and we should not assume that it is.
Those of us who believe in God should stop seeking the approval of naturalists and start defining and advancing our own theory of knowledge. Naturalists think that Nietzsche's famous statement about God being dead is paramount to proper understanding of knowledge and must be guarded at all costs. We know, however, that "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline." - Proverbs 1:7.
For further reading:
Johnson, Phillip E.: "Reason in the Balance", InterVarsity, 1995.
For more information on the importance and benefits of creation, read my short papers on
why I believe.