"Where did we come from?" This question is the cause of much debate and introspection, both in the religious community and in the scientific community. Where did life come from? Where did the matter that produced life come from and how did it generate life? Logically speaking, there are only three options:
1. Non-theistic evolution - our world evolved from nothing. There was no supernatural intervention. There was no "first cause," no Designer, no God. To quote the late author and astronomer Carl Sagan, "The universe is all that ever was and ever will be." Julian Huxley said, "It is all accident, all a matter of chance. No reason, no end, no purpose at all." Non-theistic evolution says that the matter of which the universe is made somehow over billions of years organized itself into all that we see without any outside assistance or intelligence.
2. Theistic evolution - God used the processes of evolution to create the world.
The idea here is to admit the logic problem of option one and say, "Well, okay, there must be a First Cause to everything and that must be God." In this theory, God's role is to initially create the simplest life form and then direct the progress of evolution from simple to complex. While this option might solve the logic problem of the first option, it obviously has the same scientific challenges.
3. Special Creation - our world came to exist as God created each species, just as the Bible claims in the first few chapters of the book of Genesis.
There are problems with this theory, too. How do you prove that God did it? If the Biblical account is accurate, then the earth is no more than 10,000 years old. How does that square with carbon dating that shows it to be billions of years old?
Those are the only options - either we got here by a freak accident of the eternal cosmos, or God pushed over the domino of the first stage in the evolutionary process, or - as the Bible claims - God created this world and everything in it.
The question is, "Which option is true?" This is a very important question and one we must all answer. The answer you decide on will affect the way you live. If the theory of evolution is true, then there is no God, and we can live however we want. But if God created the earth and everything in it, then we are accountable to Him for how we live.
From what you hear many evolution proponents saying, or from what you hear in media reports, you would never know that there is even one little piece of evidence that refutes evolution. In fact, the confidence level in this option has been so high that most of us were taught evolution in high school or college - not as a theory - but as fact.
However, as time goes on, that boldness is beginning to look less and less justified. Proponents of evolution themselves are even admitting to its fatal flaws - not because of religious convictions, but because it doesn't square with reality and new discoveries.
Here are four little known facts about the theory of evolution that will explain what I mean:
A. There is no reasonable explanation of how non-living chemicals formed the first living cell. Evolution claims that, at some point, one living cell was produced from the non-living matter floating around in space. That cell reproduced itself, and grew and developed into more cells until a few billions of years later, here we are.
The problem is that living cells are made up of many kinds of proteins which have to go together in a certain combination and sequence, and each protein is made up of many kinds of amino acids which have to go together in a certain combination and sequence.
Many scientists acknowledge that for these amino acids to have somehow come together spontaneously out of the cosmic primordial soup in just the right way to generate the first single living cell would require nothing short of a statistical miracle.
In his book, Darwin's Black Box, Michael Behe puts it this way, "Molecular evolution is not based on scientific authority..." "... There is no publication in the scientific literature in prestigious journals, specialty journals, or books that describes how molecular evolution of any real, complex, biochemical system either did occur or even might have occurred. There are assertions that such evolution occurred, but absolutely none are supported by pertinent experiments or calculations."
B. Scientists have not discovered one "transitional form" in the fossil record.
I'm going to grossly oversimplify here, but according to the evolutionary process, the first cells became "swimming things." One day, some of those swimming things became crawling things. Then, one day some of those crawling things became flying things, while others became walking things ... which eventually became you and me.
If the process of evolution means that "lesser things" became "greater things" over billions of years (which, by the way, violates the second law of thermodynamics - order goes to disorder - not the other way around!) somewhere there ought to be a couple million years of "intermediate things" or "transitional forms" in between. There ought to be fish with one leg and half of an ear. There ought to be rodents with one wing and partially developed eyeballs. There ought to be humans with half a brain. (??) What I'm describing is what Darwin himself said in his book, Origin of the Species: "The number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed on the earth, (must) be truly enormous ...
"... Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links?" ...
"... Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory."
That was written in 1869. Almost a hundred years later, in 1971, Dr. Stephen J. Gould of Harvard wrote, "The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, not the evidence of fossils ... We view our data [the fossil record] as so bad that we never see the very process we profess to study."
As recently as 1991, Robert Wesson, in his book, Beyond Natural Selection, wrote, "Large evolutionary innovations are not well understood. None has ever been observed, and we have no idea whether any may be in progress. There is no good fossil record of any."
By the way, these are not Christian writers.
C. The total fossil evidence of the "missing link" (that is, the transitional form that supposedly existed somewhere between us and the apes) would fit on a pool table.
Since the end of the last century, paleontologists have discovered bone fragments from which they have inferred a creature who is the missing link. Java Man, Piltdown Man, Nebraska Man, Peking Man, Neanderthal Man, Ramapithecus, Australopithecus (affectionately named Lucy) - all of these have been created from a few pieces of skull or skeleton fragments. If the theory is right, there ought to be thousands of these things complete. Instead, there's a lot left to the imagination.
But as Dr. Tim White, of UC Berkeley's Laboratory for Human Evolutionary Studies admitted, "The evidence is so fragmentary, and the dating of it has been so poor ... you could accommodate the fossil record to whatever point of view you had."
And that quote, friends, gets to the heart of the matter - you can accommodate the data to fit whatever point of view you have. What most people don't realize is that there isa point of view - a hidden bias - at work among many who ascribe to the theory of evolution. And that is that special creation is impossible.
One of the modern proponents of evolution said it like this, "Evolution is unproved and unprovable. We believe in it because the only alternative is special creation, and that is unthinkable." Yes, it's unthinkable, because if creation is true, then there is a God to whom you must answer.
I like the way Michael Behe responds to this (and remember he's a biochemist, not a theologian), "It is often said that science must avoid any conclusions which smack of the supernatural. But this seems to me to be both bad logic and bad science. Science is not a game in which arbitrary rules are used to decide what explanations are to be permitted. Rather, it is an effort to make true statements about physical reality."
"It was only about sixty years ago," he writes, "that the expansion of the universe was first observed. This fact immediately suggested a singular event - that at some time in the distant past the universe began expanding from an extremely small size. To many people, this inference was loaded with overtones of a supernatural event - the creation, the beginning of the universe. Nonetheless, the Big Bang hypothesis was embraced by physics and over the years has proven to be a very fruitful paradigm."
And then he concludes, "It is a shock to us in the twentieth century to discover, from observations science has made, that the fundamental mechanisms of life cannot be ascribed to natural selection, and therefore were designed. But we must deal with our shock as best we can and go on. The theory of undirected evolution is already dead, but the work of science continues."
What's he saying? There are too many holes in the theory of evolution - let's get over it and search for the truth, wherever it may lie.
So, what is the truth? Many Christians would say that the truth is the story of Creation as told in the opening pages of the Bible. But is there any proof that Creation is true? Let's look at just one aspect of the creation story that makes sense of what we know from the fossil record.
Genesis 1:6-7 (NKJV) Then God said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters." 7 Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so.
Many interpreters believe that this means that God - after he had put water on the face of the earth - created a protective covering over the earth, sort of a vapor canopy at the top of the atmosphere.
Some scientists have postulated that this canopy would result in a subtropical world without the hostile elements of nature, sort of a greenhouse effect. According to this framework, the canopy filtered out the radiation that now penetrates to the earth from outer space. It was in three layers: an outer ozone layer thicker than it is today, a central water vapor layer trapping long wave earth rays, and an inner atmosphere with a higher concentration of carbon dioxide and water vapor. This inner atmosphere covered the earth like a warm blanket, and watered the earth with dew.
Genesis 2:6 (NKJV) but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.
D. Interestingly enough, the fossil record indicates subtropical plants all over the world. Tropical forests, complete with fruit trees, have been uncovered in the frozen tundra of New Siberian Islands north of Russia. The freezing process occurred so quickly that there are still green leaves and fruit on some of the trees.
Palm trees have been found in the ice north of Norway. At the South Pole, archeological digs have discovered forests with tree trunks up to three feet in diameter. This is what you would expect if the earth was covered by a canopy. And where there are plants, you'd expect to find animals.
Interestingly enough, thousands of animals have been unearthed in ice-covered parts of the world. In both Siberia and Alaska the remains of gigantic camels, lions, horses, mammoths, tigers and bison have been found frozen in ice and mud. By the way, many of those creatures died so quickly that their mouths were still full of food. Others had undigested plants and flowers in their stomachs.
In December of 1994, a large carnivorous dinosaur was unearthed in - of all places - the Sahara desert? What's a dinosaur doing in the desert? It wasn't always a desert.
David Moore observes that the radiation filtering process of this vapor canopy would have radically altered the aging and dying process. Everything would have lived longer, and a lot of things would have been larger than we know them.
The evidence from the fossil record indicates that plants and animals at one time grew to gigantic proportions. For example, if a reptile keeps growing until it dies, and if a reptile lives for hundreds of years ... what do you get? Monstrous reptiles - dinosaurs.
The record indicates that moss-like plants grew to be three feet tall, and asparagus stalks grew to be 40 feet tall. Pigs were once as big as cows, some birds were eleven feet long, and cockroaches were a foot long.
This canopy obviously produced a world much different than ours. Well, what happened to it? According to the Bible, God did something pretty dramatic. He wiped out the world.
Interestingly enough, the end of the tropical paradise is consistent with the biblical account of a worldwide flood. In fact, the earth has many features which can be explained as a result of a gigantic flood - "the most cataclysmic and literally earth-shaking event that the world has ever experienced" - as one writer puts it - an event which could have formed deep ocean trenches, most of the earth's mountains, and many other amazing features.
Genesis 7:11-12 (NKJV) In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. 12 And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.
Some scientists think that the Biblical flood could have been the result of a combination of the fall of the water vapor canopy and bursting forth of subterranean springs in the ocean. This would have caused an instantaneous blizzard at the poles. Studies of the quick-frozen animals in the Arctic suggest that they were peacefully grazing on summer buttercups when a sudden freeze of temperatures in excess of -150 degrees overcame them in a space of a half hour.
According to Douglas Sharp, during the flood, the creatures with the highest density would be buried first such as shellfish, followed by sea creatures, amphibians, reptiles, then land animals, which would escape to higher ground before burial took place. The moving water also provides a mechanism for sorting and selecting deposits. The settling velocity of large particles is directly related to their size, density, and spherical shape. With tides of 5,000 to 10,000 feet, there would be much displacement of soil. Tremendous pressures were placed upon all the buried matter, petrifying wood and fossilizing everything in a matter of hours. The sedimentary sequence represents this order; successive layers laid down in massive tidal depositions of sediment.
Every continent is covered with thick layers of strata, which shows that the flooding took place on a massive, global scale. By the way, strata are not being formed today, except on a very small scale at the mouth of rivers.
Marine fossils are found all over the world - even in the Himalayas - 20,000 feet tall. Hundreds of sharks are buried in Ohio - not exactly beachfront property.
Charles Darwin, when asked to explain the fossil evidence, could only state: "I can give no satisfactory answer." At one point, he admitted: "Nature may almost be said to have guarded against the frequent discovery of her transitional or linking forms."
So What? At this point, a skeptic could say, "So what? What does all this prove? Does it prove that God really did create everything?" NO, you can't prove that God created the world, that is an issue of faith:
Hebrews 11:3 (NKJV) By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
Believing that God created the world is a matter of faith, but there are many strong arguments that teach that the world was created by God. For example, there is the "cosmological argument". This is an argument from cause to effect. The name comes from the Greek word kosmos, which refers to the created order. The cosmological argument states that the things which we see had a cause. In other words, things do not come into being by themselves, but are caused to come into being. By this argument you can trace all caused things back to the first cause. By definition the first cause would be uncaused. Therefore the first cause is God.
Then there is what is known as the "teleological argument". This is the argument from order and design. The best illustration of this argument is the story of my watch.
Once upon a time my watch was merely a number of disorganized elements and metals lying on a dusty road. Over the process of time, it began to take shape. A few dinosaurs trotting along that dusty road kicked a few of the metals together. Some cavemen in the nearby area passed that way and their shoeless feet kicked a few more elements together. Well, over billions and billions of years this watch began to take shape. Because of the forces acting upon it, the sun, the rain, the wind, and the weather, it began to evolve. It developed hands, and a face, but no legs. Then one day it started ticking. I came along, picked it up, and put it on. And it's been running ever since. Let me ask you, do you believe the story of my watch?
This is what the teleological argument for the existence of God is about. It is an argument from design. It argues that a thing which has obvious order and purpose must have been designed by a designer. While you might ask where a rock found on a path came from, you would never think in the same terms if it were a watch. A watch implies a watchmaker. A watch is a thing of order and purpose. Yet, there are many things far more complicated, orderly, and purposeful than watches. The idea that a watch may have evolved is ludicrous. Yet, compared to the human eye, a watch is a most elementary structure. Is it not then more logical to think of ourselves as part of a creation made by a creator than part of some cosmic accident? Someone said that the best reply to an atheist is to give him a good dinner and ask him if he believes there is a chef who prepared it.
The evidence is very strong on the side of creation. But we know that God created everything because the Bible says He did:
Genesis 1:1 (NKJV) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
And with that statement the Word of God, holy Scripture, affirms the existence of the universe and everything in it as the product of God's created act. It's a very important statement. This verse, I'll say it again, affirms the existence of the universe and everything in it as the product of God's created act. We are here shown in this verse that evolution, the dominant theory of science, is not true. What exists, exists not because it evolved, but because God created it.
What difference does it make if God created us and not evolution? If God really does exist, and God did create the world and everything in it, than everyone is accountable and answerable to God the Creator:
Psalms 33:6-9 (NKJV) By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. 7 He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deep in storehouses. 8 Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. 9 For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.
If God created us, then we are accountable for the life we live. And that means that we'd better know who this God is and what it takes to please Him.
If evolution is true, there is no such thing as "right and wrong," only "the survival of the fittest." Any ultimate right and wrong must come from God. Evolution precludes the need for God, and so there is no ultimate right and wrong. The question we ask is no longer: "Is this right? Is this wrong?" but rather "Will this help me survive?" I can kill someone in cold blood, and if it helps me survive, there's nothing wrong with it. The only criteria is "does this help me survive?" And anything that does, no matter how devious or evil or horrific, is fine.
If the Bible is true, then right is right and wrong is wrong. There is a God and He is the ultimate Judge of morality and sin. I am not free to do whatever I want because I know that someday I will have to stand before Him in judgment.
I believe God exists because it is reasonable to believe so. The arguments for the existence of God make sense to me. But I believe God exists, because I have met Him. That convinces me far more than any philosophical or scientific argument ever could. If you're here today with your mind made up, I will not be able to convince you with the most rational of arguments. If, however, you are open to test the waters for yourself, I can point you to hundreds, thousands, even millions of people who will testify that they have personally found a living God who has made a difference in their lives. Without God, life is meaningless. If it is true that God does not exist, then you only go around once and then you die, and it's over! But in God all that changes. Life takes on meaning and purpose. We live forever as eternal beings. This life is not all there is. The Bible teaches that there is a heaven and a hell.
A poll done by The Minneapolis Star Tribune a few years ago found that 65% of the people in Minnesota believed in hell. That is a pretty high number. Only 15%, however, said they knew someone who would be a sure bet to go there, and only 3% felt that they themselves deserved to end up in hell. In other words, most folks accept hell as a reality, they just don't see it as a danger.
That would be funny if it wasn't so sad. People believe in Hell, but they don't think they'd end up there. But the Bible teaches that every human being ever born is born spiritually dead and will end up in Hell, unless they are born again.
John 3:3 (NKJV) Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
The same Bible that teaches that God created everything also teaches that everyone born will die and go to Hell, unless they personally trust in Jesus Christ for their salvation.
1 John 3:23 (NKJV) And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.
God created the world, and He created man, and there was a perfect harmonious relationship that was established. God enjoyed perfect communion and fellowship with Adam, Adam walked with God and enjoyed perfect harmony with him. But then something came between God and man, Adam turned his back on God's will and sinned. Sin broke the relationship that existed between man and God, their fellowship was severed, man became alienated from God. Because God is holy, he turned his back upon man, man died spiritually. This condition was introduced into the human race, and death passed upon all men.
Romans 5:12 (NKJV) "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned;"
Every person born into this world is born a sinner, who is spiritually dead, separated from God. Man, in this condition of spiritual death, can do nothing to appease God's wrath or earn God's favor, he is spiritually bankrupt.
Because of this condition, God introduced a program to redeem man, God invaded human history in the form of the man Christ Jesus. This Jesus lived a sinless life and then died a substitutionary death at Calvary. On that cross Jesus took upon himself our sin and received the judgement of God that we deserved as sinners. Because he was an innocent infinite sufferer, he satisfied fully and completely the righteous demands of a holy God. Believing sinners are declared righteous through redemption on the basis of propitiation. Propitiation is the removal of wrath by the offering of a sacrifice. It is the turning of God's wrath away from the sinner by a sacrifice made to satisfy God.
Romans 3:23-27 (NKJV) "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith."
God's justice was satisfied by the death of Jesus Christ, sin had been paid for. Man can now once again have fellowship with God through faith in the sacrificial work of Christ. Heaven can be a present possession through faith in what Christ has done.
People, since God created us, the only way to really live is to live in faith trusting Him for our redemption and to walk in fellowship with him as we obey his commands.