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May 28, 2006

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Theistic evolution?

INTRODUCTION:
A young homeschooled daughter of a subscriber from down-under wrote recently, asking for some help in the area of evolution vs creation, including arguments from a friend with whom she is having a 'debate'. It's been awhile since we've addressed evolution; and as I look it up at the website, it doesn't look like we've ever addressed "theistic" evolution; so let's do so here. The Questions/Arguments will be from the daughter and/or her friend. There is also an underlying context, in that the friend was sent to the "Answers in Genesis" website for a lot of things.



READER QUESTION:
Im writing because I really need some help, and I thought that you might be the best person to ask. I have a friend in England, and she is Catholic (Im a Born-Again Christian). She started the topic of Evolution versus Creation. She keeps saying that she believes that God created the universe, but He used evolution to do it, and to her, its not even important how He did it, the fact is He did.

Ive tried explaining to her the importance of Creation and that you cant believe that God used Evolution to create the universe and still believe what the Bible says.

VW ANSWER:
What your friend believes is often called "theistic evolution". When evolution first came out, there was a strict division between Christians and the world. Then along the way, certain churches began to fall away theologically, not holding strictly to the important doctrines of God's existence and the authority of the Bible; and back in the 50s and 60s they were called (liberal) "modernistic" churches. While they were debating God's existence, some of the famous theologians also started proclaiming that "God is dead" While they were thus going into doctrinal compromise, trying to pretend to believe in the Bible, but also wanting the other foot in the world, in order to not be considered as "strange" by all the 'wise' people of the world, they began to embrace evolution....but with the twist, as your friend has said: that God -used- evolution as His creative method.


FRIEND's ARGUMENT:
But to me whats important is that God created the world - I dont know how, and that doesnt matter to me, but I know he did. As for Genesis, again I think that is just a story that shows us that it was god who created the world. The Genesis account is what, at the time of writing, they'd have believed about how the world was created. I dont take the Bible literally, I look at the message (after all, if you did there would be contradictions).

VW ANSWER:
First of all, this closing parentheses: Have you asked her -WHAT- "contradictions"? ...or is she merely spouting off what she's been told? (But be careful about actually asking her, because she may produce a list...over which you could then end up spending a lot of wasted time to answer them. They are all answerable (I've seen them...there are many websites that post such lists), but a person can waste a lot of valuable time with it; and Paul warned against such useless arguments and wranglings. 1Tim6:5, 20, etc)

Not taking the Bible "literally" is one of the catholic church's specialties. As one of their prime doctrines, they believe: If there are two differing beliefs, one in the Bible, and the other based on their church 'traditions', they will choose 'tradition' over the Bible. That is in their catechisms.

And so, naturally, if the Bible is not taken 'literally', that leaves everything wide open to be able to receive evolution...or anything else a person might have a whim for.

True...we can read the Biblical account of creation, and believe it... but, do we fully understand it? Not hardly. It is part of God's ways....which we do not yet know. But just because we don't fully understand God, doesn't mean, suddenly, that the Bible is not to be trusted. Just because we don't understand it doesn't make the Bible false; it just means we don't understand it....yet.

e.g. Do you understand how an automatic transmission on a car works? If you are a typical 15 year old girl I'm going to assume the answer is, "no"? But does lack of knowing how it works, keep a person from being able to put the car in gear, and drive it? Does one refuse to ride in a car, because a person doesn't understand how it works, therefore it must be designed differently than it, actually, is...? Silly! you say? Indeed! It's the same with creation. We may not understand it, but that is no reason to assume the Bible is false. And as a matter of fact, there is a lot more evidence to support the Biblical accounts, than there is for evolution.

There is not a single piece of actual physical evidence that can support evolution; scientifically or biologically. And their theories are totally mathematically statistically improbably impossible. Whereas, -everything- they claim as "evidence" for evolution, rather, instead, is strong support, both scientifically and geologically, for Noah's flood. And this argument, too, is found in the Bible. (We'll come to that in a moment)

Let's first get the UN-understandable part out of the way. And then see how 'specific' the Bible is. The Bible even foretold that evolution would be taught in the last days, and gives the 'answer' to it.

"In the beginning was the Word....the Word was God...all things were made through Him" (Jn1:1-4) "Word" is another name for Jesus. And I'm sure you remember in reading from the Gospels how often Jesus would say, "I -say- unto you...." take up your bed and walk; be healed; demon come out; etc. He did things by -speaking- the words.

God is the one who "...[upholds] all things by the -WORD- of His power" (Heb1:3) In the creative account it says, "And God -SAID-" and it happened. (Ge1:3,6,etc)

That's the part I don't understand. If I -say- something, nothing happens. That's because I am not God; there is no 'power' in my words. But creation happened when God -spoke- things into existence. That is part of God's essence. He is eternal, and He -declares- eternity: "...declaring the end from the beginning, and from antiquity things which are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure" (Is46:10)

We may not understand it, but we receive it by faith: "By faith we understand that the universe was prepared by the Word of God, so that the things which are seen did not come into existence from things which are visible." (Heb11:3)

So...let's get down to business.....

One of the primary foundations of evolution is a term called: "uniformitarianism" The part out of that word, "uniform"... things are the "same". The belief is that, if something is observed today, that the rate at which things are happening today, is the same rate at which they have always happened. If a river erodes a canyon at 1 inch per year today, it has been 1 inch per year for millions of years. If sediment has piled someplace at 1/4 inch per year, it's been that rate for millions of years. There is no room in their theories for extraordinary events.

One notable curiosity to that theory: I don't have the exact specs now, but read it some years ago. The moon in its orbit around earth is ever inching 'away' from earth. The distance between earth and moon is continually getting greater and greater. Eventually, if things were to continue at their present pace, I suppose it's conceivable the moon would fly away, totally free of earth's gravity. By the same token, if a person reversed those calculations, some 85-million years ago (not billions of years) the moon would have been so close to the earth that it would have been skimming along, breaking off the tops of trees and likely decapitating the taller dinosaurs....not to mention the impossibility of anything to not be totally crushed and mangled in the gravitational interactions even a long time before the moon was ever that close.

Peter says: "knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were since the beginning of creation. For of this they are willfully ignorant: that by the Word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same Word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men." (2Pet3:3-7)

  1. all things continue as they were since the beginning of creation. That's uniformitarianism

  2. the world...perished, being flooded with water. Noah's flood
Those who teach evolution, do they not "scoff" at the Bible. According to this, and a lot of other things we see in the world, as prophesied in the Bible, do we not also know that we are in the "last days". Do people today not live according to "lusts", more than at any other time in history. Even among so-called "christians" are there not many who teach that there will be NO RAPTURE... "where is the promise of His coming".

It is in that historical context that they are proclaiming "uniformitarianism". That's today. Evolution. And what is Peter's response to evolution (uniformitarianism)? The flood.

And before we go into that more, notice the little tidbit Peter says, which is likely a reason that a whole lot more argument you may carry on with your friend may be fruitless. Peter says that they are "willfully ignorant". They don't want the truth. It's just like the current deal, the DaVinci Code....which has been documented by the world's own reporters to be totally false and full of lies...and yet people go see it, coming back "willfully" believing DaVinci, and saying they are going to stop giving any more credence to the Bible....even though their own (unbelieving) reporters have documented that DaVinci is packed-full of lies. So, don't necessarily expect your friend to be won over, no matter HOW MUCH information you may give her. If she -wants- to believe in evolution, no amount of Truth will convince her otherwise.

One of the biggest "proofs" for evolution is alleged to be the sedimentation layers and the fossils they contain. Species are said to evolve from one to the other. But for all the fossils they have, all the various species by themselves, there are -no- 'transition' fossils. You have been sending your friend to Answers in Genesis. One of their speakers was in the area about a year ago, and I went to hear him. He showed a chart of all the various species and generational "trees". I'm sure you've seen them, too? But he made a big deal of a glaring omission. A "missing link". Absolutely NO EVIDENCE of any 'transitional' phases in the fossil records. A fish is always a fish, a mammal always a mammal, a bird always a bird, etc. Absolutely no fossil evidence of 'hybrids'.

If you've read any of the 'technical' stuff at AiG (they have a lot of writers that produce a lot of stuff I don't understand), you've likely seen how "carbon dating" is also a flawed dating method. The very most that TRUE SCIENCE has been able to count backwards through all their testing methods, is about 10,000 years.

On the other hand, if one forgets uniformitarianism, and considers a global flood of the magnitude that Genesis records, and as geology evidences all over the earth, it is easy to understand how all those 'layers' of sediment could have been deposited in a relatively short period of a year or so, as the waters were sloshing back and forth, depositing the remains of variously-sized animals at various regular intervals. Anybody who has seen the aftermath of a heavy thundershower and seen how deep creases get gouged out of a hillside in the space of a few minutes, can easily understand how something as huge as a global flood could carve out some of the huge gorges, like America's Grand Canyon, and so-forth.

At AiG you can also find writings that tell of fossils that came about within short periods of time like a couple/few years....not "millions/billions". Not to mention the other 'problem'....most animal parts (skin and bones) typically 'rot' within a few years when in moist earth. The "millions" of years they claim is necessary for fossilization? It can't possibly happen the way they claim...the stuff would 'rot' way before it would ever fossilize.

Regarding creation: Not only did God tell us -that- 'He' did it; but He also recorded the account in exquisite detail. God did not leave things to chance, for people of one era to believe one thing, and now we believe something else....with our 'newer' science.

The records of the six days of creation are put together in a very interesting way in the Hebrew. We miss out on that, because our English Bibles are written, line after line, verse after verse, all right next to each other. But each day's account is clumped together by itself, physically. As though a person might come to a file cabinet, open a drawer, and see bunches of folders. One 'folder' would have "day one". Another 'folder' would have "day two". Each folder with its own label.

The wording is also very interesting. In English we have words like: day, week, month, year. But in the Hebrew the word "yowm" can mean day, year, period of time, lifetime, today, yesterday, etc. The same word can denote a "day" or also a "year" or "eon".

Thus, seeing as how God is very precise with His language, He -defines- what that "period of time" is, by saying "the evening and the morning". This is a very scientific and historical way of recording the events, so that there can be no mixing-it-up.

e.g. When one looks at a map, how do they know "how far" it is from Point-A to Point-B? By the "scale of miles". One inch equals X-number of miles. So then a person can take a ruler, measure the distance, and calculate based on that "scale of miles" legend down in the corner.

This is another argument the 'theistic evolutionists' wrangle with their words: that the word "day" in Genesis ch1, in our Bibles, does not mean a 24-hour period of time; but they will translate those events, making a "day" into a period of time of thousands/millions of years, thus making 'allowance' for the time required for evolution.

Thus God has given His "scale of miles" (of time). On a map an "inch" equals "miles" (in America). For the creation account, what we see translated as "day" equals "evening and morning". Perhaps they hadn't yet devised a 24-hour day, or 60 minutes in an hour, or a unit called "seconds"? But the rotation of the earth is a constant. "...the earth stands perpetually. The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, panting in a hurry to the place where it rises again" (Ec1:4-5) Supposing, for the sake of argument, that during some period of history they had a 10-hour day, where the hours were longer than ours; the sunrise/sunset still determines the "day". Supposing they had "watches" in the night; their lengths were determined ultimately by the sunrise/sunset. And the fact that the earth's rotation is a 'constant', within a very narrow tolerance, has been determined by the world's own scientific calculations: If it rotated any slower, or faster than it does today, life as we know it would not exist. There is a certain 'balance' between gravitation of the earth's "sphere" shape, centrifugal forces, light, dark, and temperature extremes and for how-many-hours at a time, that dictate that the rotation of the earth -has- to have been a fairly close-tolerance constant.

Thus, as one reads through Genesis ch1, each day is closed by a very unique turn of words. If we were to consider a 'literal-paraphrase' of it, it might read something like: 1) Here is the account, blah, blah, blah. This account being a period of time defined by one cycle of the setting and rising of the sun. 2) Here is the account, blah, blah, blah. Another period of time defined by one cycle of the setting and rising of the sun. 3) Here is the account.... The third next period of time defined by one cycle.....you get the picture.

And you notice that -each- day closes with this same word pattern; leaving no doubt that -all- six creation days were the same length.... what we know today as a 24-hour period of time. There is no room for somebody to fudge with 'meanings' and alleged 'ambiguities' for speculation.

There really is NO EVIDENCE to prove evolution. But there is a lot to support the Biblical account. God -did- it... the -way- it is recorded in the Bible... even though we don't fully understand it.


FRIEND's ARGUMENT:
But I see the genesis story as a message rather than an actual account of the creation of the world - it was inline with the scientific belief at the time. Creattionism - its widely unaccepted by most people. Evolution is always taught in schools, with no excpetion (I think its a law)

VW ANSWER:
Just because something is "law", doesn't make it the Truth. Nor because 'everybody' teaches it, neither is that sufficient proof. Remember that Peter said they are "willfully" ignorant.

e.g. In our present day airplanes proliferate the skies. Supposing the history books were all destroyed, and a great war and huge earthquakes destroyed most of the evidence for airplanes, but one book remained which described airplanes... a few hundred years when all eyewitnesses had died off, the new generation decided to teach in their schools that "man cannot fly in the air", but there was that one lone book that described how man -did- fly during our present generation...but everybody in the new generation taught that "man does not fly", and the catholic church also made it 'heresy' to teach that man ever flew (e.g. the catholic church -did-, in fact, used to punish those who taught that the earth orbits the sun); would that make that one lone book 'false'? Would it make all the 'scholars' true?


FRIEND's ARGUMENT:
behind it all. I dont think God would have lied in saying it was good. The creation of the world via evolution is Good - the work of a genius

VW ANSWER:
Well....actually....no. Evolution assumes that there was -nobody- 'in charge'...that things happen by themselves, with no plan or design. Is that not the very opposite of a "genius"???


READER QUESTION:
Would you be able to help me help my friend see the truth about creation and hopefully come to Christ?

VW ANSWER:
She may -never- be 'willing' to see the Truth. It is not something that is in your control. All you can do is to be 'faithful' to give her God's Word. If she won't accept it, you cannot ram it down her throat.

God is the one who "draws" people to Jesus Christ (Jn6:44) and only God knows 'who' will come to Him, "The Lord knows those who are His" (2Tim2:19) So, leave it in His hands....and communicate with this person -as- God burdens your heart. There might even come a point where God says to you to 'stop'. God told Jeremiah on a few occasions to NOT 'pray' for Israel, because in His foreknowledge, He knew their hearts were hard, and that they were rejecting Him. (Jer7:16, 11:14, 14:11)

Not 'everybody' will be saved. As sad as that may sound, it is the truth. Have you read Mt7:13-23 lately? Notice that it is the "many" who are going to destruction, and only the "few" who make it into God's presence.

By Scriptural definition, it requires "faith" to believe in Creation (Heb11:3); even though there is also VERY MUCH -physical- 'evidence' to support the Scriptural account. The reason Evolution proliferates is because the "...natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he is not able to know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1Co2:14) ...and most of the world "lies in wickedness" (1Jn5:19)


CONCLUSION:
If a person is going to claim to believe that God "made the heavens and the earth" (Ex20:11, 1Ch16:26, Neh9:6) "by the Word of Jehovah...by the breath of His mouth" (Ps33:6); then, by definition, they will also believe His own account concerning 'how' He did it. God did it, and through His Holy Spirit the account was written down by His "holy men" (2Pet1:21)

The record is found in Genesis, Job38-41, Is40, Ps8; 19:1-6, and many other such passages throughout the Scriptures.

The primary argument against evolution (although there are many passages) is 2Pet3:3-8 ...and in this Q/A we also did not address the concept of the 6 days of creation vs the 6000 year span of the "with the Lord one days is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (vs8)

A person cannot (by definition) claim to believe in God, and that He created all things; and also embrace evolution. God did it, and His Word, the Scriptures, tells how. Evolution is the antithesis of God. It's sorta like that other recent observation about "christian yoga", claiming a yoga that is minus Hinduism. Yoga, by definition, -is- Hindu. In similar fashion, evolution, by definition, is God-less; it is atheistic. To claim to believe in "theistic evolution" is to claim to believe in "theistic atheism". e.g. unwet water, coldless cold, heatless heat, unhungry hunger, etc. BY DEFINITION, it is NOT POSSIBLE.

e.g. A person stands before a forum, describes in detail how he built some gadget/gizmo, shows diagrams, illustrates how it works, provides a list of material resources, and writes a manual on the whole thing, and distributes the manual. So then, the 'scholars' find this gizmo, and its accompanying manual; they read the manual; but not believing the manual to be 'literal' (even though the manual has a photograph of the gizmo, printed model number matching those on the gizmo, and it does things and responds to input just the way the manual says), they then set about to try to figure out 'how' the gizmo was put together and come up with theories and teach them...essentially suggestiong that one day suddenly, Sh'zamm!, 'something' (unexplainable) 'happened' (Bang!), and over a period of improbable time and with statistically impossible odds, this gizmo just appeared...BY ITSELF. Any reasonable person believes the 'literalness' of the manual: they read it, and it agrees with the evidence of the device and how it works.

"...because what may be known of God is clearly recognized by them, for God has revealed it to them. For ever since the creation of the world the unseen things of Him are clearly perceived, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they know God, they do not glorify Him as God, nor are thankful, but become vain in their reasonings, and their stupid hearts are darkened. PROFESSING TO BE WISE, THEY BECOME FOOLISH, and change the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man, and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gives them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who change the truth of God into the lie, and fear and serve the created things more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen." (Rom1:19-25)

Other "evolution" topics at the website

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Eve 6000 years old?

Mailing from: "Answers in Genesis" (5/27/06)

Evolutionist quote of the week

    "But the reports of Eve's death may have been greatly exaggerated. Indeed, no one argues with the idea that all modern humans inherited their mitochondrial DNA from one common female ancestor. But what is in dispute is the hypothesis first put forth in 1987 by molecular anthropologist Allan Wilson of University of California, Berkeley who claimed to know Eve's age and whereabouts-that she lived about 200,000 years ago in Africa."

    Ann Gibbons, Mitochondrial Eve: Wounded, But Not Dead Yet, Science, Vol. 257, p. 873, August 14, 1992.

Q: Why would evolutionists be interested in Eve?

A: Over recent years, scientists have conducted a lot of research on DNA that is found in the mitochondria of a cell. This DNA is only inherited through females. By comparing mutations (or mistakes) in the DNA of people worldwide, scientists came to a startling conclusion-it looks as if all people living today are descended from one woman & and scientists have called her Eve!

Yet there's a remarkable new twist.

Based upon mutation rates, scientists once claimed that this ancestral Eve lived hundreds of thousands of years ago. But a more recent study claims that the rate of mutations in man is actually twenty times higher than originally estimated. What does this mean? Using this new figure for mutation rates, the ancestral "mother of all,"as they call her, lived a mere 6,000 years ago!

Of course, the evolutionary scientists don't accept this new figure, but it's no surprise to creationists that this research supports the Bible's teaching that there was a first woman, Eve, created about 6,000 years ago.

in more detail: "A Shrinking Date for Eve"

VW:
Amazing stuff, huh! But for us, who believe God's Word, not-at-all surprising! Up until this "Eve" revelation, various other scientific methodologies had a certain error 'tolerance' factor that brought the evidence in, back 10,000 years; a lot closer than their B/Millions of years. I kept wondering 'what' might be uncovered to narrow it down to the more precise (Biblical) 6000 years; and here we have it. I also always keep wondering what sorts of new archaeological 'evidence' is going to be "newly discovered" to prove yet some other aspect of the Biblical record. Perhaps, from some of those huge earthquakes that are yet prophesied?

We keep staying tuned....!

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