Examining the Origins Controversy (1) 

In 1981, a poll found that no less than 86% of the people wanted creation to be taught alongside evolution in the public schools.  Now let’s fast forward to 2000 where another poll, commissioned by a liberal civil rights group, showed 79% of the people felt that the scientific evidence for creation should be included in the curriculum of public schools (http://www.apologeticspress.org/pdfs/courses_pdf/hsc0105.pdf).  Another online source made this observation: “Despite the fact that fewer than half of Americans personally believe in evolution, a solid majority over the past 20 years has supported the teaching of both accounts of the origins of life, including evolution.  Poll questions have typically asked if creationism should be taught along with evolution, and majorities ranging from 57% to 68% say that it should” (http://people-press.org/commentary?analysisid=118).  Now isn't it interesting that the majority of Americans, although taught only evolution in our public schools for the past 25 years, have been consistent in saying that the alternative of creation should also be taught!  This morning we want to talk some more about origins. In the introduction, four areas will be considered: an impossibility, an explanation, some predictions, and an approach.  Then five biblical areas will be examined to answer this question: Is the earth old or young?  We'll look at some other areas in future lessons.

Alright, the first area was an impossibility.  It is impossible to prove scientifically our two current proposals concerning origins.  Those two proposals are evolution and creation.  Now most scientists and textbooks present origins from evolution as fact and origins from creation as faith.  Yet, what criteria must be met for a theory to be considered scientific in the usual sense?  Most scientists say such criteria consist of three tests: 1) the process involved must be capable of observation, 2) the process involved must be tested with experimentation, 3) the process involved must be confirmed with verification (which involves more experimentation).  Now, we must concede that the process of creation has not been observed by any person, nor has it been tested experimentally, nor has it been verified through more experimentation.  But when we apply the same criteria to the process of evolution, the same result occurs!  There were no humans who saw life come into existence through some primitive soup of acids, nor did anyone see the conversion of a fish into an amphibian.  Evolution has been postulated, but it has never been observed.  Notice, no one has produced or witnessed such changes.  So, evolution fails the observation test.  Since it can't be observed and mutants can't be produced, it will also fail the experimental test.  Well, what about verification?  It is a theory that may look plausible and consistent, but further experimentation has not given it verification.  So the conclusion of a British evolutionist is accurate: “The fact of evolution is the backbone of biology, and biology is thus in the peculiar position of being a science founded upon an unproved theory—is it then a science or faith?  Belief in the theory of evolution is thus exactly parallel to belief in special creation—both are concepts which believers know to be true but neither, up to the present, has been capable of proof [and I think he means scientific proof].”  It is impossible to prove either of these proposals scientifically.  Regardless of what the scientists claim or the textbooks present, both proposals are matters of faith!  Maybe a diagram will help us see how both proposals take faith:

DUST-----  time = instantaneous ----->  MAN = CREATION

SOUP----- time = 300 million years ---> MAN = SCIENCE

Those who believe in God, however, can affirm with the writer of Hebrews: “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” (Hebrews 11:30).

Now on to an explanation.  Another scientist has observed: “A more proper approach is to think in terms of two scientific models, the evolution model and the creation model.  A 'model' is a conceptual framework, an orderly system of thought, within which one tries to correlate observable data, and even to predict data” (Morris).  So our proposals now become models, and these models can be assessed in a more scientific manner.  In other words, observable data can be correlated with the model to see how well its framework will stand.  So let's take a few minutes to explain the evolution model and the creation model.  The evolution model “attempts to explain the origin, development, and meaning of all things in terms of natural laws and processes which operate today as they have in the past with great uniformity.  No special activities or external agents are permitted. The universe, in all its aspects, evolves itself gradually into higher levels of interrelated order (from particles to people) by means of its innate properties (mechanisms within itself that promote such self-transformation).  The primary mechanism for higher levels is beneficial mutations” (Morris).  So, we can summarize the evolution model as naturalistic, self-contained, non-purposive, upwardly directional, interrelational, gradual, uniform, and continuing.  The creation model proposes “a period of special creation in the beginning, during which all the basic laws and categories of nature, including the major kinds of plants and animals, as well as man, were brought into existence by special creative and integrative processes which are no longer in operation [through an external and personal force known as God].  Once the creation was finished, the processes of creation were replaced by processes of conservation, which were designed by the Creator, to sustain and maintain the basic systems He had created.  The basic principle of disintegration and catastrophe are now at work in nature (from the perfect primitive creation to the imperfect present creation)” (Morris).  So, we can summarize the creation model as super-naturalistic, externally controlled, purposive, downwardly directional, non-relational, instantaneous, and completed.  Now we can compare these two models, and we see this diagram:

Evolution Model                            Creation Model

Naturalistic
                                   Super-naturalistic

Self-contained
                               Externally controlled


Non-purposive
                              
Purposive

Upwardly directional                    
Downwardly directional

Inter-related                                 
Non-relational

Gradual                                        
 Instantaneous

Uniform                                         
Catastrophic

Continuing                                     
Completed

This leads us to some predictions.  Models can be useful to help one predict what might be discovered.  To do this, one should imagine that neither an evolutionist nor a creationist will know in advance what will be found.  They will both make predictions based on their models, as to what will be found in the current data.  So here is another diagram with each of their predictions
(Morris):

     Category
Galactic Universe

Star Structures
Earth Structures
Earth's Age    
Appearance of Life
Array of Organism
Kinds of Life
Mutations   
Natural Selection
Fossil Record
 
Appearance of Man
Nature of Man
Civilization
     Evolution Model 
Galaxies changing  
Changing into other types
Building up
Billions of yrs. of uniformity
Gradual from non-life
Interrelated organisms
New kinds appearing

Beneficial
Creative process
    Innumerable transitions
Ape-Man intermediaries
Similar to animals
Slow and gradual  
     Creation Model
Galaxies constant

Stars remain unchanged
Breaking down
1000s of yrs. of
catastrophe

Instantaneous from life
Distinct kinds of organisms

No new kinds appearing
Harmful
Conservative process
Systematic gaps
No ape-human intermediaries
Distinct from animals
Contemporaneous with man

So this now leads us to an approach.  Listen to what a scientist suggest: “Normally, ... the model which correlates the greater number of data, with the smallest number of unresolved contradictory data, would be accepted as the more probably correct” (Morris).  Here's the models’ predictions, here's the observable data, now the model which comes closer to explaining reality with the least amount of contradiction should be the right one.  “When this procedure is carefully followed, the creation model will always fit the facts as well as or usually even better than will the evolution model” (Morris).  This is the approach that will be taken in subsequent lessons.  We'll compare predictions and observable data in certain areas to see how well the frameworks will stand.  That's a rather lengthy introduction, so thank you for your patience.  If something is unclear to you, please let me know later, and I'll do my best to clarify.

In a previous lesson, we saw that Genesis 1 is historical, describing only one creation, and that creation took place during a six 24-hour day time-frameThis brings us to another interesting question: “Is our earth old or young?”  The evolution model says that it's billions of years old, and its present processes are the key to its past processes, geologically speaking.  The creation model says that the earth is only thousands of years old, and there are catastrophes that could well have a part in geological formations.  In this lesson, let's consider some BIBLICAL DATA that support the creation model.  In future lessons, we'll examine some other types of natural data.  But for today, let's consider five areas of biblical data.


The first area is Genesis' genealogies.  Man has always been interested trying to determine the earth's age.  In Genesis chapters 5 and 11, there are genealogies that can help to determine the times from Adam to the Flood, and from the Flood to Abraham.  Many times people say that there are gaps in these records, but really there is only one name left out of Genesis 5, and Luke fills in that gap in his genealogy of Jesus.  Men of faith have used these genealogies in the past to determine the earth's age.  Africanus in 240 AD calculated 5,501 years, Eusebius in 330 AD calculated 5,199, and probably the most famous calculation is that of James Ussher who in about 1650 calculated it at 4,004.  The reason their dates often differed is that some used numbers in the Greek translation of the Old Testament and some used the Hebrew text.  Recently, a Scottish teacher and an American preacher both calculated 4,172 years.  Here's how they do it.  Assyrian records and biblical records correlate to fix the death of King Ahab at 853 BC, and this helps put Solomon's reign at 970-930 BC.  According to 1 Kings 6:1, 480 years before Solomon's fourth year of reign, Moses brought the Israelites out of Egypt, so 966 + 480 = 1446 BC.  To this date is added the years of slavery in Egypt, which Exodus 12:40 puts at 430, so 1446 + 430 = 1876 BC.  Jacob tells Pharaoh that he was 130, and Isaac was 60 when he begat Jacob, and Abraham was 100 when he begat Isaac, so adding 1876 + 290 = 2166 BC for Abraham's birth.  The numbers from the genealogy in Genesis 11 will total 350 if you take Terah's age at 130 for Abraham and not 70 for his firstborn.  And the numbers in chapter 5 total 1656.  So, this gives us 2166 + 350 + 1656 = 4,172 BC.  Now add 2008 to that figure, and the earth would be 6,180 years young!  Remember our models?  Evolution predicted billions of years, but creation predicted thousands of years.  The data from the genealogies of Genesis fit with the creation model.

Now let's look at one of Jesus' comments.  It was our reading today from Mark 10:6; Jesus affirmed: “But from the beginning of the creation, male and female made He (i.e. God) them.”  “Christ thus dated the first humans from the creation week.  The Greek word for beginning is referring to the initiation of the totality of what God has created (Thompson).  So we see that “this language of Christ undoubtedly puts Adam and Eve at the very dawn of creation” (Thompson quotes Jackson).  In the next passage that we read this morning, the apostle Paul affirmed: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).  Now who was doing the observing “since the creation of the world” and who was doing the understanding and who was without excuse?  Undoubtedly, Paul was confirming what Jesus had said—that man has existed since the creation of the world.  Remember our models?  Evolution predicts life coming gradually, over millions of years, from non-life.  Creation predicts instantaneous life from life.  Paul and Jesus affirm that the same God who created the world was also the Creator of man.  The data from Jesus and Paul’s comments fit with the creation model.

Now let’s look at a comment from Peter found in 2 Peter 3:3: “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 from the beginning of creation.’  For this they willingly forget: that by the world of God the heavens were of old, and the earth stranding out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.”  Following Peter’s writings for 1800 years, all the notable universities that taught geology included the tremendous effects that the universal flood recorded in Genesis could have had on land formation.  But scientists in the 1800s began to say that all existing processes functioning at essentially the same rates as those of the present could account for all geological formations.  This outlook is called uniformitarianism.  Of course, great amounts of time would be necessary for the formation of sedimentary deposits hundreds of feet thick.  Modern dating methods began to be discovered and used to determine the earth’s age.  And of course, millions and billions of years became necessary.  So, today geologists estimate the earth’s age at 4.5 billion years based on radiometric dating.  They propose a uniform geological column with five eras.  Now do you notice the parallelism that has occurred between modern geologists and Peter’s false teachers?  What did the false teachers say?  “All things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.”  Yes, the false teachers were uniformitarians, just like the modern geologists are today.  But the false teachers had “willingly forgotten” something Peter underscored: they had forgotten that once God intervened and caused a global catastrophe; things were not as uniform as the false teachers advocated.  And our world continues to display catastrophic events that have had tremendous effects upon land formation over relatively short periods of time.  Remember our models?  Evolution says the earth’s age is billions of years old with uniformity, but the creation model says thousands of year with catastrophe.  Peter’s comments fit better with the creation model.“Yes,” says someone, “but couldn’t Adam and Eve have lived in the garden of Eden for millions of years?  After all, couldn’t they have had many children before being expelled and doesn’t Genesis 4:17 say that Cain built a city?  Now wouldn’t that take lots of time and lots of people?”  Let’s look at their stay in Eden quickly.  With regards to the first idea, it is true that the Lord told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply, but it is interesting that the birth of their children come only after their expulsion from the Garden, according to Genesis 4:1.  Remember also that Satan is called a roaring lion seeking to devour someone (1 Peter 5:8).  Now would it make for sense for Satan to bide his time for as long as he could and let Adam and Eve enjoy their close covenant relationship with God and then a warm relationship with their children, who wouldn’t know right from wrong, before making any effort to tempt them?  No, Satan was ready to strike as soon as possible, and already in chapter 3 of Genesis he is introduced.  With regard to the second idea concerning the building of a city, we often get tripped up by the world “city” for we think of a large bustling metropolis, but the Hebrew word had a broad meaning and could refer to an unimposing tent village with just a few inhabitants.  There is no need for us to try and blend the evolution model with the creation model.  All evidence that we have biblically proves that the first family’s stay in Eden was not really very long.

Lastly, let’s consider God’s mature creation.  A biologist explains this concept in this way: “When Adam came from the hand of the Creator on Friday, he had every appearance of being a mature man at least in his twenties, a man of marriageable age.  Fruit-bearing trees appeared to be at least several years old. … And the smoothed landscape with its rounded mountains and hills … from a uniformitarian viewpoint, appeared to be millions of years old.  Nevertheless, no object in the landscape was more than three solar days old. … How can we know the natural truth about the age of the earth?  Adam could learn the truth only by special revelation.  Today our students of earth science are studying an earth that came into existence unnaturally with an appearance of age.  Some 16 centuries after that creation, the surface of this earth was utterly destroyed … by the unnatural activities of Noah’s ‘Flood’.  Today it is fair to ask, ‘How is it possible to determine in natural ways the age of a surface which was both created and destroyed in unnatural ways?’  … until man accepts the necessity of special revelation regarding our natural world, he will never know the truth of the age of our earth or the origin of life upon it” (Thompson quotes Marsh).  “But,” someone might object, “if God created things with the appearance of age, wasn’t He being deceptive?”  No, not when He explains to us in Genesis 1-2 that He created things with maturity so that they could reproduce.  “But,” someone else objects again, “what about oil and fossil fuels?  Didn’t these come from real plants and animals?”  No, not necessarily.  When Jesus turned water to wine did He have to do it through grapes and a natural fermentation process?  When Jesus caused Peter to find a fish with money in its mouth to pay taxes, why could He not cause a mountain to be formed with oil already in it?  By the way, some scientists are beginning to say that fuels are abiotic—this means that they don’t come from animals but from minerals deep within the earth (Corsi and Smith).  In any case, the appearance of a mature creation does not show God being deceptive but very practical: mankind needed a habitable planet on which to live and an environment with conservation processes.  Remember our models?  Evolution says that natural selection is a creative process, but creation says that it has conservative processes.  Mature creation accurately fits the creation model.

We have seen that evolution and creation can’t be proven scientifically.  They are both faith systems.  Then, we saw how both views present models, and concepts of those models were explained.  Then, we saw how those models could be used to make predictions.  We then saw that the model which comes closer to explaining reality with the least amount of contradiction should be the right one.  The creation model predicted a young age for the earth with catastrophe.  Then, we looked at biblical data from five areas.  The data from Genesis’ genealogies, Christ’s and Paul’s comments pointing towards creation, Peter’s comment underscoring catastrophe, the first family’s stay in Eden, and God’s mature creation all fit better with the creation model’s predictions!  The writer of Psalm 95:3ff says it best, which I’d like for all of us to read together: “For the Lord is the great God, and the great King above all gods.  In His hand are the deep places of the earth; the heights of the hills are His also.  The sea is His, for He made it; and His hands formed the dry land.  Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.  For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.”