Will Evolution Ever be Accepted?
As I'm sure you know in the 1600's Galileo was prosecuted by the church for teaching that the sun, not the Earth was the center of the universe. This was "false and contrary to Scripture". Maybe in a few hundred years evolution will be as accepted and understood by the average person. Maybe the seven days of creation spoke of in Genesis is a metaphor for evolution. Maybe God is the big bang. Maybe the people who were hearing the voice of God were just schizophrenic. Maybe the stories in the bible are like Greek stories, just stories, not meant to be taken so literally. Who knows? -Rebecca
Thank you for your comment on how scientifically held views can be impacted by new discoveries. Your comment concerning the Roman Catholic’s Church persecution of those who dared to disagree with their teaching is not surprising. In my humble opinion, religion is fatally flawed. All “isms” fall into the category of man-made legal systems rooted in self-righteousness. No ism, e.g. Judaism, Protestantism, Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, etc. has a monopoly on the truth.
There is only One who has impacted human history who claimed to be “the way, the truth and the life.” It is His atoning sacrifice for mankind that when applied by grace through faith, can change people from sinners into saints, Eph. 2:8-9. Not the “religious” definition of a saint, someone declared by some religious institution to be holy, but rather the biblical definition of a saint, e.g. someone who has been redeemed and adopted into God’s family through a personal relationship with Jesus of Nazareth, while they are still living.
It is the Bible that tells us God is love, I John 4:7-9, yet religions and self-righteous religious people have instigated wars, persecuted, and often killed those with whom they disagree. These religious institutions justified these acts of violence by committing them in the name of God.
Your comment covered several points, so I will take them one at a time. First, “perhaps the Genesis account is a metaphor for evolution.” There are people who believe that God created the world, and used evolution to accomplish that creation. This is called “Theistic Evolution.” The problem with this view is the Genesis account does not read as a metaphor or a creation myth. It is historical, and it correctly describes the fact that every living creature is genetically pre-programmed to “reproduce according to their own kind.”
It is the evidence that we are supposed to consider when looking for scientific truth. The fossil record shows us that virtually every living organism appears abruptly, fully formed in the fossil record. There are few, if any, undisputed transitional fossils, and if the Theory of Evolution is true, there should be thousands of transitional fossils. There should be a continuum of transitional fossils documenting the connection between every organism, from primitive bacteria to homo sapiens.
No one can explain the “Cambrian Explosion.” This is the label associated with the sudden appearance of complex invertebrates in the fossil record, without any similar (transitional) fossils below them. This is an abrupt appearance of complex creatures. They appear suddenly, and many of these creatures look like something out of science fiction story a genuine creature feature. Some of them have eyes, tentacles, and complex organs. So now we have an immense problem in the Cambrian layer. This layer is found down at the bottom of the geologic column. It is one of the oldest layers in the evolutionary paradigm, and we have the appearance of all of these extraordinarily complex creatures appearing without intermediates, nothing that can be used to trace their ancestry. They appear virtually out of nowhere, with no related life forms below them. Listen to some quotes to concerning this from the evolutionists themselves concerning the Cambrian Explosion and the gaps in the fossil record.
“Modern multicellular animals make their first uncontested appearance in the fossil record some 570 million years ago - and with a bang, not a protracted crescendo. This 'Cambrian explosion' marks the advent (at least into direct evidence) of virtually all major groups of modern animals - and all within the minuscule span, geologically speaking, of a few million years.” (Gould, Stephen J., Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History, 1989, p. 23-24)
“The fossil record had caused Darwin more grief than joy. Nothing distressed him more than the Cambrian explosion, the coincident appearance of almost all complex organic designs...” (Gould, Stephen J., The Panda's Thumb, 1980, p. 238-239)
“The majority of major groups appear suddenly in the rocks, with virtually no evidence of transition from their ancestors.” (Futuyma, D., Science on Trial: The Case for Evolution, 1983, p. 82)
“Most families, orders, classes, and phyla appear rather suddenly in the fossil record, often without anatomically intermediate forms smoothly interlinking evolutionarily derived descendant taxa with their presumed ancestors.” (Eldredge, Niles, Macro-Evolutionary Dynamics: Species, Niches, and Adaptive Peaks, 1989, p. 22)
“In spite of these examples, it remains true, as every paleontologist knows, that most new species, genera, and families, and that nearly all new categories above the level of families, appear in the record suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences.” (Simpson, George Gaylord, The Major Features of Evolution, 1953, p. 360)
“The gaps in the record are real, however. The absence of any record of any important branching is quite phenomenal. Species are usually static, or nearly so, for long periods, species seldom and genera never show evolution into new species or genera but replacement or one by another, and change is more or less abrupt.” (Wesson, R., Beyond Natural Selection, 1991, p. 45)
“All through the fossil record, groups - both large and small - abruptly appear and disappear. ...The earliest phase of rapid change usually is undiscovered, and must be inferred by comparison with its probable relatives.” (Newell, N. D., Creation and Evolution: Myth or Reality, 1984, p. 10)
“Paleontologists had long been aware of a seeming contradiction between Darwin's postulate of gradualism...and the actual findings of paleontology. Following phyletic lines through time seemed to reveal only minimal gradual changes but no clear evidence for any change of a species into a different genus or for the gradual origin of an evolutionary novelty. Anything truly novel always seemed to appear quite abruptly in the fossil record.” (Mayr, E., Our Long Argument: Charles Darwin and the Genesis of Modern Evolutionary Thought, 1991, p. 138)
“The record certainly did not reveal gradual transformations of structure in the course of time. On the contrary, it showed that species generally remained constant throughout their history and were replaced quite suddenly by significantly different forms. New types or classes seemed to appear fully formed, with no sign of an evolutionary trend by which they could have emerged from an earlier type.” (Bowler, Evolution: The History of an Idea, 1984, p. 187)
“Instead of finding the gradual unfolding of life, what geologists of Darwin's time, and geologists of the present day actually find is a highly uneven or jerky record; that is, species appear in the sequence very suddenly, show little or no change during their existence in the record, then abruptly go out of the record. and it is not always clear, in fact it's rarely clear, that the descendants were actually better adapted than their predecessors. In other words, biological improvement is hard to find.” (Raup, David M., Conflicts Between Darwin and Paleontology, Bulletin, Field Museum of Natural History, vol. 50, 1979, p. 23)
“A major problem in proving the theory (of evolution) has been the fossil record; the imprints of vanished species preserved in the Earth's geological formations. This record has never revealed traces of Darwin's hypothetical intermediate variants instead species appear and disappear abruptly, and this anomaly has fueled the creationist argument that each species was created by God.” (Czarnecki, Mark, "The Revival of the Creationist Crusade", MacLean's, January 19, 1981, p. 56)
Creationists are often accused of quoting evolutionary scientists out of context, or even accused of purposely changing their words to support our position. This handful of quotes are certainly not an exhaustive list, however, they are accurate and indicative of a problem with the fossil record that even they cannot ignore.
Adam, Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were real people whose lives were knit together with their Creator. Something offered today to anyone who desires to know God personally. The Messiah told His people, the children of Israel to “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” Matt. 11:28. This is an open invitation to enter into the New Covenant, an unconditional covenant (contract) that promises that we will know (experience) God, and He will forgive our sins, Jer.31:312-37.
The next comment you made was, “Maybe God is the big bang.” The Big Bang is a cosmological model for an evolutionary beginning of the Universe. Remember that Darwinian Evolution is based completely in the realm of naturalism. They allow only materialistic, naturalistic explanations to be under consideration, and God is outside of our physical reality. Therefore, using their own narrow materialistic view, God cannot be part of their explanation. Your comment is really more in tune with the Eastern religious teachings of Hinduism and Buddhism, where they belief that God is in everything, and in everyone. Most of the Eastern religions are both pantheistic and polytheistic.
The concept of the Big Bang does not pose problems for those who embrace the biblical record. While the Creation Studies Institute does not believe that the “Big Bang” was the seminal event that began our universe, we would simply point out that someone, or something, must have lit the match. While we know the Big Bang was not really a simple explosion, it does have over 50 inflation models associated with it and they all hypothesize how the universe expanded in the first seconds of the alleged Big Bang. We believe the explanation that has been given in the Bible explains this phenomenon in the opening statement of the book of Genesis, “In the beginning God created…”
Your third comment was, “Maybe the people who were hearing the voice of God were just schizophrenic.” Schizophrenia is a form of mental illness which is seriously debilitating. Those who suffer from this disease do not succeed in writing coherently. They are not capable of being leaders or ministering to groups of people as did the prophets of in the Tanakh (Old Testament). The Bible was written by many different men over centuries of time. Are you really thinking that Moses, who is credited with writing the first five books of the Bible, was mentally ill? Remember that the Bible records entire groups of people “seeing” and/or “hearing” God.
The Bible is a unique document. Both the Tanakh and the Brit Hadasha (Old and New Testaments) together form a seamless revelation from our Creator to His creation. It would be like one person every hundred years (they did not know each other personally, not related in any way) going into a church, and hitting one note on the organ, and walking out. Then 100 years later another person walks in, and hits another note, etc. After this is repeated twenty times over 2,000 years, you play all the notes back together, eliminating the 100 year gaps, and these allegedly random notes form the opening sequence to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.
Jesus Christ said many things that were by our modern standards seem crazy. He said “I am the resurrection and the life, whosoever believes in Me shall not perish but have everlasting life.” Then he raised Lazarus from the dead. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world, he who believes in Me shall not walk in darkness,” then He healed a man who was born blind. So what should we think about Him? Listen to this quote by C.S. Lewis, the author of The Chronicles of Narnia and Mere Christianity, The Case for Christianity, Screwtape Letters among many other literary classics.
A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.--C.S. Lewis
Your final comment was, “Maybe the stories in the bible are like Greek stories, just stories, not meant to be taken so literally. Who knows?” If you take the time to compare the literature of the Bible with Greek mythology, or the mythology of other cultures or religions, you will see the differences are substantial. When the Bible references nature, it always does so accurately. The authors of Greek mythology simply created gods and goddesses in their own image. The same is true for Eastern religions. Hinduism teaches that the earth is propped up on four elephants which are perched on top of a giant turtle swimming through the cosmos. Consider the following reference that uses the Hindu myths as an explanation of the Earth’s place in the cosmos.
The concept of World-Tortoise and World-Elephant was conflated in popular or rhetorical references to Hindu mythology. The combination of tortoise and elephant is present John Locke's 1690 tract An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, which references an “Indian who said the world was on an elephant which was on a tortoise ". It is repeated in Bertrand Russell's 1927 Why I Am Not A Christian in the reference to “the Hindu's view that the world rested upon an elephant and the elephant rested upon a tortoise”. A whimsical allusion to such a supposed "tortoise-and-elephant" version of the myth appears in Wilfrid Sellars’1956 Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind: authoritative nonverbal episodes... would constitute the tortoise on which stands the elephant on which rests the edifice of empirical knowledge.
The Bible indicates that the earth is spherical, or orbits in a spherical fashion (there is some disagreement about the Hebrew rendering, e.g. whether it is referring to shape or the circular orbit in Isaiah 40:22. The book of Job indicates that the earth is suspended in space; but that it “hangs on nothing,” Job 26:7. The Bible allows people to record their perceptions, but it does not correct them, e.g. the sun rises, etc. The Bible always proves itself to be 100% accurate, 100% of the time. This is regardless of whether it is speaking prophetically or practically. Read Isaiah 53. This passage was written 750 years before Jesus was born, and then tell me God does not write history before it takes place.
If you are serious about examining what is really true as opposed to what is conjecture, I suggest you purchase a book entitled, Evidence Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell, or if you are just interested in the creation question, I suggest The Case for the Creator by Lee Strobel. Both are available on our website, or at your local library. By the way, Lee Strobel is not dogmatic about the time frame concerning the creation, and history of the universe. He was a dogmatic atheist before becoming convinced that God was indeed the Creator of the universe and the Savior of the mankind.
I can see that you are bright. I think you should actually study these subjects from both perspectives. You are going to be indoctrinated, not educated in most public schools and universities. I can also suggest looking into the Discovery Institute’s website, or renting the documentary Expelled for further information about origins, and the controversy surrounding Creationism, Intelligent Design, and Darwinian Evolution.
Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if you have more comments or questions.
Because of God’s amazing grace,
Pastor Steve Rowitt, Th.M., Ph.D. (c)
Chief Technical Advisor
Creation Studies Institute