Evidence For What?

Evidence for Creation or Evolution


Evidence For What?

 


Crime scene evidence is extremely important. A skillful detective can use fingerprints, DNA, clothing fibers, etc., to recreate the crime and identify the perpetrator. Our legal system also relies on evidence. The law defines evidence as ‘material objects and verbal statements admissible at trial’. In a more general sense, evidence, when properly used, leads to the right conclusion or to a judgment that brings one to the truth.

In the origins debate, the evidence leads to one of two conclusions: evolution or creation. These two basic views are completely at odds and admit no middle ground. On the one hand, evolution relies on pure random chance as the agent by which matter and energy, over time, are assembled into living systems with all their mind-boggling complexity. The evolutionary process, we are told, requires billions and billions of years. Creation, by contrast, relies on the ‘mechanism’ of an outside intelligence which we define as the Creator, the One who made from nothing a universe exhibiting order and design. Vast stretches of time are not needed for creation.

The evolution/creation debate centers on events in the past. It is an inquiry that seeks to detect and assemble evidence, just as a detective investigates a crime scene. In both cases, the evidence collected will introduce clues to help us understand what happened in the past. As in a court of law, the evidence used in the origins debate can be verbal or material. That evidence must be qualified and have integrity so that it will be admissible to all who are in a position to make a judgment. Because there is a danger that the final verdict will be erroneous, if based on falsified evidence, the evidence submitted must be highly reliable to make its conclusions compelling to all who examine it with an open mind.

The evidence is employed by both sides. In the origins debate, both the advocates of creation and of evolution rely on the same physical evidence to prove their case. The origins debate is unique because it seeks to explain a one-time event. Therefore, historical data are relied on for clues as to what happened. Evidence from rocks, bones, stars, and living systems are interpreted to understand what happened in the past. The acquisition, processing, and analysis of evidence is always subject to error, and since no human was present to observe the origin of life, there is no verbal evidence of how everything came to be. How, after all, could we observe the big bang or see firsthand as God created the universe? The only way to understand these one-time events in the past is to sift through the evidence left behind—just like a detective at a crime scene.

Here are some important ideas to remember, as you consider the evidence:

1. Both sides use evidence.

2. We are limited in our capacity to assess the evidence. We are finite, biased, sinful, and unable to revisit the past to witness what took place at creation.

3. The creation/evolution debate is an historical inquiry that examines material and verbal evidence. The material evidence includes:

    a.    The fossil record
    b.    Geological formations
    c.    Complexity of living systems
    d.    Biological molecular structures/DNA
    e.    Astronomical objects
    f.    Light from astronomical objects

4. The verbal evidence is contained in the Genesis account in the Bible, the Word of God.

Why Does the Same Evidence Lead to Opposite Conclusions?
Advocates of evolution and creation use the same evidence, but come to different conclusions. Why? When a fossilized dinosaur bone is discovered, the evolutionist will immediately interpret it as the consequence of eons of death and suffering that ultimately led to the dinosaur’s extinction. The creationist, however, understands that fossil as evidence of a worldwide flood that created the chemical and physical conditions for fossil formation. This pattern is repeated time after time as the same evidence leads to opposite conclusions. The evidence is acquired with meticulous care and treated with the same scientific tools. Accurate measurements are made and analyzed; yet, at the end of the discovery process, there are two very different conclusions.

The reason for this is that both sides approach the evidence with opposite presuppositions or preconceptions. When evidence is presented in a court of law, the goal is to produce a verdict of guilt or innocence. The advocates on each side enter the courtroom with their minds made up. The prosecutor is looking for a guilty verdict and uses the evidence to persuade the court to that end. The defense builds a case for innocence, also, by using the evidence. It is important to acknowledge that both prosecutor and defender come to court with preconceptions. They presuppose their conclusions from the same set of data.

Likewise, defenders of evolution or creation look at the data in terms of their bias. Creationists, who use the Word of God to establish their presuppositions about the origin of life, reach dramatically different conclusions than do those who reject the Bible as a record of the past. Contrasting presuppositions always produce contrasting conclusions. Take a look at the presuppositions both sides bring to the origins question:

Creation Evolution
Predetermined Order Chaos
Outside Intelligence Internal Self Ordering 
Six Days Millions of Years
Catastrophic Events Slow Gradual Change 


In Badlands National Park, located in southwestern South Dakota, the world’s richest fossil beds which evolutionists assign to the Oligocene epoch are found. The evolutionists who study these fossil beds conclude that over 12 million years of mammalian evolution took place. They approach these fossil sites with the presupposition that evolution is a fact, and therefore, come to a conclusion that all the different fossilized forms came to be by the process of gradual change over millions and millions of years. With the same fossil evidence that the evolutionists use, creationists reach very different conclusions. They find evidence of different kinds of mammals and propose that the layering of rocks and fossils was due to some sort of catastrophic event, such as a worldwide flood. Again, we find two competing conclusions from the same evidence. It comes down to one’s presuppositions, or worldview.

Worldviews at War
The evolution/creation debate has been around for a long time. It flared up in the nineteenth century after the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species, which quickly became popular in England and spread across Europe. Many believe that Darwin discovered evolution. In reality, its roots can be traced to the prehistoric confrontation between men and their Creator. According to Henry Morris, a scientist and author widely considered to be the father of the modern creation movement, Darwin happened along at the right historical moment to spark a movement that was really just the renewal of an ancient idea:

The fact is, however, he really only served as the catalyst for revival of ancient paganism, coming at just the right time in history to bring to fruition a revolt against God for which many in Western Europe had been preparing for over a century.1

Evolution, since Darwin, has gradually taken over Western culture. Today, it has taken root in all major academic disciplines. Sadly, some church bodies have subscribed to evolution in some form or fashion, evidently not understanding evolution’s atheistic premise. Churches accept evolution because it comes dressed in the garb of scientific authority but, in fact, it is a movement whose main thrust is to do away with God. Evolution has gained such acceptance in higher education that it is regarded by many elites in education and the media as the only intellectual option. It has become an accepted worldview.

A worldview may be defined as a framework for understanding reality. It is that set of core beliefs by which knowledge is filtered, decisions made, values established, and priorities set. Every human being, young or old, has within himself a worldview. It is nurtured in childhood and adolescence and grows ever more deeply ingrained with age. Worldviews can, however, dramatically change as, for example, when an individual is born again and becomes, as the Bible puts it, “a new creature in Christ.” Those who encounter Christ and commit themselves to the Word of God experience a transformation that often radically alters their worldview.

A creationist worldview starts with belief in God, the Creator of all things. It is centered on the inspired Word of God that provides an account of the beginning of the universe and of man. It also supplies an early history of the world in the first eleven chapters of Genesis. It characterizes creation as “very good” in Genesis 1. In Genesis 3 it describes the Fall of man and the ramifications that are observed in a world placed under God’s curse. Genesis records a great judgment in chapter 6, the worldwide flood that produces effects that influence the way the world appears today. The establishment of different nations with unique languages and cultures is recorded in Genesis 10–11. The events recorded in Genesis 1–11 form the creationist worldview and demonstrate man’s accountability to his Creator.

The evolutionist worldview, by contrast, has no place for God. Evolutionists regard the universe as self-creating, with eternal matter and energy. Some evolutionists briefly acknowledge God as the great initiator who, after starting time, space, and matter, stepped away to simply let natural law take over. In the evolutionist worldview, man is in control of his destiny and basically good—the latter an idea that sharply departs from the Christian concept that man is a fallen, sinful creature saved only by God’s grace. The evolutionist worldview has no moral absolutes, because all things are believed to change with time as evolution progresses. According to the Christian worldview, however, moral absolutes are part of the structure of reality as created by God.

Creation Evolution
Based on God’s Word Based on Man’s Word
Creator/Outside Intelligence Unknown Internal Process
Absolutes Relativism
Accountability to God Accountability to Man 

 
Is Evolution a Scientific Fact?
Our everyday lives revolve around science and technology. The cars we drive, the food we eat, and the vitamins we take are the result of the application of some scientific principle. Just as science is important to everyday life, so it sets foundational principles by which evidence is acquired, analyzed, and transmitted.

Science is a process in which we procure knowledge from empirical data. The data are from what we observe and record with our senses. Science is a systematic study of the world around us, based on observations, classifications, and descriptions that can lead to experimental investigation and theoretical explanations. Both deductive and inductive reasoning are employed in the scientific process. The National Academy of Science in the 1998 publication, Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science, confines the activity of science to empirical evidence, stating: “Explanations that cannot be based on empirical evidence are not a part of science.”2

Valid science must have integrity, dependability, reliability, and be trustworthy. How can you come to true conclusions when experimental data is falsified? Testing and measuring are also important tools for verification. When scientific research is reported in scientific journals, it should be written so that experimental procedures can be repeated, since repeatability is another tool used for verification.

Science relies on observation, fact, hypothesis, theory, and law. These can be defined, briefly as follows. 

Observations: Describing or measuring what one senses.
Fact: Based on repeated observations that can be confirmed.
Hypothesis: A statement that can be tested so that inferences and conclusions can be explained.
Theory: A general explanation into which facts and experimental conclusions can be incorporated, so as to allow for predictions to be made.
Law: A functional generalization that has stood the test of time and can be relied on to make accurate predictions.

Creationists and evolutionists do science the same way—with one very important exception. Creation scientists bring to their investigation the presupposition, based on God’s Word, that man is finite and fallible and in need of the revelation contained in God’s Word. Along with evolutionists, the creationist agrees on the importance of peer review and self correction by means of the scientific process detailed above. However, the two camps differ, because the creationist brings to his scientific endeavor a belief in the absolute truth of the Word of God.

Science, by definition, investigates the natural world. It is not a worldview. By itself, science is a neutral mechanism that gives us tools to acquire and examine evidence. Both creationists and evolutionists depend on science to acquire, analyze, and transmit data to build working models to support theories and laws. The textbook, Biology, points out that:

The raw materials of science are our observations of the phenomena of the natural universe. Science—unlike art, religion, or philosophy—is limited to what is observable and measurable and, in this sense, is roughly categorized as materialistic.3

Yet while science is concerned with natural objects, it does not exclude other realities. Science is a tool that gives a glimpse of truth. It is limited because it ignores man’s inner spirit, motivations, and goals. It fails desperately in defining inner qualities, such as truthfulness, generosity, and love. Man’s spiritual nature—the repository of his faith, convictions, and worldview—is not susceptible to scientific inquiry. Science’s reality is the material world only. It is not competent to reach conclusions about realms beyond.

Science, however, is not naturalism. Naturalism is a belief system that states that all truth can be found only through empirical data—by the investigation of the material universe. Naturalism eliminates God, the Bible, and the spiritual nature of man. Only what can be observed in the material world is said to bring us to ultimate truth. Naturalism can be classified as a worldview, because it is a framework for understanding reality that arises not from observation but from a priori conviction about what is real (the material universe) and what is not real (God). Naturalism is the philosophical underpinning to evolution—one which evolution assumes but cannot prove. Nor does it make the attempt. Rather, naturalism is simply adopted, without evidence or argument, as the self-evidently correct worldview.

Evolutionists hold tenaciously to this belief system because it is so necessary and congenial to the idea of upward and gradual change from atoms and molecules to complex living systems. Naturalism supports the evolutionist idea that random mechanisms, without a plan or outside intelligence, assembled reality. It eliminates the work of God and is implicitly atheistic.

Naturalism does not explicitly deny the mere existence of God, but it does deny that a supernatural being could in any way influence natural events, such as evolution, or communicate with natural creatures like ourselves. Scientific naturalism makes the same point by starting with the assumption that science, which studies only the natural, is our only reliable path to knowledge. A God who can never do anything that makes a difference, and of whom we can have no reliable knowledge, is of no importance to us.4

Evolution disguised as science promotes the religion of naturalism, an idea which, when applied, has led to horrible pain, suffering, and the death of millions, as will be demonstrated in chapter five. Also, this is covered in more depth in my book, Evolution’s Fatal Fruit.5

The Basic Ideas
In summary, it is important to remember the following about evolutionary presuppositions. First, evolution assumes slow and gradual change over unimaginable eons—millions of years for life and billions of years for the heavenly universe. Many different explanations, without consensus, are offered to explain how this process took place. Second, evolution assumes that the organizing force for life is internal and depends on random chance—a presupposition that eliminates any outside intelligent creative force. Third, evolution dismisses intelligence and assumes random chance to be the mechanism responsible for material reality—a philosophical presupposition that is not drawn from empirical evidence. Evolution, therefore, is an irrational belief. It assumes randomness and chance, not design, to be the governing principle of reality, a view, again, without hard empirical data to support it.

The basic premise of creationism is that all living and nonliving systems have their origins from an outside source with infinite intelligence. This infinite intelligence is referred to as Christ the Creator, the One who spoke everything into existence. Long periods of time are not needed. The events of creation are recorded in the Bible’s Genesis account. The physical evidence indicates that the cosmos is the work of an intelligent designer and planner. Creation, again, is a unique event that cannot be repeated and therefore cannot be observed in the present. Finally, creation, because it relies on an intelligent Creator, is a rational belief that presupposes the existence of a Creator God.

Is Science Compatible with the Bible?
It is a popular notion that science and the Bible are at odds with one another. The rumor of warfare between the Bible and science can be traced to Thomas Huxley, a late nineteenth century apologist for evolution, who became known as Darwin’s ‘bull dog’ and helped mightily to overthrow the cultural dominance of Christianity. But Huxley, and a long line of successors who have touted Huxley’s mischievous misconception about faith and reason, are at odds with the facts of history.

The truth is that science and Christianity had a great relationship from 1500 to the late 1800s. The early pioneers of modern science had no difficulty in believing in God as their Creator and Savior. They believed in a God who had limitless power and was the source of all intelligence. The works of His hands were worthy to be studied, and to do so was to glorify Him. Indeed, Psalm 111:2 tells us that “Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.” God affirms the character of creation in Genesis 1 by calling it “good” five times during the week of creation. Finally, when creation is complete, He pronounces His final judgment: It is “very good.”

Francis Bacon, who is often regarded as the father of the scientific method, said, If one considers the matter rightly, Natural Philosophy [the study of nature] is, after God’s Word, the surest medicine for superstition, and also the most approved nourishment of Faith. And so she is rightly given to Religion as a most faithful handmaiden; the one manifesting the will of God, the other His power.6

Early scientists knew that by doing exhaustive research in a particular area of science, they would be fulfilling the great Cultural Mandate, taking dominion of God’s creation as commanded in Genesis 1:28. This is demonstrated by a few examples from great men of science who also embraced belief in God. Henry Morris, in Men of Science: Men of God, lists over 40 great scientists who were professing Christians that believed in the divine authority of God. Among them are:

Johannes Kepler (1571–1630), an astronomer famous for his exhaustive work on planetary motion. He said:

I give you thanks, Creator God, that you have given me this joy in I give you thanks, Creator God, that you have given me this joy in Thy creation, and I rejoice in the works of Your hands. See I have now completed the work to which I was called. In it I have used all the talents You have lent to my spirit.7

Blaise Pascal (1623–1662), a great philosopher and mathematician who is considered the father of the science of hydrostatics. He developed the principles of the barometer. Pascal’s famous wager demonstrates his commitment to Christianity. His wager illustrates that Christian faith is a ‘win-win’ proposition. If a Christian dies and there is no God, “he has lost nothing.” But if a Christian dies and there is a God, heaven, and hell, he has gained everything while “his skeptical friend has lost everything in hell.”8

Robert Boyle (1627–1691) is considered the father of physical chemistry, with his monumental work on the mechanistic principles of gases, from which his famous Boyle’s Law was generated. His experimental approach to gasses laid the foundation for atomic theory. Boyle was a devout Christian who had an interest in missions and apologetics. He was famous for his lectures in which he promoted creation as God’s finely tuned clock, “where all things are so skillfully contrived that the engine being once set a-moving, all things proceed according to the Artificer’s first design.”9

John Ray (1627–1705), a botanist who introduced the first definition of species as being from reproduction. His definition, that parents produce offspring with the same kind of characteristics, is close to the modern definition. He was motivated by Genesis 1 which speaks of “plants yielding seed according to their own kinds” (v. 12). He wrote The Wisdom of God Manifested in the Works of the Creation, which had a great impact and “argued that living things are so complex and so marvelously designed that they must be the creation of a supremely intelligent Creator.”10

Isaac Newton (1642–1727), known as one of the greatest scientists of all time, developed the law of universal gravitation, the laws of motion, and calculus into a branch of mathematics. He produced a particle theory to explain how light is emitted and built the first reflecting telescope. Newton understood that the creation came from God, and his basic motivation was to promote a belief in God the Creator. Newton contributed greatly to the foundations of science and believed that God was the ultimate cause.

We account the Scriptures of God to be the most sublime philosophy. I find more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history whatsoever.11

Carl Linnaeus (1707–1778) discovered biological taxonomy, which is a classification system still used today. He classified living organisms, using species as the basic unit, based on the biblical idea that organisms do not change with time. He was a committed creationist who believed that God’s creation was good and stable. Linnaeus was on the right path, and although he initially confused ‘species’ with ‘kind,’ he later recognized that several ‘species’ could belong to a single ‘kind’. He wrote essays on natural theology in support of the idea that man can glorify God by studying His works of creation.

Follow the Evidence with an Open Mind.
There are overwhelming testimonies from those who approached the evidence with an open mind and, as a result, started to question the worldview of naturalism. No matter from what perspective they studied the evidence, whether at the molecular level or by gazing at the heavenly bodies, they discovered evidence of a plan and a design. When they freed themselves from the chains of the religion of naturalism and followed the evidence, the mechanism of evolution was abandoned. Both the biblical creationist movement and the modern Intelligent Design movement have enlisted established scientists who are challenging, with some success, the whole evolutionary thesis.

There is no shortage of compelling evidence to lead one to the verdict that God is the Creator. In Romans 1, Paul states that evidence for God’s creative work in the world “is plain to them” (v. 19) and is “clearly perceived” (v. 20). This indicates that God reveals something of Himself through His creative work. The evidence for God from nature is so compelling, in fact, that people “are without excuse” in denying God (v. 20). The Scripture affirms that a view of the evidence without the bondage of naturalism frees man to see God the Creator.

That is not enough. God the Creator is also God our Savior. The Apostle John opens his gospel with the declaration that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The Gospel of John begins just as Genesis 1, with the three words, “In the beginning.” In Genesis 1:3, God states, “Let there be light.” In John, the “Word” is not only the Creator, but the Word made flesh—Jesus Christ, the source of life and light, the One who brings everlasting life. Genesis 1 and John 1 demonstrate a link between God our Creator and God (Jesus Christ) our Savior. The examination of the evidence for creation should not just bring one to recognize God as Maker, but also bring the honest inquirer to a personal relationship with Christ his Savior, the life and light of the world.

 

Notes

1. Henry Morris, The Long War Against God, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1989, p. 151.
2. Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science, Washington, D.C., National Academy Press, p. 27.
3. Helena Curtis and N. Sue Barnes, Biology, Worth Publishers, Inc., New York, 1989, p. 17.
4. Phillip E. Johnson, Darwin on Trial, InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1991, p. 115.
5. Tom DeRosa, Evolution’s Fatal Fruit, Coral Ridge Ministries, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 2006.
6. Francis Bacon, Novum Organum (1620), Bk I, Aph 89 (transl.), accessed at
fbrt.org.uk/pages/quotes/quotes/quotes-divinity-philosophy.html.
7. Nancy R. Pearcey and Charles B. Thaxton, The Soul of Science, Crossway Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 1994, p. 23.
8. Henry Morris, Men of Science: Men of God, Master Books, El Cajon, California, p. 15.
9. Pearcey and Thaxton, p. 87.
10. Pearcey and Thaxton, p. 102.
11. Morris, Men of Science: Men of God, p. 26.