Chapter 1 - The 3 Possibilities

It is 200 years since Charles Darwinís birth and 150 years since his origin of Species was published, so there is much renewed debate about Creation verses Evolution, and whether Intelligent Design (Creation) even has the right to be considered.

Recently the Anglican Church officially made an apology to Darwin for misunderstanding (and initially rejecting) his theory of Evolution, claiming that it is entirely compatible with the Bible. I believe this was really an attempt to maintain respectability before the Scientific Establishment. Is this the right way for a Church to respond? How should we respond when the scientific establishment, media, schools, and most of the historic denominational Churches all insist that Evolution is a fact, and deride anyone who dares to question it?

First of all we must understand the issues, so that we are not intimidated by all the propaganda and pressure to believe evolution.I want to introduce the key ideas necessary to think correctly.

The issue of origins is so important, because who you are (your self-image and destiny) is entirely determined by your origins.

Do you see yourself as an advanced amoeba or a Creation of God? Are you an accidental and incidental result of Evolution, or a special being designed by God for a purpose? Are you made in the image of monkeys or in the image of God? Are you an accident without future hope or do you have a purpose and destiny outside and higher than yourself?† Do you have a Creator God who has the right to tell you what is right and wrong, or are you your own god with the knowledge of good and evil in yourself?

Your answers will determine how you think about yourself and how you will live your life. What you believe about your origins controls your self-image, and then how you will live your life.

Let me start by introducing the different possible views on our origins by taking you on my own personal journey. I did not grow up in a Christian home, so I grew up agnostic and my interests lay in science, maths and especially astronomy.

In my teens I began to think seriously about my origins. I realised that either the universe and I somehow just happened or there is a God who created everything. It did not seem to make sense that the universe just happened out of nothing - with no cause. But perhaps the universe always existed as some claimed (the Steady State theory), but Science has now clearly discounted that. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics whereby everything tends to disorder (heat death) means that eventually the universe must run down. That means the Universe must have had a beginning, and the most popular version of that beginning is the Big-Bang of course.

The idea that the Universe had a beginning was at first resisted by many because of its implications. A beginning implied a Creator. Here science was consistent with the Bibleís claim that God created the universe out of nothing (Genesis 1:1, Hebrews 11:3). This is why many physicists and astronomers, when confronted by this reality, became believers in God, for if the universe suddenly came into being that strongly implies a Creator did it, Who Himself is outside time and space, just as the Bible declares Him to be. This is just one example of where Science has just caught up with what the Bible has always taught.

But if there was a God I did not know Him. However as I looked at the stars asking the big question: ĎIs there a God who made me?í I was aware of something great behind and beyond the universe. But even more amazing than the large-scale grandeur of the stars and galaxies is the small-scale origin and complexity of life. The more we investigate the world through telescopes and microscopes we are increasingly amazed at the beauty and complexity of what we discover, making it ever harder to dismiss it as an accident.

*There are basically 3 Possibilities to explain LIFE,
and in my journey I passed through each of them:
(1) Naturalistic, atheistic Evolution.
(2) Creationism.
(3) Theistic Evolution.

(1) Naturalistic, pure, atheistic Evolution says:
Life originated by chance, and then developed into ever higher levels of complexity through Darwinian Evolution. At school, of course, this was taught as dogma, being the established faith of secularists. We were told about Evolution as the explanation of all things. First there is an evolving universe, leading to life starting on favourable planets like earth, then life evolving from the first cell to man. The implication was that we can explain everything naturally so there is no need for a supernatural God. We are the product of random processes, not the design of God. This has the advantage of setting us free from the idea of being under Divine Authority and Absolute Morality, opening the doors to relativism where I can choose my own right and wrong. I can be my own god.

I must admit that even as a teenage boy with no faith in God and only a small idea of the true complexity of life, I found the idea of evolution incredibly improbable and counterintuitive, even if given the millions of years. But since we were told it was a proven fact by those who claimed to know, I took it on board as best I could.

But does it make sense that the universe just happened, then life just happened, and then by chance developed its incredible complexity?

As Sir Fred Hoyle (a leading Physicist and not a believer) said:
ďit is about as likely as an explosion happening in a factory of spare parts and a jumbo jet being formed and flying out of the debris.Ē He calculated the mathematical probability of the basic proteins necessary for life being formed by chance somewhere in the universe over billions of years, and he found it was effectively ZERO. It canít happen. This uncomfortable fact is avoided by evolutionists. This is the Mathematics of Evolution.

So when I came up to Oxford to study Mathematics, I had not yet found a satisfying answer to the big question. But then for the first time I heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and was fully convinced by the evidence of His resurrection and the many detailed prophecies He fulfilled. I then realised that the Bible must be Godís Word from Genesis to Revelation, and it seemed to teach something quite different from Evolution, namely:

(2) Creationism: God designed and created all life in its present complexity, to reproduce according to its kind. Higher forms do not develop from lower forms, but each basic life-form (kind) has an inbuilt genetic richness, which gives it the ability to develop many variations, and so adapt to its environment by Natural Selection.

But then I was faced with the embarrassing disagreement between what the Genesis account of Origins seemed to say and what I had been told about what Evolutionary Science says. So it was quite a relief to be told that there was no real contradiction between the Bible and Evolution, for I was introduced to the Hypothesis called:

(3) Theistic Evolution (generally believed by the historic Protestant and Catholic Denominations) is a way of believing in both Evolution and God.

*Weak form: God created the world in such a way that the laws of nature meant that evolution would bring about life and us, without the need for further Divine Intervention.

*Strong form: Life was originally created by God in its simplest form, but for some reason He then chose to use the natural, but cruel and inefficient process of Darwinian Evolution to develop life into its higher, more complex forms. Then at one point He breathed spirit into an higher ape making him into a man.

For a short time (because I did not know the Bible well) this kept me happy. But then I heard someone speak on Creation which caused me to think about it on a deeper level. What I came to discover was that Evolution was not of course compatible with a literal reading of Genesis, and who are we to say that God does not mean what He says.

In particular what struck me was that the Bible said that God initially made everything good with no curse (death). DEATH and CURSE came in as a result of manís SIN, but Theistic Evolution says that suffering and death are an essential part of the process that God chose to use to create us, and so therefore death has nothing to do with sin, but is part of Godís original design for the world. I saw that this was a clear contradiction to the Bible. It amazes me that good evangelical theologians who normally would be sticklers for upholding the plain meaning of the text, would interpret Genesis as a myth in order to preserve their evolutionary beliefs!

But the convincer for me was what Theistic Evolution says about the Character of God. Strangely this was the same logic behind one of Darwinís main motivations to reject the idea of a Creator.† He looked at nature Ďred in tooth and clawí with all its cruelty, pain, suffering and death and asked: ďhow could a good God make a system like this?Ē This, compounded by the early death of his daughter led him into the arms of an alternative explanation that did not require or involve God.

But had Darwin turned to the Bible instead He would have found a perfectly satisfactory answer to this hardest of questions. God is good and made this world to be good, without the pain of suffering and death, which the Bible calls an enemy (Genesis 1 and 2). But man, to whom God had given freewill and dominion brought death into the world through his sin of rejecting God, Who is Life (Genesis 3). So man sins and opens the door to curse and death and then has the audacity to blame God for it!

How blind can we be? God could have judged man for His sin and ended it all then, but instead He chose to act in mercy toward man, allowing time to continue and delaying His judgement while He set His Plan of salvation into motion. Meanwhile He had to respect manís freewill and allow His Creation to be subject to the curse of suffering and death. However this was not how God made things to be, rather it is the result of manís sin. Therefore the cruelties we see in the world are the result of manís freewill and do not reflect Godís Character. Believing in a good Creator God does not contradict what we see in nature, because what we see is not how God made it but it has been corrupted by the Fall of man.

However Darwinís objection, pointing out the impossibility of a good God creating a system of suffering and death, applies fully to Theistic Evolution, and this made it impossible for me to believe in it. You see Evolution requires massive suffering and death over millions of years for it to work (driven by the survival of the fittest). It is absurd to believe that a good God of love was behind this. Yet Theistic Evolution claims that God sovereignly chose to use this process over millions of years of Evolution to bring about life. What does this say about the Character of God? He would not only be inefficient and wasteful, but cruel.

He would be responsible for instituting a massive program whereby the strong systematically kill the weak, thereby ensuring and approving of billions of deaths of innocent lives. How then could He tell us that He is good and then command us to be like Him in caring for the weak and needy rather than killing them off?! No wonder the Bible does not teach Theistic Evolution! It would totally undermine the good Name and Character of God and His whole teaching of ethics and morality.

If God is so powerful why did He not just create life as He wanted it rather than use such a cruel and inefficient method as Theistic Evolution? The Bible of course says that rather than evolve life, He created it, and it was good (not evil and death-driven) in nature. It teaches that the curse of suffering and death only came into the world through manís sin when He rejected God (Genesis 2:17, Romans 5:12). Before the Fall, God only gave the plant kingdom for man and animals to eat (Genesis 1:29,30). Man and all animal life under manís dominion were not allowed to kill for food. This killing and death only came in after the Fall, but is was not Godís original design for life on earth. This of course totally contradicts any concept of Evolution, where the animals have always been killing each other for millions of years.

So how did the curse of suffering and death come upon the whole biosphere? The Bibleís teaching on this is consistent from Genesis to Revelation. God gave man dominion over all the earth and the animal and plant kingdoms in particular. So when man sinned the curse did not just come upon man, but also upon the earth and upon all life-forms (Genesis 3:14-19). This is not the will of God by Creation, but a necessary result of manís Fall (Romans 8:18-21).

Therefore Godís Plan is to reverse the Fall and remove the curse and restore the earth again, so that His will is again established on earth as it is in heaven. He will do this through the promised God-man Messiah announced and promised in Genesis 3:15. All the prophets saw a the Golden-Age of Messiah when the lion would lie down with the lamb and all Creation would again be harmony rather than at each otherís throats (Isaiah 11:6-9). In Eternity, God will remove all curse and death (Revelation 21:4). Therefore whenever we see Godís perfect will and order (in Heaven, and on Earth before the Fall and after Christís Return) it is GOOD and free from the curse of suffering and death. The present state is not the norm, but a temporary and strange imposition due to the sin of man.

There is ultimately a choice of 2 views on Origins: Evolution or Creation. The Bible had led me to Creation, but what about the Scientific Evidence for Evolution, that we are told is conclusive? As I studied this area, I found that there was actually no good evidence for Evolution, and that the dogmatic claims that Evolution is scientific fact are totally misleading. We will be looking at the Ďso-calledí evidence for Evolution in the next chapters.

Meanwhile let us finish with the Bibleís Commentary on this issue: Romans 1:18-22:
ďFor the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 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, because, although they knew God,
they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became FOOLS.Ē

The Bible also says: ďthe FOOL says in his heart that there is no GodĒ (Psalm 14:1,53:1).