Evolution and the Bible
This is a topic that I've really been interested in for a while, and have already written a lot on. So here's my summary on the whole creation-evolution debate discussing science and the Bible.
An increasing number of Christian leaders and organizations teach that evolution can and should be mixed in with Scripture. In addition to the numerous theological problems associated with compromising evolution with the Bible, there is quite a bit of evidence that shows evolution to be scientifically inadequate.
First of all, here are a few points to show the incongruity of Biblical history and evolution (with its accompanying millions of year). The Bible’s creation account in Genesis describes a six-day creation, the final creation act being Man, made in God’s image (inclusively referring to Adam and Eve here, as in Gen. 1:27, “So God made man in His image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them.”) God gave plants for food to His people and animals and declared this world “very good.” Sometime after this, Adam and Eve sinned by rebelling against God, and in His just punishment, God cursed the ground with death and suffering for all. Being infinitely loving and merciful, however, He also gave them a promise, saying to the Serpent (the Devil): “And I will put enmity between you and the Woman, between your seed and her seed; he shall crush your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (Gen. 3:15) This, of course, is the very first prophecy of Christ, His death and Resurrection. When He died on the Cross, His heel was bruised; when He rose again, the Serpent’s head was crushed. As a side note, Romans Five also shows how Christ and Adam are doctrinally related: “For just as through the disobedience of the one man [Adam] the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man [Christ] the many will be made righteous.” (Rom. 5:19)
However, there are some problems here presented by those who wish to squeeze evolution into Scripture. The most obvious difficulty is time frame. God said six days; evolution requires millions of years. 2 Peter 3:8 is often quoted: “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” However, this verse is referring to Jesus Christ's return, and has no bearing on the creation account. Furthermore, all the grammatical structures surrounding the word “day” in Genesis 1 point to a literal, 24-hour day; for example, the fact that “evening” and “morning” are used with the word day, and that numbers are also used with it, point to the non-figurative meaning of the word used here.
Another major problem is the order of events. Evolutionary history (beginning with astronomical evolution, and the Big Bang) places the sun, moon and stars before earth. Swimming mammals come after terrestrial ones, and land-dwelling dinosaurs before flying birds. Plants come after marine life. This is directly not in accord with Scripture, which teaches that the earth came first, then plants, then swimming and flying creatures, and then land animals and man. Why would God mess up the order of appearances?
As a final point, evolution is a process that requires death. “The secrets of evolution are time and death,” said evolutionary astronomer Carl Sagan. The fossil record shows carnivorous behavior, disease, brain tumors, arthritis, cancer, and death. Are these things a loving God would call “very good?” God punished sin with thorns and thistles, but these are found throughout the fossil record. And death did not exist before Adam’s fall. If the fossil record as a record of millions of years of evolution was laid down during the ‘days’ of creation, it would show death and suffering as a normal part of God’s original creation, and a part of something He called “very good.” Clearly, this is not theologically possible. Could it have been laid afterwards? Not in millions of years, for genealogies leading from Adam to Christ allow for only around 4,000 years. And besides, Genesis chapters 6-8 describe a Global Flood – such a catastrophic event would rip up any past record of evolution. Far from being a record of our evolutionary past, the fossil record actually shows something quite different – the catastrophic deposition of sediment and fossils during the Flood!
As evolution and the Bible are obviously incompatible, it is important to realize that not only is evolution not a Biblical concept, but an unscientific one as well. Evolution has no paleontological evidence, remains unobserved in modern science, and is genetically impossible.
Darwin wrote of the problem of missing links in his book On the Origin of Species with the hopes of many more being found with the advancing progress of paleontology. Important missing links today include the fish-tetrapod (four-legged land animal) link Tiktaalik, the dinosaur-bird link Archaeopteryx, and the ape-human links, including Lucy and Neanderthal Man. Many, many more have been discovered – or thought to have been discovered – and several others have since been found to be frauds (unintentional or not).
Fish evolution has led scientists scientists down a rocky road in the search to find possible missing link candidates. In fossils, they search for bony fins that may show how the creature could waddle onto land. Before looking at these, however, take a look at who hasn’t been chosen. Modern Lungfish have a means of actually breathing air without gills. Walking Catfish, another modern species, can both breathe air and walk on land (for short periods of time). However, neither of these two species have been cited as ‘missing links’ or anything of the sort; it is obvious that despite their peculiarities, they are still too fishy to be any type of a land-animal ancestor.
One fossil record candidate was the Coelacanth. This fish, being in possession of rather bony fins, was thought to be the perfect fit for a missing link bringing fish out of the water when – Surprise! – they showed up alive and well in an African river. Despite careful observation, no walking of any kind was observed (they didn’t even drag themselves along the bottom of the riverbed).
Tiktaalik – in addition to a couple other fishy suspects – is the latest favorite, with bony fins AND a snaky snout to go with it. (To show the triviality of such a trait, I’d like to know if the crocodilian-snouted Alligator Gar is considered by anyone to be the alligator’s ancestor). But it fails in two ways (that we’ll see again in the following ‘missing links’): these few characteristics are not enough to call it only a half-fish, and there are no other gradual links in between.
One missing link is simply not enough. Slow-and-gradual evolution requires lots of teeny tiny genetic steps. One single missing link (which Tiktaalik, unfortunately, simply doesn’t quite reach) is not enough to help out.
The next missing link skips all the way up to bird evolution. Land animals have already arrived, mammals are differentiating into marsupials and placental animals (another problem in and of itself) and dinosaurs, who rule the earth, are turning into birds. Many evolutionists go so far as to call birds themselves dinosaurs (this doesn’t make sense even according to their standards; it’s like saying dogs are really shrew-like creatures or that snakes are really lizards, since that’s what they are supposed to have evolved from). Meanwhile, evolutionists are attacking movie-makers for keeping feathers off of their T-rex characters.
Now the interesting thing here is that Archaeopteryx, the long-touted pluperfect missing link between dinosaurs and birds, is found above fully-developed, totally modern bird fossils. That’s right – perfect bird fossils are laid right next to dinosaur ones. And Archaepteryx, being above them, should have come later. So without even looking at this creature, one already knows it simply cannot be a viable option.
The characteristics that are supposed to qualify this bird to being a reptile transition are teeth, bony tails, and wing-claws. These features, however, are present on other birds today (except for teeth, though these are present on another extinct species found in the fossil record). Again, these turn out to be just some special attributes without any necessary reptilian ancestry at all.
Finally, there are the links of ape to man evolution. There are two major genera involved in this transition: the now extinct ape genus containing the Autralopithecines, and the human genus Homo. The most famous of the Australopithecines is Lucy, Au. afarensis. She has been cited as human ancestor mostly on account of her hips, which appear to allow for more upright action than most apes, who go on all fours most of the time. A close analysis shows that her hip bones are made just like chimps and other apes today, and she likely took to all fours and went bipedal only a small amount of the time.
And watch out for those facial shots, mixing ape and human appearances; none of Lucy’s facial bones were ever found.
Another Australopithecine is a more recent discovery, Au. sediba. He has one advantage for human ancestry and one alone: a long thumb. This thumb is so long, however, that we can find little real use of it, and it couldn’t possibly have been a predecessor of our own.
Then there are the hominids. Homo erectus, Homo neanderthalensis, Homo sapiens – all of these are actual people. They differ somewhat, in skull or stature, but so do modern people of different cultural races. Being short, like the pygmy fossils once thought to have been ‘missing links’ or having a protruding jaw like Neanderthal(we now know, however, that his jaw was actually artificially protruded to make it more ape-like) does not make the human being a missing link. Jewelry, mathematically precise musical instruments, and tools have been found in the graves of these supposed primitive peoples’ graves. More and more evolutionists are admitting that the Neanderthal’s skeletal differences was more likely due to vitamin deficiency than ape ancestry, and up to 5% of a modern European's DNA is linked to Neanderthal DNA. A slightly higher percentage of Denisovan (another “missing link” that was really just another people group) DNA is found in some Asian cultures.
Australopithecines were apes, and hominids are people – no bones about it. The fossil record, instead of showcasing gradual evolution’s transitional links, portrays animals and humans made according to their kind. Variation amidst created kinds is not evidence for evolution.
Which brings us to another important point: evolution is unobserved in modern biology. Head to a Natural History Museum and look at the Galapagos Island Finches or open up a public school biology textbook to see the infamous Pepper Moths. Nope, these don’t count.
Variation among any organism today is sighted as evolution in action, be it with different dog breeds, a single frog species differentiating on two different sides of the river, or antibiotic resistant bacteria. But the Galapagos Island Finches are the classic example, and the ones the Darwin used, and they will suffice to explain the point.
Consider the first finches to reach the Galapagos Islands. The original finches had great genetic diversity, some being big and colorful, others being short and dull; some having long, graceful beaks, others having short and powerful ones. As they spread out among the islands, however, the finches find that there are quite different food sources on them. One island has lots of insects, and little plant produce. The long-beaked finches find it easy to snatch them out of the air, but short-beaked ones starve and die off. If short beaks still exist in the long-beaked birds’ gene pool, they probably won’t survive long out of the nest. Contrariwise, the island with lots of nuts and berries will ‘favor’ the short, powerful beaked birds, and long-beaked ones disappear. Different factors besides food play a role, and things like size and color are also determined by the environment. Before you know it, the single, diverse finch species has become several different finch species. Presto! They have evolved!
Evolved? If ‘evolve’ means ‘change,’ then sure, they’ve done that. But what has really happened here? The birds started with genetic diversity and have become little isolated pools of specialized genetic traits. They’re still finches, and if anything, each new species has lost information.
Take a look back at the pepper moths. When pollution filled the air, the white moths became more visible on the darker, polluted tree bark. Suddenly, their darker, peppered friends, previously rare and living much shorter lives, became the genetic favorite as white moths were eaten out of the environment with more rapidity. But when pollution died down and trees retained their pale bark, the reverse happened, and white moths returned.
Or antibiotic resistant bacteria – the gene for antibiotic resistance existed long before antibiotics entered the medical scene. But in the absence of such medicines, the gene was very rare – in fact, it actually harmed the bacteria that possessed it. Exposing bacteria to antibiotics will kill off those without the bad gene, but in any other condition, that same gene would be harmful. It all depends on the bacteria’s environment.
In each of these cases, variation occurred. But variation is not to be equated with evolution. There are actually two very distinct definitions of that word: it can mean the change of one kind of organism into another, or it can mean, simply, change within a kind of organism. Nobody denies that organisms change. Dogs have great genetic capacity to produce Poodles, Labs and Beagles. But could a dog turn into a duck? That’s simply not going to happen. And it is NOT the kind of ‘evolution’ we observe today.
When God created the universe, He made the plants “according to their kind” and the swimming creatures “according to their kind” and the winged birds “according to their kind” and the creeping animals, the wild animals and the livestock each “according to their kinds.” When He sent the animals to Noah’s Ark He sent the animals “according to their kinds.” (This means that, despite there being millions of species of air-breathing land animals that God wanted saved, there were only a few thousand kinds. Given the size of the Ark and the number of animals, then – both of which can be measure or estimated –there was plenty of room for Noah, his family, and storage of food and supplies. And that includes dinosaurs, most of which were only the size of a sheep, or started out no bigger than a football sized egg).
Bible-believing scientists today are trying to determine some of these original kinds. Some are obvious, such as the horse kind. It includes Donkeys, Zebras, Ponies and Arabians. Others are less obvious. Llamas, alpacas and camels are part of the same created kind, as are Bottlenose Dolphins and False Killer Whales. This means that God didn’t necessarily create elephants, mammoths and mastodons, but He created the original pachyderms with the genetic capacity to differentiate into elephants, mammoths and mastodons, according to the environmental pressures. Dinosaurs? There were thousands of species (or probably less; males and females of the same species are sometimes classed separately in the confusion) but only around fifty dinosaur kinds existed.
So next time a News headline pops up, declaring boldly, “Evolution caught in Action!” realize that the animal involved is doing nothing more than employing the amazing genetic diversity that God gave its kind six thousand years ago.
When you look at evolution from a genetic perspective you start seeing things get really interesting. Mutations and natural selection are exalted as the driving forces behind evolution. But if God gave organisms the genetic capacity to differentiate “according to their kinds,” shouldn’t something else be going on here?
We’ve already looked at natural selection at a macroscopic level, in the way that kinds diversify into different species. Natural selection takes information out of the gene pool. Mutations, then, must be the place where information is created. After all, in order for a protoplasm to turn into a president, there has to be some creation of information in the genome.
Mutations come in many ways, shapes and forms. They can flip a gene, repeat it, copy it and transpose it somewhere else in the genome, or cut it out from its place to jump to another. They can also be deleted. In multicellular organisms, mutations are almost entirely neutral. Having one weird cell is not going to affect the processes of the entire organism in such a way as to enable it to evolve. It probably has a life of only a few months anyway; then it will be gone. But on a genetic level, mutations are always deleterious.
It is true that a mutation may sometimes have a beneficial effect. The mutation that causes winglessness in beetles on a windy island is ‘beneficial.’ But only in that environment, and not on a genetic level.
In fact, mutations are causing the human genome to decay at 1-2% per generation. Our genomes are undergoing mutations that, whether they have beneficial consequences or not, are causing it to degenerate. In fact, starting with a hypothetical perfect genome and allowing it to degenerate at this rate would give it 90,000 mutations in 300 generations. Humans today have approximately 90,000 mutations in their genomes. And 300 generations is six thousand years.
The human race – and all life on earth – is experiencing genetic decay. Ultimately, this can only lead to extinction. Mutations are causing the devolution, not advancement, of every living organism on the planet.
Why is this happening? One word: Sin. All creation groans under the curse of it, and our genomes are no different. But acceptance of Christ will make you a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) with the promise that when He returns you will be given a new body, like Christ’s, that will never decay. For God has promised that in His return He will restore creation (Acts 3:21) to its original state, when once more there will be no death, no suffering, no tears, and no pain, but we shall be reconciled to Him who made the world with a perfect relationship with Him, glorifying Him as we were originally meant to do.
Evolution is a religion of death. It requires millions of years of merciless struggle for survival. Our God is a God of Life. He is holy, and merciful, and just. No one can truly reconcile such a God with the horrors of this ungodly worldview.