Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Was Darwin right?

Sixth in a seven part series asking the "Tough Questions." Scripture passage is Genesis chapter one

In a 2005 poll conducted by Newsweek and Beliefnet, people were asked the question: “Do you believe that God created the universe?” 80 percent of those responding said the universe was created by God. It is interesting that after all the money and effort our universities and educational systems have spent on instructing people about evolution that 80 percent of people still believe that there is a God, and that that God created the world. Only ten percent taking the poll said the universe was not created by God. One percent said they did not believe in God.
Nine percent said they didn’t know.
Now, that’s all very interesting, but in the end, it doesn’t matter what people believe. If God actually created the world, it does not matter if 100% of the human race does not believe it, it is still true. God does not live and work by the results of polls. For instance, you are perfectly free to believe that the pulpit I am standing behind simply evolved over a period of time. Now, we all know that that is not true since it has a definite design, but you can believe it if you want. Someone with a name created this piece of furniture and it definitely exists. But, it wouldn’t matter if everyone in this room, or everyone in the world for that matter, didn’t believe this pulpit had a creator who existed, it would not alter the reality of the pulpit or its creator in any way.
Something deep inside all of us knows this, and that’s why I’m not bothered by the theory of evolution, and it’s why 80 percent of people in this country still believe that the world was created by God.
Right off: Science and the Bible are not in conflict. The conclusions of both are sometimes biased. But we have nothing to be afraid of by honest evaluation. Let’s first of all look at the claims of the bible about creation...Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created." Now, nowhere in the Bible does it say when God created. There is no time line. Jesus said in Mark 10:6 "But at the beginning of creation God ’made them male and female.’" Psalms 19:1-4 "The heavens declare the glory of God and the skies announce what his hands have made. Romans 1:20 "There are things about God that people cannot see--his eternal power and all the things that make him God."
All of these are wonderful passages about the creation of the world. But we have to remember a fact about the first eleven chapters of Genesis. These stories, creation, the garden, Cain and Abel, Noah’s ark, and the tower of Babel, were never intended to be factual historical accounts. These were parables, stories told in an effort to try to explain how humanity went from a perfect creation of a perfect God, to the fallen and broken world that we understand it to be. So we make assumptions about what the Bible means. But those who put their faith in evolution make assumptions too.
3 bedrock assumptions that evolutionists have given for our origins have all been shown to be on shaky ground. Let’s take a look at these three right now.
How did we get the conditions on planet earth that brought us our first one-celled animal from which all life forms supposedly evolved? For many years, evolution explained our origins by "spontaneous generation". Simply stated, this means that under the proper conditions of temperature, time, place, etc. decaying matter simply turns into organic life. This idea dominated scientific thinking until 1846, when Louis Pasteur shattered the theory. Under controlled laboratory conditions, in a semi-vacuum, no organic life ever emerged from decaying, nonliving matter.
Obviously, if spontaneous generation actually did take place in the distant past to produce the first spark of life, it must be assumed that the laws which govern life had to be completely different from what they are now.
But wait a minute! This won’t work either, because the whole evolutionary theory rests upon the assumption that conditions on the earth have remained uniform throughout the ages. Astrophysicists have found that there are over 60 criteria that are necessary for life on earth.
Life could not exist or form if any one of the following were true: Earth’s rotation was slower, or faster; We were 2% closer or further from the sun; Earth had a 1% change in sunlight; Earth was smaller or larger; the moon was smaller or larger; we had more than one moon; Earth’s crust was thinner or thicker; Oxygen/Nitrogen ratio was greater or less; ozone layer was greater or less.
This creates a dilemma. Because, to believe that life spontaneously emerged requires great faith in the impossible— no evidence— That’s the same accusation hurled at those who believe the world was created by an intelligent God.
Dr. George Wald, Nobel Prize winner of Harvard University, states it as honestly as an evolutionist can: "One has only to contemplate the magnitude of this task to concede that the spontaneous generation of a living organism is impossible. Yet here we are - as a result, I believe, of spontaneous generation." That statement by Dr. Wald demonstrates a much greater faith than a religious creationist can muster. Notice that the great evolutionary scientist says it could not have happened. It was impossible. Yet he believes it did happen. Why did he get a Nobel Prize? What can we say to that kind of reasoning?
If someone told you they could pick a winning lottery number and did you’d be impressed. The odds are 10(7). Suppose they did it twice in a row? One chance in a hundred thousand billion 10(14). Wow. You might wonder if something’s up.
The odds of evolution are like someone randomly winning thousands of lotteries in a row. Statistically possible, but also statistically absurd. The probability of a single cell forming by evolution through limitless time, particles and events has been calculated by a Swiss mathematician. Odds one chance in 10(160). Other scientists knock off a few zeros, but not many. That means 10 multiplied by itself 160 times, a number too large even to articulate. Statisticians point out that anything beyond 10(50) is beyond reason, essentially impossible or absurd. Evolution is a belief in spite of the fact that it’s statistically absurd.
Sir Frederick Hoyle, the famous British astronomer and agnostic said, "The current scenario of the origin of life is about as likely as a tornado passing through a junkyard beside Boeing airplane company and accidentally producing a 747 airplane,"
This proves that Evolution would have to be a miracle from God, wouldn’t it? In order to get that completely lucky, there’d have to be divine intervention wouldn’t there?
Second assumption: MUTATIONS
Another one of the backbone theories of evolution is the evidence of mutation. Mutation is where minor changes take place within animals. Every species has its own particular number of chromosomes which contain the genes. Within every human being are 46 chromosomes containing an estimated 100,000 genes, each one of which is able to affect in some way the size, color, texture, or quality of the individual. You are a result of those genes.
The assumption is that these genes, which provide the inherited characteristics we get from our ancestors, occasionally become affected by unusual pairing, chemical damage, or other influences, causing them to produce an unusual change in one of the offspring. Like having a child with 12 fingers, or one blue eye and one brown eye. This is referred to as a mutation. It is assumed by the evolutionists that through gradual changes wrought in the various species through mutation and over billions of years, the amoeba would eventually turn into an invertebrate, which became an amphibian, then a reptile, a quadruped, an ape form, and finally a man. In other words, the species are not fixed in the eyes of the evolutionists. Families are forever drifting over into another higher form as time progresses.
This means that all the fossil records of animal history should reveal an utter absence of precise family boundaries. Everything should be in the process of changing into something else – with literally hundreds of millions of half-developed fish trying to become amphibious, and reptiles halfway transformed into birds, and mammals looking like half-apes or half-men.
Now everybody knows that instead of finding those billions of confused family fossils, the scientists have found exactly the opposite. Not one single drifting, changing life form has been studied. Everything stays within the well-defined limits of its own basic kind and absolutely refuses to cooperate with the demands of modern evolutionists.
Ten times in the book of Genesis we read God’s decree concerning the reproduction of His creatures - "after its kind." Gen:1:25: And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creeps upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good." The word "kind" refers to species, or families. Each created family was to produce only its own kind. This forever precludes the drifting, changing process required by organic evolution where one species turns into another.
To put it the way my father would, "If we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?"
And, this is exactly what the fossil records reveal.
Even Darwin confessed: "There are two or three million species on earth. A sufficient field one might think for observation; but it must be said today that in spite of all the evidence of trained observers, not one change of the species to another is on record." Life and Letters, Vol. 3, p. 25.
Charles Singer, who wrote "A Short history of Science in the 19th Century" said that "Evolution is perhaps unique among major scientific theories in that the appeal to its acceptance is not that there is evidence for it...!"
As one digs deep into the earth, one layer or stratum after another is revealed. Often we can see these layers clearly exposed in the side of a mountain or roadbed cut. Geologists have given names to the succession of strata which pile one on top of another. Descending into Grand Canyon for example, one moves downward past the Mississippi, Devonian, Cambrian, etc., as they have been tagged by the scientists.
Now here is the perplexity for the evolutionary theory: The Cambrian is the last stratum of the descending levels that has any fossils in it. All the lower strata below the Cambrian have absolutely no fossil record of life other than some single-celled types such as bacteria and algae.
Why not?
The Cambrian layer is full of all the major kinds of animals found today except the vertebrates. In other words, there is nothing primitive about the structure of these most ancient fossils. Essentially, they compare with the complexity of current living creatures.
But the big question is: Where are their ancestors? Where are all the evolving creatures that should have led up to these highly developed fossils?
According to the theory of evolution, the Precambrian strata should be filled with more primitive forms of these Cambrian fossils in the process of evolving upward. Dr. Daniel Axelrod of the University of California calls it: "One of the major unsolved problems of geology and evolution."
George Gaylord Simpson, the "Crown Prince of Evolution", summarized it: "The sudden appearance of life is not only the most puzzling feature of the whole fossil record but also its greatest apparent inadequacy." The Evolution of Life.
There was even a Time magazine headline about the problem “Evolution’s big bang!” Apparently, evolution happened rapidly. All at once. Sounds like creation to me.
The absence of Precambrian fossils points to one great fact, unacceptable to the evolutionists - a sudden creative act of God which brought all the major creatures into existence at the same time. The preponderance of the evidence in fossils indicates the creation of many species all at once, instead of any gradual process from one species to another.
Here’s the real point in all this talk of the possibility, or impossibility of evolution.
Evolution says Life is Chance.
Creation says God created with intelligence and design
Evolution says you’re just an overgrown ape.
Creation says you were made in the image of God.
Evolution can’t place any value on love.
Creation says God loves beauty, and love is meaningful.
Evolution says Jesus is a fraud.
The bible says he created us and wants to recreate us.
Some sincere Christians believe that God created the world by using the evolutionary process. They don’t believe the world is the result of random chance or an accident, they believe it was created, but that God used evolution in creating the world. Some Christians believe that God created the world in seven literal 24 hour days, others believe it was more like seven million years. It could have been seven seconds for all we really know, but the fact is that however God did it, using whatever method and time period God chose, God created the world.
This is ground zero for our faith. Everything we believe hinges on and grows out of this fact. Everything we understand about the world and life stems from whether we believe that God started all this, or that it is all an accident.
The whole scheme of redemption — God coming to the world in the person of Jesus to live before us and die for us — is ridiculous unless we are the creation of a God who tremendously loves us and will do anything to bring us back to himself.
And there’s three important points for us to grasp this morning about the importance of God creating the world.
The first way is: It saves us from living in ignorance.
If you understand that there is a God who created all that exists, you understand that there is a design and purpose to life, and your life in particular. You have the understanding that there is Someone who is holding all this together and is watching out for us.
One of the novels from C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series is titled The Magician’s Nephew. In symbolic language it tells the story of the creation of the world by telling how Aslan the lion created Narnia by singing it into existence. However, there is one character who refuses to hear the song. Listen as Lewis tells the story:
“When the great moment came and the beast spoke, Uncle Andrew missed the whole point for a rather interesting reason. When the lion had first begun singing, long ago when it was still quite dark, he had realized that the noise was a song. And he had disliked the song very much. It made him think and feel things he did not want to think and feel. Then, when the sun rose and he saw that the singer was a lion (“only a lion,” as he said to himself) he tried his hardest to make himself believe that it wasn’t singing and never had been singing — only roaring as any lion might in a zoo in our own world. ‘Of course it can’t really have been singing,’ he thought, ‘I must have imagined it. I’ve been letting my nerves get out of order. Who ever heard of a lion singing?’ And the longer and more beautifully the lion sang, the harder Uncle Andrew tried to make himself believe that he could hear nothing but roaring. Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed. Uncle Andrew did. He soon did hear nothing but roaring in Aslan’s song. Soon he couldn’t have heard anything else even if he had wanted to. And when at last the lion spoke and said, ‘Narnia awake,’ he didn’t hear any words: he heard only a snarl.”
We can choose to live in ignorance to God’s divine creative nature, or we can choose to see God’s revelation all around us, and search for purpose in this world and in our lives.
The second way understanding that God created the world helps us is: It helps us to understand that we are accountable.
Ah, here is the crucial point with many people who want to wish away God’s existence. The problem with believing there is a God is that it means there is someone who is above you. It means that there is a God, and you can no longer be your own God. You are answerable to someone. You are accountable for the way you live and the things you do. If there is a God, then the moral laws he has laid down apply to you. Right and wrong are no longer determined by what you think is okay. If there is a God, then your life does not belong to you. If there is a God, then the world is bigger than you, and you have to discover God’s purpose for your life and live out that purpose.
Last year, the London Zoo posted a sign in front of their newest exhibit, reading, “Warning: Humans in Their Natural Environment.” The so-called “exhibit” featured eight Homo sapiens, clad in bathing suits and pinned-on fig leaves. The human “captives” were chosen from an online contest, and spent their time sunning on a rock ledge, playing board games, and waving to spectators. The goal of the exhibit was to downplay the uniqueness of human beings as a species. “Seeing people in a different environment, among other animals,” said Polly Wills, “teaches members of the public that the human is just another primate.”
Many people are happy to think that they are not that special — that they are only another animal. It gives them a good excuse to behave like an animal. They want no moral boundaries, and no one to whom they are accountable.
Evolution is simply the attempt to explain the existence of the world given the presupposition that there is no God. It is a very convenient theory for those who do not want to answer to God. Many people actually prefer the thought that there is no God to whom we are accountable. They don’t want anyone restricting their freedom, even if it is God. For these people, the most disturbing scripture of all is Hebrews 4:13, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
But God is real and we are accountable to God’s plans for us.
The third way understanding that God created the world helps us is: It helps us to understand that God is in charge of history.
This is God’s world. There is a plan. We are not going around in circles. There is not only a design, there is a direction. The Bible declares, “For us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live” (1 Corinthians 8:6).
Against the overwhelming pride of mankind comes the questions which God posed to Job:
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone — (Job 38:4-11).
The evidence for the design, and therefore a Designer, of creation is overwhelming. This Intelligent Designer is none other than the God who created the universe in love. You are not an accident, you are the result of a God who has loved you into existence.
So don’t live in ignorance of God’s creative loving presence.
Know that God requires you to be accountable to the plans he has for you.
And know that God is fully in control of history, even to this day.
There’s a plan and you’re a part of it.
And that’s no cosmic accident my friends.

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