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Builders of Faith Explorer I:  Exploring Bible Truth

Lesson 3—Can Christians Believe in Evolution?

 

 

1.  According to Genesis 1, how long did God take to create the world?

 

“Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.  So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”  Genesis 1:31.

 

Answer:  Six days.  Many Christians believe in evolution, so that they reinterpret Genesis 1 as an allegory by declaring that each day was symbolic of a long period of time, perhaps millions of years.  But could this be true?  First, whenever the Biblical Hebrew word yom is modified by a number, it refers to literal, 24-hr. days, which is the case throughout Genesis 1.  That means the burden of proof must be on those who view these days as long periods of time.  However, notice that each day here is also referred to by an expression, “the evening and the morning were the first day” (verse 5), “the evening and the morning were the second day” (verse 8), and so on. This confirms that each day was a literal 24-hr. day, consisting of the night part of the day and the day part of the day.  Finally, there is the carbon dioxide-oxygen cycle between plants and animals/people.  Plants give off oxygen for animals and people, who in turn give off carbon dioxide for the plants to use.  Plants were created on the 3rd day of Creation week (verses 11-13).  Birds weren’t created until the 5th day (verses 20-23), and land animals and people weren’t created until the 6th day (verses 24-31).  Thus, all plants would have long ago died before any animals or people came along if each day stood for millions of years!

 

 

2.  What does the Sabbath Commandment say about the “days” of Creation week?

 

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God.  In it you shall do no work:  you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.  For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day.  Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.”  Exodus 20:8-11.

 

Answer:  The Sabbath Commandment clearly refers back to the “days” of Creation week and commands God’s people to keep each 7th day as a holy memorial of God’s creative power at Creation week.  Since His people were obviously to keep the 7th day as a 24-hr. day, then the other six days of Creation week must also have been six literal, 24-hr. days.  Therefore, there simply is no justification for interpreting the “days” of creation as long periods of time in order to accommodate belief in evolution.


3.  Even if Genesis 1 were interpreted as an allegory, what major  principles would it teach?

"Let there be light; and there was light...Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters...and it was so...Let the waters...be gathered together in one place...and it was so...Let the earth bring forth grass...and it was so...Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens...and it was so...Let the waters abound with the abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth...So God created great sea creatures...and every winged bird...Let the earth bring forth the living creature...and it was so...Let Us make man in Our image...So God created man in His own image...."  Genesis 1:3, 6-7, 9, 11, 14-15, 20-21, 24, 26-27.

Answer #1:  Any rational reading of Genesis 1 must lead the reader to the conclusion that everything was created with planning and deliberate calculation.  There is absolutely no hint of randomness or any kind of chance.  Indeed, the following chart based on Genesis 1 illustrates just how deliberate and planned everything was:

                                        Form                                                     Fill

Day 1                              Light (1:3-5)                                          Specific Lights (1:14-19)               Day 4

Day 2                              Sky & Sea (1:6-8)                                  Birds & Fish (1:20-23)                  Day 5

Day 3                              Land & Vegetation (1:9-13)                   Land Animals & Humans              Day 6

By contrast, fundamental to all variations of evolutionary theory is the idea that everything evolved by randomness and chance.

"Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb...and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind...So God created great sea creatures...according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind...Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind...each according to its kind...."  Genesis 1:11 (cf. v. 12), 21, 24 (cf. v. 25).

Answer #2:  Please note that everything was created separate and distinct from other plants and animals so that each kind of plant and each kind of animal reproduces only the same kind of plant or animal.  Of course, the Bible does not define precisely what the word kind means.  Nevertheless, one cannot read Genesis 1 rationally without understanding that it most definitely marks a line of distinction between different broad kinds of plants and animals.  By contrast, all variations of evolutionary theory teach that all life forms present today had a common ancestor.

It is quite obvious that even if Genesis 1 was supposed to be interpreted allegorically, it would represent at least two fundamental principles.  First, that everything was planned and deliberately calculated.  Second, that everything came into existence as separate and distinct from all other kinds.  Thus, Genesis 1 totally contradicts all forms of evolutionary thought and is completely incompatible with it.  Plainly, Genesis 1 cannot be reconciled with evolution!
 


4.  What is the Big Bang Theory, and are there any texts in the Bible that are consistent with any scientific evidence used to support that theory?

 

“Who [the Lord] cover Yourself with light as with a garment, Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.”  Psalm 104:2.  “Thus says the Lord, who stretches out the heavens…”  Zechariah 12:1.

 

Answer:  The Big Bang Theory says that about 13.5 billion years ago, the building blocks of matter gravitated toward each other, compressed together until they exploded, and as the materials cooled, various stars, planets, moons, galaxies, and so on evolved into the universe.  The most popular evidence for this theory is the so-called Red Shift, which states that when distant objects are moving away from each other, their light moves into the red part of the light spectrum.  Since this is what astronomers observe, they suggest that if we could move backwards in time, we would eventually see the Big Bang start the evolution of the universe.  The texts cited above, if taken literally, would be consistent with what astronomers observe.  However, they do not prove the Big Bang Theory, as we shall soon see.

 

 

5.  What is the most important problem that atheist believers in the Big Bang have? 

 

Answer:  Where did the original matter come from in the first place?  If you don’t believe in God, then there are really only two options:  (1) matter is eternal (i.e., has always existed), or (2) spontaneous generation (i.e., it simply popped into existence without any cause at all).  First, matter cannot be eternal because it occupies space; and anything that occupies space is limited by space.  Moreover, modern physics tells us that anything that occupies space also occupies time and is thus limited by time.  Finally, anything limited by time cannot be eternal.  Second, spontaneous generation is sheer speculation and has never been observed.  Even when certain subatomic particles appear to arise out of nothing, it only occurs under carefully controlled laboratory conditions; then such particles disappear as fast as they appear—hardly an adequate explanation for the existence of the universe.

 

 

6.  What is the most important problem that Christian believers in the Big Bang have?

 

“For God is not the author of confusion but of peace…”  I Corinthians 14:33.  “Let all things be done decently and in order.”  I Corinthians 14:40.

 

Answer:  Of course, Christian believers in the Big Bang could simply say that God created the original matter.  However, it is inconceivable that a God of order would choose to “create” the universe by creating a huge explosion and then allow the resulting chaos to evolve into the universe.  It is simply contrary to God’s very character.

 

 

7.  What does the language of Scripture tell us about how God created the universe?

 

“By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.”  Psalm 33:6.  “For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.”  Psalm 33:9.  “For He commanded and they [e.g., angels, sun, moon, stars] were created.”  Psalm 148:5.

 

Answer:  These texts clearly are not compatible with any notion of the Big Bang Theory, for they speak of instant creation from nothing.

 

 

8.  How did life originate on earth?

 

“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”  Genesis 2:7.  “In Him [Jesus] was life…”  John 1:4.  “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life.”  John 11:25.

 

Answer:  The Bible plainly says that God is the Life-Giver and that all life comes from Him.  Atheistic evolutionists believe that somehow the right chemicals came together and perhaps a spark of lightning or another source of electricity brought them to life.  But scientists have been unable to create life even under ideally controlled laboratory conditions, and common sense tells us that life comes from life; that non-life cannot create life.  Besides, this idea of spontaneous generation was discredited by Louis Pasteur in the 19th century.  Before his time, many scientists believed that maggots spontaneously generated themselves in sealed jars with rotted meat in them.  But 19th century science discovered that the eggs of the maggots were already in the sealed jars.  Although they don’t talk much about it, atheistic evolutionists must believe that life occurred by spontaneous generation.

 

 

9.  What processes do evolutionists say account for the evolution of life on earth?

 

Answer:  (1) Natural Selection and (2) Genetic Mutations.  Natural Selection is better known as “the survival of the fittest” principle—that the stronger members of a species survive so that some of them evolve into higher forms of life.  But notice that this principle operates on subtraction, not addition; it doesn’t add any new life forms by itself.  Regarding Genetic Mutations, first, more than 90% of all mutations are harmful to the life form; some biologists even suggest more than 99% are harmful.  Second, mutations of a single gene are very rare.  Finally, in order to have a complex system (such as eyes) evolve, would require several simultaneous mutations that fit together perfectly.  Although we can almost never say that something is absolutely impossible, the law of probabilities that this could happen are microscopically low.  We believe it is unreasonable to believe that it has ever happened, but each person must determine if it is reasonable or not.

 

 

10.  But don’t the fossilized bones of Lucy and other alleged pre-man bones prove evolution is true?

 

“And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man:  They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.”  Luke 17:26-27.

 

Answer:  No.  First, in the large majority of these findings, an amazingly few number of bones are actually there.  And sometimes scientists assume a bone found nearby was from the same collection of bones—a conclusion sometimes disputed by other scholars.  Often even evolutionist scholars concede that many of these bone collections simply represent an ape or other similar creature, rather than a human (although that is certainly under-reported by the media).  Second, the dates given for such findings are based on the unproven principle of uniformitarianism—such as that soil depletion and soil deposition rates or the rate of decay of radioactive minerals associated with such bones or that the rate of carbon-14 on earth have remained the same throughout earth’s history.  But if the Genesis Flood account (Genesis Ch. 6-8) actually happened, then we must conclude that uniformitarianism in all of these examples cannot be true, thus placing the very old dates given by evolutionists in very considerable doubt.  This is true because the great heat generated by volcanic action and the movement of tectonic plates, as well as depletion of what once was a much heavier atmosphere (as a large water canopy) in the pre-Flood world (Genesis 7:11-12), certainly means that our dating techniques cannot be reliable.  And as the text above illustrates, Jesus Himself believed in the Genesis Flood account!

 

 

11.  In contrast to evolution, how does Genesis depict the creation of man?

 

“So God created man in His own image…”  Genesis 1:27.  “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”  Genesis 2:7.

 

Answer:  The Bible pictures God as personally taking great care to form man’s physical body from the dust (or clay) of the ground, and then giving him life.  And it says that He created man in His own image.  Even if you were to somehow interpret these texts figuratively, the words clearly cannot be consistent with the theory of biological evolution!

 

 

12.  What is the best evidence that evolutionists have to support their case, and is it valid?

 

Answer:  The best evidence that at first glance supports evolution of life is the known fact that life forms adapt to new environments with larger bird beaks, change of skin color, and so on.  However, what Charles Darwin, founder of evolution, did not know in his day is that environmental changes sometimes results in the turning off of certain genes (making them recessive) and the turning on of other genes (making them dominant).  This scientifically proven fact offers a perfectly plausible explanation for small changes in life forms rather than relying upon mutations.  Sometimes this switching on and off of genes is called micro-evolution, but we prefer to call it genetic adaptation instead.  And this genetic adaptation never results in one kind of animal evolving into a very different kind of animal.  Indeed, the genetic code already contains the possibility of different adaptations.

 

 

13.  What does the Bible teach regarding the cause of death in the world?

 

“Therefore, just as through one man [Adam] sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned….”  Romans 5:12.  “For the wages of sin is death…”  Romans 6:23.

 

Answer:  The Bible clearly teaches that death is the result of mankind’s sin.  But evolution declares that death is an ongoing natural part of the evolution of life—that it will continue forever as evolution itself is a never-ending process.  So if a Christian believes in evolution, (1) he cannot believe that a God of love (I John 4:8) would use the repeated deaths of living things to “create” more advanced life forms; and (2) he cannot believe in a Savior from sin and death, a Savior who will eventually end all death.  Thus, salvation means nothing, by which we mean it could not exist.

 

 

14.  What does the apostle Peter say about Christian skeptics in the last days?

 

“…scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His [Jesus’] coming?  For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’  For this they willfully forget:  that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.”  II Peter 3:3-6.

 

Answer:  The context of II Peter chapter 2 discusses false prophets and false teachers in the church.  Therefore, the scoffers in II Peter 3 are also self-proclaimed Christians.  And these verses bluntly tell us that such Christian scoffers “willfully forget” the events of Creation week and of the global Flood.  Peter’s reference to the earth “standing out of water and in the water” refers to God having “divided the waters which were under the firmament [air in the sky] from the waters which were above the firmament….”  Genesis 1:7.  The words “willfully forget” are harsh words, but they come from the apostle Peter, not us.  This prediction has been being fulfilled since the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection in the late 19th century, and today evolution is quite popular in large parts of the Christian church.

 

 

15.  We return to the question title of this Lesson:  “Can Christians Believe in Evolution?”

 

Answer:  Christian church members and other self-proclaimed Christians are free to believe anything that they choose to believe, including evolution.  However, if they are generally aware of the basic teachings of evolution and of the Bible, they cannot accept both as true because in so many ways the Bible is not consistent with evolution.  Such Christians, called theistic evolutionists, are being intellectually dishonest with themselves if they persist in their attempts to reconcile the Bible with evolution because they simply cannot be reconciled.

 

 

Quiz for Lesson #3—Can Christians Believe in Evolution?
 

 

1.  Which of the following is true regarding the “days” of Creation Week? (3)

  Whenever a number is used with the Hebrew word yom, they are literal 24-hour days.

  The “morning and evening” formula for each day means they are literal 24-hour days.

  The carbon dioxide-oxygen cycle means they cannot each represent millions of years.

  The Sabbath Commandment requires that the Creation days must be literal 24-hour days.

Answer

Whenever a number is used with the Hebrew word yom, they are literal 24-hour days.
The carbon dioxide-oxygen cycle means they cannot each represent millions of years.
The Sabbath Commandment requires that the Creation days must be literal 24-hour days.

2.  What do believers in the Big Bang Theory believe? (2)

  God is absolutely necessary to have started the Big Bang.

  Matter is usually believed to have always existed in the universe.

  Some believe that matter simply popped into existence without a cause.

Answer

Matter is usually believed to have always existed in the universe.
Some believe that matter simply popped into existence without a cause.

3.  It is inconceivable that a God of order would choose to “create” the universe by creating a huge explosion and then allow the resulting chaos to evolve. (1)

  True

  False

Answer

True

4.  Regarding the origin of life, which of the following statements are true? (2)

  Atheistic evolutionists believe that the right mix of chemicals with a spark created life.

  Life can only come from life, and God is the ultimate source of all life in the universe.

  God is not necessary to explain the origin of life on earth.

Answer

Atheistic evolutionists believe that the right mix of chemicals with a spark created life.
Life can only come from life, and God is the ultimate source of all life in the universe.

5.  Which statements below about evolution of life are correct? (3)

  Evolutionists teach that natural selection and genetic mutation are the processes involved.

  At least 90 percent of all mutations are harmful to the life form.

  Natural selection operates on the principle of addition.

  It is unreasonable to believe that complex systems such as eyes could evolve by chance.

Answer

Evolutionists teach that natural selection and genetic mutation are the processes involved.
At least 90 percent of all mutations are harmful to the life form.
It is unreasonable to believe that complex systems such as eyes could evolve by chance.

6.  Which statements below about dating techniques are correct? (3)

  All dating techniques are based on the principle of uniformitarianism.

  We know that soil depletion and soil deposition rates are not uniform.

  The Bible story of the global Flood makes all dating techniques at least suspect.

  Most dating techniques can be scientifically relied upon.

Answer

All dating techniques are based on the principle of uniformitarianism.
We know that soil depletion and soil deposition rates are not uniform.
The Bible story of the global Flood makes all dating techniques at least suspect.

7.  Does life adapt to different environments? (1)

  Yes, and it is properly explained by genetic mutations.

  Yes, and it is properly explained by the switching on and off of certain genes.

  Yes, and currently we have no scientific explanation for that fact.

Answer

Yes, and it is properly explained by the switching on and off of certain genes.

8.  What is the relationship between evolution, death, and sin? (3)

  Evolution requires that death continue for as long as life does.

  The Bible teaches that death is an unnatural enemy caused by mankind’s sin.

  Salvation cannot exist if evolution were true.

  Sin is a natural part of intelligent life that will never go away.

Answer

Evolution requires that death continue for as long as life does.
The Bible teaches that death is an unnatural enemy caused by mankind’s sin.
Salvation cannot exist if evolution were true.

9.  What did the apostle Peter say about Christian skeptics in the last days? (2)

  They will willfully forget that Jesus is coming again.

  They will willfully forget that God created the heavens and the earth.

  They will willfully forget that the global Flood happened.

Answer

They will willfully forget that God created the heavens and the earth.
They will willfully forget that the global Flood happened.

10.  A Christian can honestly believe in both evolution and the Bible. (1)

  True

  False

Answer

False