By Mark A. Kellner
Every February 12 in the United States, two famous people who share the same birthday get a fair amount of media attention.
One of them is Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States, the leader noted best for ending legalized slavery in America with the beloved Emancipation Proclamation, which was issued during the height of the Civil War.
The other, born the same day and year as Lincoln, is Charles Darwin, who once studied for the clergy. Darwin, of course, is most noted for postulating that all life on earth has evolved from, well, something less than what ended up. Humans, he suggested in his 1859 book The Origin of Species, were not specially created but had somehow evolved from an apelike ancestor.
After Darwin's death, it fell to others to expand and develop his thesis into what could be called the atheist's creation myth—the belief that there is no intelligent creator, but rather that undirected, lucky adaptive change led to humans walking around on two feet, fish swimming in the oceans, and all sorts of insects crawling upon the land and birds flying in the sky.
A Disputed Theory
Decades after Darwin’s death, his theory remains controversial. If life indeed evolved as Darwin claimed, that would not make a Creator unnecessary, but it would also leave little reason for a creation. Humanity would have no actual purpose on this planet—other than, say, to live and die to propagate the species. Sure, we might achieve some measure of happiness along the way, but it would be futile and pointless, ultimately speaking.
While Darwinism has long had its opponents, today’s public schools—and even many private religious institutions—present evolutionary theory as established truth. As Britain’s Economist magazine notes, “At least in all liberal democracies, children are generally taught by their science teachers to understand the emergence of life through a Darwinian lens.” To its credit, the article noted that many people still dissent from Darwin’s views, even if the magazine sees that as retrograde thinking.
What do “highly religious” Americans think of evolution? Well, it depends on how the question is asked, according to the Pew Research Center, an independent think tank.
If the question is posed as “whether or not human evolution has occurred, the processes behind evolution and the role of God in those processes together in one question,” Pew said, then 62 percent of white Protestant evangelicals and 71 percent of black Protestants “took the position that humans have evolved over time.”
The numbers change when the manner of the question changes, Pew acknowledged. “First, survey respondents were asked if they believe humans have evolved over time. Those who said humans have evolved then branched to a second question which asked for their views about the processes behind evolution, including the role of God in those processes,” they reported.
In that case, “about two-thirds of white evangelical Protestants (66 [percent]) took a ‘creationist’ stance, saying that ‘humans have always existed in their present form since the beginning of time,’” the group acknowledged. Among African-Americans, the creationist position had 27 percent support.
Issues to be Considered
Whatever one’s reaction to these findings, the Pew research raises some issues that need to be considered.
First, what are churches teaching about origins and the consequences of a given viewpoint? There are, of course, widely differing views, even among so-called “evangelical” congregations, on the importance of the biblical creation account and its meaning for our lives today. But for those who claim to hold the Bible as God’s revealed Word, it becomes more difficult to dismiss or minimize the creation account.
If we trust the Bible as a source of moral authority and rules for happy, fulfilled living—as well as for its message of salvation and eternal life—then why would we neglect or deride the creation account? What is gained by saying one part of the Scriptures is false but that the rest is reliable?
And for those who choose to worship on the Sabbath day as defined in the Bible, the seventh day of the week, even more problems arise when embracing evolutionary theory. If there was no literal, six-day creation as detailed in Genesis 1, then there is little basis for a seventh-day Sabbath.
In Genesis 2:2, 3, we read, “[O]n the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.”
The fact is, while many Christians may have accepted some form of evolutionary theory as an explanation of our origins, more and more scientists and teachers are coming to see many gaps that call Darwinism into question.
More than a thousands scientists—holders of doctoral degrees in the natural sciences or computer science, or holders of medical degrees who currently teach medicine—have signed a statement of “scientific dissent” from Darwinian theory, according to the Discovery Institute. The document reads, in part, “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”
Such “careful examination” can be seen as heresy on many campuses, however. In 2016, leaders of California State University at Northridge paid nearly $400,000 to former laboratory manager Mark Armitage to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit. The suit alleged the school fired Armitage because his research and published writings pointed out issues at variance with standard evolutionary teaching, such as the presence of soft tissue on recently discovered dinosaur bones. If the bones were indeed millions of years old, such soft tissue shouldn’t still exist, although some scientists say the presence of iron in the tissue might preserve them.
The school said it settled because they didn’t want to have the case drag through the court system. But one report noted that “some scientists [said] the outcome has implications for how scientists critique creationist colleagues going forward.”
You don’t have to wait for colleges and universities to sort things out. Your Bible—and the world around us—offer evidence for the hand of a loving Creator who set the world in motion, and who created everything in that world. Evolution, Creation & Logic is a message from Pastor Doug that answers the question, “What evidence exists to prove the story of creation?” You can also read his article The Bible and Evolution.
And our FREE online book Amazing Wonders of Creation points you toward signs in the natural world that could make even a hardened evolutionist question Darwinism. It’s a fascinating, educational read.