How I became a creationist
28 June 2000
Although my pilgrimage from evolution to creation was not a long one, it was a fairly difficult one. The main reason for this was that at the time (1960s) there was no-one I knew to whom I could turn for satisfactory answers to the questions I had about creation and evolution.
Like many other Christians, I have had my fair share of problems in my Christian walk. As soon as I became a Christian, I went home and told my parents about my conversion. Their reaction was one of violent opposition. They rejected me and my Christianity and I felt very much alone.
The first geology lecture I attended at the University of Aberystwyth (Wales) was on the evolution of life on earth. I went away thinking: How could I reconcile the lecture with what the Scriptures taught in Genesis? I decided to ask my Christian friends about creation and evolution, and I must say that I was amazed at their response: they all told me to believe in evolution and interpret the early chapters of Genesis accordingly (a belief called ‘theistic evolution’—i.e., evolution occurred and God has controlled the process). My pastor and older members of my church told me not to worry about this issue.
Initially, I was not satisfied with the theistic evolutionary interpretation of Genesis that my friends gave me, but all my friends believed in it—and I knew of no-one who accepted a literal Genesis—and eventually I, too, became a theistic evolutionist.
I obtained an honours degree in chemistry in 1967 and decided to continue with my study of chemistry by carrying on research in the field of gas kinetics in order to obtain a Ph.D. In the middle of my doctorate programme, I got married. I had met Irene in 1965 and we had courted for just over three years. During that time we had discussed with each other every major doctrine to ensure that we were ‘equally yoked’—something we had considered important. Although I had told Irene that I was a theistic evolutionist, it transpired that she did not really believe me—she thought that I was only saying that in order for her to argue in favour of special creation. This was a ploy I used with her in order to discuss our beliefs: I would often take an opposite view to get her to argue in favour of the orthodox view.
It was Irene who was responsible for getting me to accept a literal interpretation of Genesis. This did not happen overnight: it took two years.
One day Irene remarked that she thought that God was wonderful in making the scenery around our [Welsh] home so beautiful. I replied by telling her that all the scenery was the result of geological processes starting with mud being laid down in the Ordovician Period millions of years ago.
My wife did not like this interpretation and so we started arguing. Every time she argued for a literal interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis, I told her that she did so because she was ignorant, knowing nothing of geology or science for that matter!
After a few weeks, Irene tried a different ploy. I came home one evening and she immediately asked me if I believed in Jesus Christ. I told her that this was a silly question to ask because she knew very well that I believed in him! She then asked me if I believed in death, and I answered in the affirmative and asked where such stupid questions were leading.
Irene then asked me where I thought death came from. I remember answering that every living creature eventually reaches a point where it cannot replace all the worn out bits and pieces and so it dies. She told me that I was wrong, for there was a verse which taught quite clearly that ‘For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive’ (1 Corinthians 15:22). She then pointed out that I believed that three things in this verse were real: Christ, life, and death, but that, illogically, I did not believe in a real Adam.
Was Adam real?
Like all theistic evolutionists, I had problems answering the question, ‘Who was Adam?’ I did not know whether to believe that the story of Adam was mythical, to teach us that the human race was sinful, or to believe that Adam was a man (or even a group of men) into whom God breathed his spirit so that the human race is endowed with a spiritual nature. Yet here was my wife showing me a verse from the New Testament that seemed to teach that Adam was a real historical person, and by implication that he was the one who was responsible for our dying.
I remember thinking that if I had to believe in a real Adam, then I would be forced to believe in a real Eve, a literal Garden of Eden, a literal six days of creation and so on. I thought, ‘In order to believe in all that, I would have to commit intellectual suicide!’
This question of who Adam was really bugged me. As I said earlier, there was no-one whom I knew who interpreted Genesis literally. In order to answer my question, I read the New Testament to see what the writers’ attitude towards Genesis was. I soon began to realize that in the New Testament, all the events that were recorded in the early chapters of Genesis—the creation, Adam/Eve, the Fall, Noah, the Flood and so on—were accepted as literal and historical. There was nothing in the New Testament about their being mythical, allegorical, legendary or even evolutionary.
I saw that the Lord Jesus Christ accepted Genesis as being literal and historical by his reference to the creation of Adam and Eve and the events surrounding their sinning (Mark 10:1–12) and also by his reference to Noah and the Flood (Matthew 24:37–39). I was amazed at how many times the Apostle Paul compares and contrasts the Lord Jesus Christ with Adam. It was obvious to see that a belief in a literal Adam is absolutely crucial to the plan of salvation. If Adam did not fall from his original perfect state, then there is no sin, and hence Christ died for nothing.
The question that confronted me was, Is it possible not to believe in evolution?
Even though I was extremely busy pursuing my Ph.D., I made time to examine three main areas concerning the creation/evolution controversy: chemical evolution, the fossil record, and dating methods. I was totally unaware of any pro-creation book or article. It may therefore come as a shock to many to realise that I became a creationist by reading about evolution (including my old geology lecture notes)!
I was amazed at the naivety of the statements that were being made by the chemical evolutionists. They were purporting to have proved that life originated by chance on the prebiotic earth. I soon realised that the fossil record did not show the gradual evolution of one life-form into another as predicted, and demanded, by evolution. Third, as a chemist, I could see that the accuracy of any dating method relied on a number of assumptions; some of these were unprovable, and others were unknowable.
I began to realise that the idea of evolution was at best a hypothesis, and that it had not been proved. I became convinced (and am still convinced) that people believe in evolution because they choose to do so. There is not a shred of real evidence for the evolution of life on earth. I had also reached the conclusion that the early chapters of Genesis could be accepted as being literally and historically true.
I soon realised that there were others who had come to the same conclusions as I had (for example, The Genesis Flood by Whitcomb and Morris).
Why I Believe in Creation
A few months after moving to South Wales, I was invited to speak on creation/evolution. Over the next few years opportunities came my way to go to churches all over the UK to speak about why I believe in creation. I was also asked to write articles and books. The Lord was calling me to be used in this vital area of creation vs. evolution.