‘Creation is faith; evolution is science’?
It’s very likely you have heard this phrase before. And it’s actually true—but only half of it. That is, “Creation is faith” is true. As Christians we affirm that creation is indeed a matter of faith. We accept by faith that God created this world; and we can’t do otherwise. None of us was there when this world was created, so we only have God’s word for it; or rather, His Word.
The Bible does not shrink from teaching that belief in creation is indeed a matter of faith. Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is, “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” And what’s the very first thing on the list that needs to be accepted by faith (v. 3)? “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” There we have it! As Christians, we accept that we believe in creation—it’s a faith statement. Yes, there are many scientific facts that assure us that our faith accords with reality—but our faith rests ultimately on the Word of God.
However, I cannot say that the second part is true as well: “… evolution is science”. Yes, this is what evolutionists want us to believe; yes, this is what they teach our children in schools; yes, this is what they present as truth in movies and TV programs. And yet this part of the statement is simply not true.
And why would I say such a thing? Do I want to commit academic suicide? On the contrary, my academic training made this abundantly clear to me. While taking a year-two cell biology course, I became acutely aware of the amount of faith that is necessary to accept evolution. For example, phrases like, “it just happened that …” did not sound very convincing as a scientific explanation of how the DNA code arose. I had heard of evolution being supported by ‘just so’ stories, but I still found it shocking to be served one in my cell biology course.
The evolutionists’ faith
Then Hebrews 11 came to mind. I realised that this text applies not just to belief in creation, but also to the ‘Big Bang’ and evolution hypotheses. How would Hebrews 11 sound in the ‘evolutionists’ standard version’?
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. This is what the ancients were commended for.
By faith we understand that the universe was formed in a Big Bang, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible; by faith we realise that the universe made itself from nothing.
By faith we know that stars were formed out of gas clouds. By faith we acknowledge that heavy elements were formed from stars that exploded; we proudly affirm that we are all ‘star dust’, ‘sons of stars’.
By faith we claim that first life appeared in a ‘chemical soup’—although there is no geological evidence that this soup ever existed.
By faith we accept that the genetic code appeared through a mindless and unguided process of chemical activity, that the coded information got corrupted by many copying errors, and that this led to the production of new and better adapted types of organisms.
And without faith and imagination it is impossible to understand evolution, because anyone who studies evolution must believe that it really happened, since no real scientist doubts it.
By faith we affirm that the ‘present is the key to the past’. We don’t really know what the past was like, but this faith helps us ignore all the evidence for Noah and the Flood—such a preposterous idea would mean that God has judged the world and He may do it again.
By faith we boldly affirm that death is the hero of the plot and that less adapted organisms have to be sacrificed on the altar of progress. The less fit need to die in order to make space for the more fit—there’s no mercy and no care for the weak. Struggle for existence and death have always been around—this is how it was, how it should be, and how it will always be.
By faith we accept that we are nothing but animals. It’s only random mutations and natural selection that brought us here some 100,000 years ago and made us able to study our evolutionary past. We are here for a while, we suffer, and then we die.
And what more shall I say? I do not need to say many words about those who have already died: they are dead and buried and the chemicals that once formed their bodies have already entered nature’s cycle. As for their deeds—whether they did right or wrong, whether they brought justice or injustice, whether they were brave or cowards, whether they raped women or were faithful husbands, whether they properly raised their children or rather abused them, whether they helped others or tortured them, whether they invented new drugs to heal people or rather committed genocide—these are all irrelevant since there is no resurrection of the dead and no final judgement.
These are all dead, and very soon we will be too. There is no meaning in universe, and no purpose in life.
Eyewitness testimony versus a just so story
Belief in creation is based on faith indeed—and so is belief in evolution. The two faiths, though, were not born equal: one is based on a continuously changing system of inferences, ‘educated guesses’, and ‘just so’ stories (which sometimes even defy logic and known scientific principles1); the other is based on a historical account inspired by the Creator who, needless to say, was there when these things happened. And this account makes sense of the world we live in and which we all experience.
References and notes
- E.g. life does not come from non-life; information does not arise through purely naturalistic processes. Return to text.