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‘Creation is faith; evolution is science’?


Published: 22 March 2015 (GMT+10)
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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

  1. E.g. life does not come from non-life; information does not arise through purely naturalistic processes. Return to text.

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Reader’s comments

Thomas B.
Well thought out and extremely well written. It's gratifying to hear from someone who saw the truth that evolution is not science, but rather a worldview/religion. And you saw it in science class!
Bill R.
I always find it troubling when people argue for religion and against science, or vice versa. The two have, or should have, very different rules, and being for one should not in any way diminish the other. The theory of evolution relies on evidence and inferences based on that evidence. The theory does represent the best compilation of inferences based on fossil evidence. Now, do scientists overstate their case? Absolutely. Too often I have seen scientists state, and try to defend, that "evolution is a fact." That is true only in a limited sense. The mechanism of natural selection has been observed directly in nature and in the lab. As such, it's proper to state that the mechanism of natural selection is an observable fact. The global theory of evolution, by which I mean the explanation that covers the entire history of the fossil record, is not a fact, but a very good theory. A good theory is the highest possible achievement in science, and thus it is disingenuous to label it as "just a theory." On the other hand, everything I have read regarding creation science is not science, but rather a series of arguments designed to convince people of a conclusion. The bottom line is that creation science is not science. Soooo…..there really shouldn't be a debate over which is correct. One is science, one is faith, and the two, while compatible, should not be at odds. One of my favorite quotes (don't know the author) is, "I can remember when preachers didn't do science, and scientists didn't preach." Scientists are wrong in overstating their certainty and creationists are wrong in claiming that what they do is science.
Philip Bell
You say that evolution "does represent the best compilation of inferences based on fossil evidence" and is "a very good theory". You did not read that in this article, nor will do so anywhere on this website, that evolution is "just a theory". On the contrary, it has long been among the arguments we argue against using.

However, are you aware that a number of paleontologist experts have, over the years, conceded that the fossil record does not furnish the best evidence for evolution, as committed evolutionists? Most famously, the late Stephen Jay Gould wrote "The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches … in any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the gradual transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and 'fully formed' " (Evolution’s erratic pace, Natural History 86(5):14, May 1977). He did not alter his view prior to his death.

And listen to this more recent admission: "Higher-level animal phylogenetics is hot. ... One thing the resulting phylogenetic forest has brought into sharp relief is that never before have we been faced with such conspicuous gaps between the body plans of closest relatives. Barring fortuitous discoveries from the fossil record, many or most of these gaps can be expected to become permanent. With our imagination as the only available bridge across these gaps, it seems inescapable that our scenarios of body plan evolution will remain forever precariously poised on the narrow edge between fact and fantasy" (Ronald Jenner, from publicity material for his lecture: ‘Please mind the gaps: fact and fantasy in the reconstruction of animal body plan evolution’, Natural History Museum, London, 29 June 2012). Oh, and lest anyone suspect this man is a creationist, as well as his role in the BMNH, Dr Jenner is editor of the evolutionary journal The Systematist, a Council member and Secretary of the European Society of Evolutionary Developmental Biology, and Advisory board member of the International Society for Invertebrate Morphology.

Natural selection is something we have no argument with; indeed it has an important role to play in creation biology, particularly in rapid post-Flood speciation. However, natural selection is not creative, merely selecting (as its very name suggests) from the pool of available genetic information. Without a viable explanation (by way of a genetic mechanism) for where de novo specified complexity comes from, natural selection is absolutely no help to evolution; and increasing numbers of leading evolutionists concede that standard neoDarwinian theory therefore fails; see e.g. here). Listen to this recent admission: “While natural selection explains how species change over time, accounting for how new species arise in the first place has proved rather trickier.  Darwin’s On the Origin of Species actually said nothing at all about the origin of species” (Arnold, C., The other you: The microbes living inside us don’t just play a vital role in our health—they also shape our evolution, New Scientist 217(2899):30–34, 12 January 2013).

Finally, you say "everything I have read regarding creation science is not science." This and your subsequent statements reveal that you've not taken time to actually engage with the voluminous factual information presented on this website (which nobody argues about, regardless of their world-view) which is far more compatible with Genesis-as-history than the molecules-to-man faith. In addition, the recent book and award-winning documentary film (available on DVD), Evolution's Achilles' Heels presents this case cogently and persuasively.
Gary W.
Good article, shows evolution is definitely built on faith. My only criticism would be that the evolutionist has no basis to call something good or bad without a Christian worldview. With their worldview they cannot account for justice, or know right from wrong.
Christian R.
It takes more faith to believe in the theory of evolution than to believe that the Creator created the Universe, and life. As a university student in the early 80's, I could see that my biochemistry and physiology courses were showing the extreme complexity and fragility of life. Over 2000 human enzymes, all complex proteins that require a very specific shape for a very specific task; protein synthesis is extremely complex, requires so many molecules with the exact shape, and has on-off switches, working automatically depending on need; filtration of the blood by kidneys; incredible effect of hormones and their concentrations; the intricate sequence of development from zygote to newborn; production of bird eggs, just the right thickness and able to breathe while remaining waterproof; the whole process of cell reproduction is marvelous; sexual reproduction of plants and animals is so varied, it shows the creative genius of the Creator. The cellular respiration and photosynthesis, with their multiple steps, and molecules, energy levels, control mechanisms and sequence are plain amazing. Trying to remember all these pathways for exams is mind boggling. As recently pointed out, Urey and Miller showed small amounts of simple organic molecules can be produced in controlled environment, as well as extremely toxic molecules, such as cyanides and formaldehyde, which kill any metabolic reaction. Sydney Fox mixed amino acids in various conditions to attempt making proteins, but could not get them to flawlessly make peptide bonds, vital to make proteins. Also, cell membranes are very complex to control what goes in and out of the cell. Meiosis, and the immune system, by chance? If biochemical and physiological descriptions are true, Creation is the only plausible explanation to life.
Michael S.
This whole issue of what 'science' is shows me that so many people by majority, believe in the power of the WORD. It has such a hold on people. That term, 'science', is the greatest question-begging-epithet of our day, and the problem is people automatically associate the term in their minds with, 'factually proven'. The evolutionists THRIVE on this!

Logically it isn't correct, not all science is even equal. We could not operationally test macro-evolution [any more than] we could exotic air; essentially evolution could be called a naturalist philosophy. is very clear that this epithet [science], this chief of all buzz-words, DRIVES all of their sophistry. Without that term, without being able to discuss science, they are like the proverbial emperor with no trousers, they are undone and defenceless, such is the propagation of the falsehood. It is simply used to DEFINE their way to victory by semantics. It is a constant frustration because even when I debate it with them they DROWN me in the epithet, and statements about what science is and what it says and how it operates; it is impossible to escape the ropes of their rhetoric. :-(
Marie A.
Wow! A great article. That would make a good pamphlet to give to believers in evolution (although the parallel to Hebrews 11 might not, probably would not, ring a bell)!
Murk P.
Interesting and humorous approach - thank you.

If no sovereign behind it all - there is no connection behind any two (or more) events.

In other words, if evolution be true we cannot know it to be true; because, not only the lack of connection, but truth would be impossible.

And this would be absolutely true (Get it?).
Les G.
It is important that we who are God’s children realize that atheistic evolution is a religion, a faith. Often we concentrate, in apologetics, to show the errors of “Christian” sects (such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, for example) and of other religions –Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and so on; forgetting that one of the most pervasive false religions is evolutionism. It is a belief that should be combated with all our might, especially in our Western world and culture. This also means that Theistic Evolutionists (really a contradiction in terms!), among whom I once counted myself, are syncretists – attempting to combine two religions, two mutually exclusive faiths. Biblically they can’t be combined. Belief in the Bible as the inerrant Word of God cannot be the bedfellow of any belief in evolution. Thank you, C.M.I., for your hard and, I am sure, often discouraging work, honouring God by upholding the truth.
Marc K.
“[Evolution] is based on a continuously changing system of inferences, ‘educated guesses’, and ‘just so’ stories (which sometimes even defy logic and known scientific principles)”

Apropos the overall point of the article, when has logic been a matter of faith? Its irresistibility applies equally to the Christian and non-Christian!
The faith that the debate rests upon faith is a misapprehension of the debate’s epistemological foundation and clearly strikes against an honest, disinterested reading of the Bible. Paul unambiguously declares, “it is not that [men] do not KNOW the truth about God…for the Godhead is plainly UNDERSTANDABLE through things which he has made and which are commonly seen and known”. One may very well ask where ‘faith’ is entertained by Paul here?

Sanford’s, Remine’s, Gitt’s, Spetner’s works are, inter alia, testimony that it is not a matter of faith (‘faith’, that is, according to the extremely circumscribed and semantically inexact manner that it’s been defined as in the article) but a matter of logic, rationality, science etc. It is a question of using the understanding to understand, as Solomon profoundly argues: “Wisdom is the principal thing. Therefore get wisdom and in all your getting, get understanding.”

Ours should be an appeal to the rational common ground between believer and non-believer: the Creation, something, ironically, CMI routinely forgets. The “facts” and “mechanics” of an evolved world will not deliver the same world as a created one. It defies common sense and rationality to argue, either tacitly or overtly, that an old world, brought about by chance, would be indistinguishable from a young, designed one. This is why the previous mentioned writers’ works are so destructive to the evolutionary case.
Philip Bell
The writer did not state that logic was a matter of faith, rather that the claims of evolutionists sometimes run counter to logic, which is true; witness the oft-quoted admission of Richard Lewontin that some of his camp's claims demonstrate 'patent absurdity' and may be 'counter intuitive' in their insistence on a materialistic worldview.
True, your reference to the Apostle Paul's declaration (from Romans 1:20) leaves all men inexcusable respecting the existence and attributes of the Creator; they are "clearly seen". Nevertheless, Hebrews 11:3 also asserts "By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God..." and we read further that faith regarding God's existence is an essential prerequisite to pleasing Him (Hebrews 11:6). This is not the place to discuss the theological ramifications of this more fully. The valuable scientific contributions of the men you mention reinforce the inexcusability of those who deny the Creator; they also demonstrate the reasonableness of the faith of those who stand on their non-negotiable belief in biblical Creation. It is highly doubtful that any of the men you cite would deny the essential requirement for faith.

The writer of the article in question stated, "Belief in creation is based on faith indeed—and so is belief in evolution." Notice, he did not write "belief in the Creator", which was the subject of the Apostle Paul's argument in Romans 1:20. The writer of this article was using "Belief in creation" as a shorthand to convey an acceptance of the Genesis record (Genesis 1-11 as history), as opposed to the belief in naturalistic evolution.

You wrote: "It defies common sense and rationality to argue, either tacitly or overtly, that an old world, brought about by chance, would be indistinguishable from a young, designed one." The writer did not argue this, even tacitly. Rather, the bulk of this short piece demonstrated his belief in the opposite; hence his summary statement about evolution including guesses and just-so stories and the like. Biblical faith has, as its object, the God whose Word is true. In contrast, the 'faith' mentioned in this article's 'evolutionist's standard version' of Hebrews 11 is truly a blind faith; where they are often cognizant of evolution's achilles' heels but choose to plough on regardless (refer again to Lewontin's statement).

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