Download a PDF of Apologia: Creation vs. Evolution
Was life on Earth created by God, or is it the product of evolution? This issue can lead to some extremely heated debate and it can make people act downright crazy. The reason is that there is a lot at stake. The Bible, God’s Word, tells us that all life was created by God. However, evolutionary scientists assert that random chemical reactions created the first self-replicating organism and that all life evolved from it. We will live our lives in dramatically different ways, depending on who we believe.
Make no mistake, the primary issue here is our faith. Do we have faith in God’s true Word, or do we place our faith in evolutionary scientists, who misuse God’s gift of science? To make things even more complicated, there are some Christians who do not reject evolution–believing in both creation and evolution. This belief is called Theistic Evolution. For example, in the recent Noah movie featuring Russell Crowe, as Noah tells how God created the world, we see simple organisms morphing into more complex ones over long periods of time. Theistic Evolution asserts that as God created the world, He used evolution to create all creatures. At first glance, this seems like a good theory, but creation and evolution are actually incompatible, for a number of reasons:
- God’s Word tells us that God created all kinds of creatures independently. Evolution holds that all life descended from one organism, defined by scientists as our Most Recent Common Ancestor.
- God’s Word says that all creatures were created in six literal days. The theory of evolution requires billions of years, for life as we know it to become a reality.
- God’s Word tells us that death was not present in the beginning, but was the result of Adam and Eve’s disobedience. However, evolution asserts that from the beginning, a mechanism called Natural Selection has been at work. Natural Selection is the idea that weaker organisms, which are less well suited for their environments, die and that stronger organisms with more appropriate genetic traits are left to reproduce. Christians affirm that Natural Selection exists, but they hold that it was introduced after Adam and Eve’s disobedience.
Both creation and evolution are belief systems, requiring faith, because we aren’t able to go back in time to witness the beginning of life and we are unable to replicate it for observation (interestingly, the Miller-Urey experiment actually tried to do so). Will you place your faith in God’s Word, or in evolutionary scientists?
“Every Scripture passage is inspired by God. All of them are useful for teaching, pointing out errors, correcting people, and training them for a life that has God’s approval.” – 2 Timothy 3:16 (GW)
“No prophecy ever originated from humans. Instead, it was given by the Holy Spirit as humans spoke under God’s direction.” – 2 Peter 1:21 (GW)
“In the beginning God created Heaven and earth…” – Genesis 1:1 (GW)
“And God saw everything that he had made and that it was very good. There was evening, then morning—the sixth day.” – Genesis 1:31 (GW)
“The Lord God commanded the man. He said, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden. But you must never eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because when you eat from it, you will certainly die.’” – Genesis 2:16-17 (GW)
“Remember the day of worship by observing it as a holy day. You have six days to do all your work. The seventh day is the day of worship dedicated to the Lord your God. You, your sons, your daughters, your male and female slaves, your cattle, and the foreigners living in your city must never do any work on that day. In six days the Lord made heaven, earth, and the sea, along with everything in them. He didn’t work on the seventh day. That’s why the Lord blessed the day he stopped his work and set this day apart as holy.” – Exodus 20:8-11 (GW)
Note: Our Lutheran Confessions, contained in the Book of Concord, were published in 1580. At the time, the Biblical account of creation was almost universally accepted and evolution was not an issue that needed to be addressed by the confessions. The theory of evolution did not become widely debated until Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859. For this reason, direct mention of evolution is absent from the confessions, though you will find quotations in support of the infallibility of Scripture and a divine six day creation. In addition, there is no CTCR document that directly addresses evolution.
“Here we are taught about the beginning of man, that the first man did not come into existence by a process of generation as reason had deceived Aristotle and the philosophers into imagining. Ungodly and wicked men, who suppose that everything happens by chance, understanding nothing in the Holy Scriptures and creatures of God.” – Martin Luther
“It is not true, as several heretics and other vulgar persons allege, that God created everything in the beginning, and then let nature take its own independent course, so that all things now spring into being of their own power; thereby they put God on a level with a shoemaker or a tailor. This not only contradicts scripture, but it runs counter to experience.” – Martin Luther
“He [Moses] calls ‘a spade a spade,’ i.e., he employs the terms ‘day’ and ‘evening’ without Allegory, just as we customarily do we assert that Moses” (in Exodus 20:8-11) “spoke in the literal sense, not allegorically or figuratively, i.e., that the world, with all its creatures, was created within six days, as the words read. If we do not comprehend the reason for this, let us remain pupils and leave the job of teacher to the Holy Spirit.” – Martin Luther
What do we do when people say that their interpretation of the evidence contradicts what God’s Word tells us? We must remember that God is our loving creator and always does what’s best for us. He has given us the Bible so that we might know the truth about the creation of the universe, the problem of sin, our forgiveness by faith in Jesus and the coming re-creation of the universe. The Bible isn’t a frequently asked questions book, so we don’t always know why our interpretation of the evidence at times appears to contradict God’s Word. We trust that God is good, God’s work is beyond our understanding and that we’re called to be people of faith. This is not to say that we are against science; rather, we embrace the exploration of creation as a gift of God and believe that if our findings appear to contradict God’s word, the problem lies with our bias and interpretation of the evidence–not with God.
Evolution says that God says that
we were made randomly; we were made purposely.
we are improving; He created us in His perfect image.
the problem is ignorance; the problem is sin.
the solution is progress; the solution is Jesus.
the future will be better than ever; creation will be restored to its former goodness.
For Further Discussion
- Is Creation vs. Evolution an issue of Christians vs. Science?
- Can science contradict God’s word?
- Why is this issue really about faith?
- How does Evolution place an impossible burden on humanity?
- In what ways are Creation and Evolution incompatible?
- Why do you think that so many Christians believe in Theistic Evolution?
- Some view the “six days” from Genesis 1 as an allegory, others as a literal six days. How does the mantra “Let Scripture interpret Scripture” allow Exodus 20:8-11 to shed light on Genesis 1?
- Could death have existed in God’s “good” creation, prior to the sin of Adam and Eve?
- Watch and Discuss the Bill Nye & Ken Ham debate from February 4th, 2014.