WELCOME TO THEOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES

                   

                       THE CREATION VERSUS EVOLUTION CONTROVERSY: PART ONE

        

      The term evolution, as it pertains to the origin of the universe, is generally seen as describing the universe as gradually coming into being over a long period of time. Such evolution may or may not be seen as associated with a supernatural Being. Creation, as it pertains to the origin of the universe, is generally seen as describing the universe coming into being due to the action of a supernatural Being. The timeframe for such creation varies according to how the age of the universe is arrived at.  

       Another type of evolution is organic evolution which pertains to the coming into existence and development of life forms. Some see this kind of evolution as nothing more than change over time due to a variety of reasons.  Others see organic evolution as defining living organisms descending from a single original life form that appeared in the ancient past. This is known as the theory of universal common ancestry or universal common descent. Some believe this process has supernatural underpinnings. Others simply see organic evolution as unguided natural selection acting on random variations over long periods of time.  

       Classical evolution attempts to explain origins devoid of supernatural involvement. I am using the term classical evolution or classical evolutionist to describe those who do not believe the origin of the universe and life is in any way the result of the involvement of a supernatural, transcendent Being. This can also be called atheistic evolution.

       Classical/atheistic evolution postulates that billions of years ago the universe sprang forth from a fortuitous explosion of energy/matter (the Big Bang theory) that gradually developed into billions of heavenly bodies including our solar system.  Life is seen as protein molecules fortuitously coming together, reproducing themselves, and gradually developing over millions of years into increasingly more complex life forms leading to humans.  All this is seen as occurring devoid of any supernatural involvement. This approach is sometimes referred to as "methodological naturalism."

       In addition to classical/atheistic evolutionists, there are evolutionists who believe a supernatural Being is involved in origins but only in a remote way. These folks include those referred to as progressive creationists and theistic evolutionists (aka evolutionary creationists). Progressive creationists believe the universe was created billions of years ago through what is commonly referred to as the Big Bang and that life forms have been progressively created over millions of years of supernatural creative activity.

      Theistic evolutionists believe a supernatural Being created the universe through the Big Bang and all life forms through evolutionary processes.  The creation of life is seen as occurring either through God directed mechanisms of genetic mutation and natural selection or through God ordained random operation of these mechanisms. We will discuss progressive creationism, theistic evolution, Darwinism versus Neo Darwinism and other perspectives as we move through this series.       

       Both classical evolution and its spinoffs, such as progressive creationism and theistic evolution, present a direct challenge to the Genesis account of origins and the Christian theological system.   

 The Genesis creation account:     

       The Biblical book of Genesis teaches God created the heavens and earth.  On day six of creation week God is seen as making man.  This first man is seen as committing sin necessitating the Christ event with its provision for release from the eternal death penalty associated with sin.  If creation of Adam as the first human didn’t take place as Scripture teaches, redemption through the Christ event becomes a moot point and the Christian theological system has no merit. The Biblical Scriptures clearly teach Christ came to redeem man from the penalty of death which began when the man Adam and the woman Eve sinned by behaving contrary to God's instruction.

       Historical Christianity sees the Genesis account of creation as the starting point of cosmological and biological history. It is seen as a straightforward account of how it all started. If this account is myth, the existence of Adam and Eve are myth and the recorded history that follows from them becomes highly problematical.  If it can be shown that the Scriptural account of mans creation is bogus, the entire Christian theological system falls like a deck of cards. An understanding of the Genesis account as actual history is critical to the validity of what the Scriptures teach as to salvation and there being an afterlife.

       Genesis 1:1 records that, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  This chapter goes on to record that in six days God created/made day and night (first day), a firmament separating water from water (second day), plants (third day), sun, moon and stars (fourth day), fish and birds (fifth day), land animals, creeping things and man on the sixth day.

       Exodus 20:11a reflects the Genesis account. “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them.”  Exodus 31:17b records the same thing. “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he abstained from work and rested." We see the Hebrew Scriptures teaching that the heavens, earth and sea, along with their inhabitants, were created in six days.

       In the second chapter of Genesis we find the account of Eve being formed from one of Adam's ribs and becoming his wife. In Genesis three, it’s recorded that Adam and Eve sinned by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which resulted in their banishment from the Garden of Eden and their becoming subject to death. In chapter four we find Adam and Eve beginning a family.

       In Genesis 5:1-32 is a genealogy beginning with Adam and running to Noah. Here it is reiterated that man was created in the likeness of God.

       Genesis 5:1-2: This is the written account of Adam's line. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them "man."

        In 1 Chronicles, chapters one through eight, is an extensive genealogy starting with Adam and going through the descendants of Jacob (Israel). Luke traces the genealogy of Jesus back to Adam (Luke 3:38). It is apparent that those writing these genealogies believed Adam to be the starting point of human history.

       Some theologians have purposed that the Genesis account of creation, including the creation of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden event need not be based on having actually occurred but only on the perception that they occurred. However, the genealogies found in Genesis 5, 1 Chronicles and Luke 3 that go back to Adam don't appear to be based on a perception of Adam existing but on the reality of such existence. These genealogies are rather extensive, involving multiple hundreds of descendants. If Adam didn't literally exist, these genealogies are based on a false foundation and salvation theology is based on a false foundation as well.   

       The question that must be asked is how can there be any significance to real history that is based on fictional history?  How can salvation theology, which is based on the literal existence of Adam, have any significance if the existence of Adam is fictional history? Some theologians believe the Genesis account of Adam and Eve in the garden is actual history but do not see these two humans as the progenitors of the human race. 

Were Adam and Eve alone?

       It has been suggested by some theologians that Adam and Eve were not the first humans but were selected out from a population of humans who had evolved to the status of Homo sapiens in evolutionary development. These humans are seen as living outside the Garden of Eden at the time. The Garden of Eden event is seen as a standalone event and occurring within the context of an already existing human population that had progressed through possibly millions of years of evolutionary development. Is there any evidence for this approach?

       Those who suggest this approach point to Genesis 4 which speaks of Cain, after killing his brother Able, being concerned about himself being killed. The question that is asked is who was it that Cain was afraid was going to kill him?  Were there other humans already living in the area? 

       Genesis 4:13-15: Cain said to the LORD, "My punishment is more than I can bear.  Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me."  But the LORD said to him, "Not so ; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over." Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.

       Cain is seen as living in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Where there others living in the land of Nod?  Genesis 4 speaks of Cain having sex with his wife and her becoming pregnant with Enoch. Where did his wife come from?  Some conclude he must have married a sister who was born to his parents, Adam and Eve. However, while it appears Cain and Able were born shortly after Adam and Eve were removed from the Garden of Eden, it appears Adam and Eve didn't have another child until much later and only after that did they have other sons and daughters.

       Genesis 5:3-4:  When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters.

       Could it be that Cain married someone unrelated to him who was part of a population of humans living outside the Garden?  It is interesting that Cain is seen in Genesis 4 as building a city at the same time it is said he lay with his wife and she became pregnant.  The building of a city would imply there were people available to inhabit such city. Where did such people come from?

       Genesis 4:16-17: So Cain went out from the LORD's presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch.

       Genesis 2:8-15 records that God planted a garden in the east of Eden suggesting that Eden was an established location.  A river watering the garden is seen as flowing from Eden into four other rivers, several of which are associated with named locations.  Could it be possible that these established locations were inhabited by humans living outside the Garden?   

Special selection?

       It is apparent that prominent New Testament scholar NT Wright leans toward the view that Adam and Eve were chosen out from an existing population of humans for special purpose. Wright sees them as representatives (archetypes) of the whole human race. This perspective is articulated in the following quote from his book Surprised by Scripture.

       "just as God chose Israel from the rest of humankind for a special, strange, demanding vocation, so perhaps what Genesis is telling us is that God chose one pair from the rest of early hominids for a special, strange, demanding vocation. This pair (call them Adam and Eve if you like) were to be the representatives of the whole human race, the ones in whom God’s purpose to make the whole world a place of delight and joy and order, eventually colonizing the whole creation, was to be taken forward. God the creator put into their hands the fragile task of being his image bearers" (N.T. Wright, Surprised by Scripture, [2014], page 37-38).

       This approach appears to be an attempt to harmonize the Scriptural account of the creation of man with the belief of evolutionists who postulate millions of years of evolutionary development. It appears Dr. Wright sees a literal existence for Adam and Eve in that he analogizes their being specially chosen to that of the people of Israel being specially chosen.  We know the people of Israel literally existed.

       However, in postulating that Adam and Eve were chosen out from among an existing human (hominid) population, Wright is saying Adam was not the first man which appears in conflict with how Paul and other NT writers view Adam. Paul writes of sin and death beginning with the first man Adam as we will see below. If humans existed prior to Adam, Adam wasn't the first man and death didn't originate with Adam as Paul teaches as it can be assumed hominids would have been dying as a result of sickness and disease or simply old age.

       Some believe that when Paul speaks of death beginning with Adam he is speaking of spiritual death and not physical death. However, this does not appear to be the case as discussed in depth in my essay on this issue found at "Doctrine of original sin: Part Three."

       A number of questions arise relative to the proposition that Adam was chosen from an already existing population of humans.  Genesis 1:26-27 says man was made in the image and likeness of God. If pre-Adamic man came to be through millions of years of gradual evolutionary development, how does that correspond to man being made in the image and likeness of God? 

       An obvious question to be asked is what if any is/was the eternal destiny of pre-Adamic humans?  Did they just die like animals and that was it?  A huge question is how the rest of the Genesis creation account coordinates with an existing population of humans living outside the Garden. The Genesis creation account pictures God developing or redeveloping an earth that was or had become lifeless and desolate. A human population living outside the Garden doesn't harmonize with the rest of the creation account.  

Special creation?

       In another attempt to harmonize the Scriptural account of the creation of man with the belief that life is the result of millions of years of evolutionary development, it's been purposed that Adam and Eve were a special creation that took place at a specific point in time during the overall timeframe of millions of years of evolutionary development of life forms, including man.

        It is postulated that Adam was an advanced human creation and unlike hominids, was made in the image of God and was thus superior to the hominids living outside the garden that had come to be through millions of years of evolutionary development. Under this perspective, the death penalty for sin wasn't operative outside the Garden as sin didn't come to be until law was introduced and that didn't happen until Adam was created. Paul wrote that sin is not taken into account when there is no law but sin was in the world since Adam, thus implying law began with Adam (See Romans 5:12-14).  It is believed hominids living outside the Garden didn't die because of sin but simply from natural causes.

       However, geneticists believe that comparison of the human genome with that of other primates has clearly established that all humans have common genetic ancestry with prehuman life forms. This would place into question the idea that Adam was a special advanced creation, having a different genome than other humans. This being the case, some see the genealogies in Scripture as tracing humanity back to a genealogical Adam, not a genetic Adam. 

A genealogical Adam?

       Under this perspective, Adam and Eve are seen as the beginning of a new genealogical  line of humans who, after being removed from the Garden, integrated with existing humans who had been living outside the Garden for possibly millions of years and had evolved to a biological state of being that allowed for interbreeding with Adam and Eve. This model of origins is articulated in the recently published book entitled “The genealogical Adam and Eve” by S. Joshua Swamidass (InterVarsity Press: 2019). This approach, however, has the same problems as the perspective that Adam and Eve were chosen from an existing human population as suggested by NT Wright and others.

Decent from a population of humans:

       What has largely driven the above perspectives is recent research done by genetic biologists into the genetic ancestry of the human race. This research has been made possible as a result of the sequencing of the complete genetic code for man. This research has concluded that the genetic diversity in the human race could not have begun with two individuals but had to develop from an existing population of approximately ten thousand individuals. These findings have created quite a stir in segments of the Christian community. This issue is discussed in depth in the recent book entitled "Adam And The Genome" by Dennis R Venema and Scot McKnight (Brazos Press: 2017). More on this in Part Six of this series.  

       It should be noted, however, that the view that Adam and Eve were chosen from an existing population of humans appears to be in direct conflict with Genesis 3:20 where it is recorded that "Adam named his wife Eve,  because she would become the mother of all the living."

       How did Jesus, Luke, Paul and other NT personalities view Adam and Eve?                                                                             

       Jesus acknowledges the Genesis account of the creation of Adam and Eve in alluding to (Genesis 2:23-34).

       Genesis 2:23-24:  The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called `woman, ' for she was taken out of man." For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

       Mark 10:6-8: "But at (Greek: ἀπὸ (apo) which most translations render "from") the beginning of creation God `made them male and female.'`For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.'  So they are no longer two, but one.

       Jesus acknowledged the authenticity of Genesis 2:23-24 by virtually quoting from it in saying that at or from the beginning of creation God made humans male and female and "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.

       It is instructive that Jesus, in alluding to Genesis 2:23-24, speaks of God making man male and female from the beginning of creation. Jesus sees the making of man at the beginning of creation and cites the narrative from Genesis 2:23-24 as His source for this information. In doing so, Jesus is giving verification to the Genesis account of creation which is recorded to have occurred within a six day timeframe. The implication is that man was part of this six day creation. Jesus gives no hint of man existing prior to the Genesis creation account. Then we have Luke 11:50-51.

       Luke 11:50-51: Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.

       Here Jesus speaks of Abel existing from near the beginning of the world, thus associating Abel with the timeframe of the world's creation. Jesus recognized the reality of Abel's existence and by extension the existence of his parents Adam and Eve.      

       Luke, in tracing the genealogy of Jesus back to Adam, shows Adam as a real person and as having been directly created by God. In Luke's genealogy, Adam is seen as an ancestor of Jesus (Luke 3:38). In this genealogy, Noah, Seth Abraham, Isaac, Jacob ad many other ancients are mentioned as historical figures.  Adam is clearly seen as part of this group and therefore there is no reason to see Adam as any less historical. 

       It is very evident that Apostle Paul saw Adam and Eve as historical persons.  Paul speaks of Adam being formed first and then Eve (1st Timothy 2:13).  In Romans 5:12-14, Paul writes of sin and death beginning with one man and being in evidence from Adam to Moses. To the Corinthians Paul wrote, “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).  In 15:45 the first Adam is compared to the last Adam who is seen as Christ (The first man Adam became a living being, the last Adam a life-giving spirit). Paul sees Adam here as the first man.

       In 1 Corinthians 11:8, Paul writes that "man did not come from woman, but woman from man." This is an apparent allusion to Genesis 2:21-23 where it is recorded that God made a woman from a rib of the man Adam.

       In 1 Corinthians 15:47a Paul writes that “The first man was of the dust of the earth.” Here Paul directly alludes to Genesis 2:7 and Genesis 3:19 where it is recorded that “the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living being” and in 3:19,  "By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."  In Acts 17:26, Paul is recorded as saying that from one man God has made every nation of men.

       Acts 17:26: From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth;

       In 2 Corinthians 11:3, Paul writes of the deception of Eve by the serpent which appears to be a clear reference to the Garden of Eden event.  In the Revelation we find reference to  "that ancient serpent called the devil or Satan."  The devil/Satin are referred to dozens of times in the NT and is clearly seen as a literally existing entity.

       Revelation 12:9: The great dragon was hurled down--that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth and his angels with him),

       Revelation 20:2: He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.   

        Jude 1:11 references Cain who is shown in Genesis to be the first human born from a sexual union between Adam and Eve. Jude writes of Enoch being the seventh from Adam and thus gives historical confirmation to both of these men (Jude 1:14).  Hebrews 11:4-7 refers to Cain, Able, Enoch and Noah. Hebrews 12:24 speaks of the blood of Abel. John speaks of Cain (1 John 3:12).  Jesus references Noah and the Genesis flood in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:37-39). Luke records Jesus referring to Noah and the flood (Luke 17:27). Apostle Peter references Noah and the flood (1 Peter 3:20 and 2 Peter 2:5).

       It should be apparent that Jesus and the writers of NT documents believed what is written in the beginning chapters of Genesis is actual history of what occurred. There is no evidence to conclude these writers believed the creation account was allegory or metaphor as some Biblical scholars have suggested.  We see Jesus, Paul and other New Testament teachers viewing the Genesis account of the creation of man as fact. These teachers view Adam and Eve and their offspring as real people having literally existed.  They see devil/Satan literally existing which the Revelation identifies as "that ancient serpent."

   The Dilemma:

         As seen above, classical evolutionists believe the physical universe and all life is the result of fortuitous events devoid of any supernatural involvement. Progressive creationists and theistic evolutionists believe in supernatural involvement but believe such involvement has been largely through evolutionary processes.  These folks have attempted to coordinate a belief in the evolution of the universe and man with belief in the Genesis account of the creation including that of Adam and Eve.

        For classical evolutionists, the Genesis account of creation is believed to be bogus. Classical evolutionary teaching sees all life including man coming into existence as a result of millions of years of gradual evolutionary development devoid of supernatural involvement.  Classical evolutionists do not see the first man being made from the dust of the earth as recorded in Genesis.  Classical evolution does not recognize the Genesis creation account as literal reality. Neither do progressive creationists or theistic evolutionists.

         If either classical evolution, progressive creationism or theistic evolution should turn out to be the correct understanding of origins, the Genesis account of origins becomes highly problematical.  If the Genesis account of origins is false, Jesus and Paul believed and taught falsehood.  As covered above, Jesus and the NT writers all appear to believe in the Genesis creation account as literally occurring.  The entire Christian theological system is based on the need to atone for sin and death that began with a literal Adam and Eve. 

       Most Christians have no idea of the ramifications for Christian theology should anyone of the evolutionary approaches discussed above be true. Evolutionists, on the other hand, clearly see the ramifications for Christian theology should evolution be true.  Way back in 1909, evolutionist Edward Adams Cantrell, in a lecture entitled "Breakdown of Protestantism," made the statement that "Without Adam's fall there is no need of Christ or the vicarious atonement. With the removal of the foundation the superstructure falls." In 1978, atheist Richard Bozarth wrote in the publication American Atheist that "Without original sin, who needs to be redeemed?  Without Adam's fall into a life of constant sin terminated by death, what purpose is there to Christianity? None."

       Despite the apparent disconnect between belief in evolution and belief in salvation theology, an increasing number of Christians, including Christian theologians and seminary professors, have embraced the basic tenets of evolution as the mechanism whereby the material universe and life came to be. These Christians believe God was involved in origins only to the extent of establishing the evolutionary process by which everything has come to be, including man.

       Yet these same Christians believe the Christian message of salvation through Jesus. What apparently is not realized is that salvation through Jesus is predicated on Adam and Eve being the first humans and their introducing sin and death into the world necessitating a savior. 

       If Adam and Eve never existed, the Christian theological system is fraudulent. If one can falsify the historicity of Adam and Eve, redemption theology can only be seen as being based on myth and therefore having no merit. Therefore, establishing the historicity of Adam and Eve is critical to the integrity of the Christian theological system.

       Can the historicity of Adam and Eve and the overall Genesis account of creation be confirmed?  Can evolution as the process by which the physical universe and life originated be falsified?  Can evolution be confirmed as a valid explanation of origins and thus falsify the Genesis account of creation?  Can evolution be harmonized with the Genesis creation account? 

       My Approach:

      As you will see in reading through this 15 part series, there are many dynamics associated with the issue of creation and evolution. I will not be arguing in this series that evolution doesn't occur.  Evolution, as a mechanism whereby various life forms came/come to be, is a demonstrated fact. There are multiple millions of differing plants and animals extant on planet earth. There are millions more that have previously inhabited the earth and have become extinct. These differing life forms weren't all created during the six days of creation week. Various dynamics of evolution such as natural selection working on random variation, genetic mutation, phenotypic plasticity and hybridization have played a vital role and continue to play a vital role in the development of the tremendous variety of different life forms historically and presently seen on our planet.

       My focus will not be on whether evolution occurs but on examining how and to what extent it occurs and what role the supernatural plays in this process. Most importantly, I will examine whether evolution is a valid explanation of the origin of life and the origin of the physical universe?  Did life and the physical universe come into being through fortuitous events involving eternally existing physical elements or did life and the physical universe come into existence through the action of an eternally existing Being of extraordinary intelligence and power?  My focus will be on determining whether the Scriptural account of creation has merit when seen in the overall context of what is known about life, the universe and the supernatural.

        What I will do in this series is carefully look at the dynamics surrounding this issue and examine what is offered as evidence by both creationists and evolutionists in support of their respective positions. In so doing, we will attempt to determine where the preponderance of evidence lies and what is believable beyond reasonable doubt. 

       I will discuss the perspective of classical evolutionists and evolutionists who believe in the involvement of a supernatural, transcendent Being but believe such Being has used evolution to facilitate the origin of the universe and life.  I will discuss the perspective of those who acknowledge biological evolution at some level but who believe it all began with a supernatural, transcendent Being speaking the universe, planet earth and life into existence. I will also examine and discuss the latest conclusions of genetic biologists who believe they have discovered undeniable genetic evidence that humans could not have begun with two people but sprang forth from a population of humans who had evolved to the point of having the characteristics commonly defined as human.

      Summary of approaches:      

       Classical/atheistic evolutionists: 

       Classical evolutionists are those who believe all things have come to be through fortuitous, purposeless evolutionary processes. The universe results from the explosion/expansion of compressed energy/matter which gradually led to the development of the universe and all life forms. This is commonly referred to as the Big Bang Theory. It is believed the fossil record and dating methods currently in use have clearly established that the universe is billions of years old and that all life forms are the result of millions of years of gradual development. Classical evolutionists do not see supernatural involvement at any level of this process. This is simply seen as a Godless process through and through.

       Creationists: Creationists see supernatural involvement in the creation of the universe and life but differ as to what that involvement is and how it has occurred over time. This has resulted in a variety of perspectives within the creationist community as to the origin of the universe and life as we know it.    

    Young earth creationists:       

       Young earth creationists believe the God identified in the Biblical Scriptures created the entire universe including the earth and life in six literal twenty-four days by speaking all things into existence. These days are seen as literal twenty-four hour periods of time based on the Scriptural use of ordinal numbers to identify these days. Ordinal numbers are used to identify events occurring in a sequential manner. Additionally, since each of the six days of creation is framed by an evening and morning timeframe, it is believed this is irrefutable  evidence that each day was a twenty-four period. I cover this perspective in greater detail in Parts Two and Seven of this series.

       Young earth creationists believe the Scriptural genealogical records and other historical markers reveal the universe, earth and life to be between six and ten thousand years old. This is why they are called young earth creationists. While young earth creationists believe in microevolution, they reject macroevolution and clearly reject the billions/millions of year's history of the earth and life as purposed by evolutionary science. Micro versus macro evolution, along with all other dynamics associated with the young earth creationist perspective, will be discussed throughout this series. 

    Old earth creationists:

       Old Earth creationists believe the earth and universe were created by God millions of years ago.  Included in this group are those who call themselves theistic evolutionists. These folks embrace the Big Bang theory and believe God created the universe through this mechanism.  This approach sees the development of life forms as being accomplished through a God ordained evolutionary process involving the mechanisms of genetic mutation and natural selection.

       Theistic evolutionists tend to believe God has purposed that life forms come to be and develop through unguided and undirected mechanisms of genetic mutation and natural selection.  These mechanisms are seen as having been given creative power to facilitate the development of all life forms devoid of ongoing supernatural direction. This approach differs from classical/atheistic evolution only in that it believes a God designed the evolutionary process to begin with whereas classical evolution does not see supernatural involvement at any step in the process. 

       A current organization called BioLogos (https://biologos.org/) is vigorously promoting theistic evolution and appears to be supported by leaders in the Christian community such as New Testament scholar NT Wright and evangelical theologian J.I. Packer.  In a 2009 survey of evangelical seminary professors published on the BioLogos website, it was revealed that 46% of the professors surveyed did not object to the tenets of theistic evolution.

       BioLogos strongly promotes the evolutionary teaching that all life forms on earth are descended from an original single life form (common ancestry) that appeared millions of years ago. In their website article entitled "What Is Evolution," they write "There is very little debate in the scientific community about this broad characterization of evolution (anyone who claims otherwise is either uninformed or deliberately trying to mislead). The observational evidence explained by common ancestry is overwhelming."        

       Another group that believes the earth is millions of years old are Progressive creationists.  Progressive creationists embrace the Big Bang as the manner in which the universe came to be but don't see evolution as the mechanism through which life forms have been created. Progressive creationists see God personally directing the creation and development of life forms through millions of years of progressive creationism.  This group sees the six days of the Genesis creation account as six epoch periods of time involving millions of years. This is often referred to as the "day age" theory.  This approach to origins is strongly promoted by astronomer Hugh Ross on his website: www.reasons.org.

     Gap theory creationists:

      One additional group of old earth creationists embrace what is known as the "Gap Theory." This theory postulates that the universe, including the earth and life forms, were created millions of years ago and due to some catastrophic event the earth became desolate (Genesis 1:1-2). Those who embrace the "Gap Theory" believe God restored the earth and reestablished life forms during a literal six day period as described in Genesis  1:3-31.  The Genesis creation account is seen as a point in time event facilitated by God for a specific purpose. This approach is discussed in more detail in Part Two of this series.

    Intelligent design creationists:  

       In recent years the ID (intelligent design) movement has developed. This approach postulates the existence of the physical universe and life demands intelligent design but does not necessarily conclude the intelligent designer is the Christian God. This movement is attempting to introduce "creation science" into public education without associating it with a particular theological system. I discuss the concept of intelligent design at various points throughout this series and in detail in Part Fourteen.

    The Genesis account as allegory:

       Some who embrace theistic evolution believe the six day creation account is allegorical and was written to assert monotheism against the prevailing polytheism extant at the time the Genesis account was written. This is sometimes referred to as the "framework hypothesis." However, if the Genesis account of creation is allegorical which means it is fictional, how can Jesus, Paul and other New Testament personalities relate to the Adam and Eve story as having literally occurred?  If Adam was not a real person, how can Paul see Adam as the starting point for sin and death from which redemption can be obtained through the Christ event?

       Moreover, the allegorical approach creates cognitive dissonance between the Genesis account and the use of that account as a template for the establishment of the seventh day Sabbath as seen in Exodus 20:11 and 31:15-17. If there wasn't a literal seventh day of a literal six day creation week, how can the creation account be used to establish the seventh day Sabbath?  The Sabbath ordinance appears to be based on there being six literal twenty-four days of creation followed by a seventh day of rest.

       Exodus 31:15-17: For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day must be put to death. The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant.  It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he abstained from work and rested.'"

       The Genesis creation account characterizes the first six days of creation as evening and morning periods of time which would indicate 24 hour time frames. While the seventh day is not defined as an evening and morning period, the fact that the first six days are so defined is strong indication the seventh day is an evening to morning period as well.  The Sabbath command, which is based on the creation account, clearly designates the seventh day as a normal 24 hour period of time following six previous 24 hour periods of time. 

      Some point to the Land Sabbath, which lasted for one year, as an example of a Sabbath lasting longer than a twenty-four hour day and believe that by implication a day can be longer than twenty-four hours. Israel was given the Land Sabbath to be observed every seven years.  In this case, a Sabbath rest is 365 days long.

       It must be pointed out, however, that the Land Sabbath is not based on counting days but counting years whereas the weekly Sabbath is based on counting days. The seventh day Sabbath rest is seen in Scripture as a twenty-four hour period following on the heels of six twenty-four hour days of work. That the six days of creation are twenty-four hour periods is clearly indicated by each day being seen as evening to morning periods of time.  More on this issue later on in this series.

       Identification of terms:

        We are now ready to begin to look at a number of dynamics that are important to both evolutionists and creationists as to origins and everything thereafter. Starting here, I will generally use the term "evolutionist" to identify those who don't believe there is any supernatural involvement in origins.  I will use the word "creationist" as a kind of "umbrella" term to identify those who believe in supernatural involvement in origins but differ as to how the universe and life developed from that point onward. This group will include the various creationist perspectives summarized above.  

       Laws of Thermodynamics:

       Fundamental to the evolution/creation controversy is an understanding of the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics. These laws have been tested many times and found to be universally valid.  The First Law of Thermodynamics is a statement of the conservation of energy. It postulates that the amount of energy in the universe is constant. Einstein showed that matter is energy in his famous equation. So when we speak of matter we speak of energy as well. While energy can change forms, it is not being created or destroyed.

       The Second Law of Thermodynamics is a statement of entropy.  Entropy (or more specifically, increase in entropy) is defined as heat (in calories or Btu's) absorbed by a system, divided by the absolute temperature of the system at the time the heat is absorbed. Entropy refers to the amount of energy that dissipates from any given system into its surroundings.  A system is anything from a machine to a living organism.  The earth along with all bodies that make up the universe, are considered systems. In all systems, there is a certain amount of energy constantly dissipating into random, disordered activity which the system cannot use to its benefit.  This results in all systems degrading over time.

       Unless there is a purposeful source of energy operating in or on a system to limit such degradation, the system becomes less and less organized, more and more random and moves from complex to less and less complex.  A house will deteriorate and become a pile of dust if left on its own and not looked after.  Living organisms will die and disintegrate if not taken care of.  Everything in the universe is seen as gradually breaking down.  Everything in the universe is seen as moving toward an increase in entropy.

       Creationists say that since everything is dissipating into less and less complexity, there has to be a creator who started it all.  While entropy of a system can be interrupted and temporarily stopped by an influx of energy from outside itself, entropy still continues its relentless degradation of all systems.  Creationists say this process had to have a beginning.  Someone had to make and set in motion the physical universe which is slowly disintegrating. The atoms and molecules that make up the universe must have had a starting point in order to experience increasing entropy. They could not have eternally existed without contradicting the second law of thermodynamics.

       The evolutionist sees the earth as part of an open system of heavenly bodies where systems are constantly dissipating energy into their surroundings. Since energy is constant, neither being created nor destroyed, it has always existed. While the earth and all it contains may be experiencing entropy, it is also constantly being renewed with energy from the sun and other cosmic bodies. While energy from the sun may speed up entropy in many areas because of its oxidative effect, it also facilitates fresh systems as seen in its effects upon the growth of plants.  Energy exchange is always taking place to keep entropy in check.

       Evolutionists do not deny the second law as some creationists charge. Evolutionists are simply saying that while entropy is taking place, reducing overall complexity, so is renewal taking place.  Evolutionists point out that the second law is all about heat exchange where energy is allowed to do work and thus create complexity. The second law states that heat always flows from hot to cold.  Therefore, evolutionists see the second law as supporting the Big Bang explosion of energy which created tremendous heat.  As this heat energy cooled, matter was formed and the universe developed.  Entropy began at this point and continues to this very day but moves at a very slow pace due to the counter forces of renewal.  Evolutionists believe that in time everything will degrade back to its pre Big Bang state of energy equilibrium where there is no further breakdown (entropy).

       When asked what caused the Big Bang and from where did the exploding elements come from, the evolutionist answers that constituents of energy have always existed and before the Big Bang these constituents were in a state of equilibrium and were not experiencing entropy. These constituents (atoms, sub-atomic particles, etc.) became compressed, generating disequilibrium which led to the Big Bang.  Evolutionists do not teach that the universe developed from nothing as some creationists charge.  They teach it developed from the explosion of a concentration of energy.  It was at this point that entropy began.  The major difference between the creationist and the evolutionist on the issue of origins is the creationist believes an intelligent designer (God) is the source and facilitator of the constituents of energy while the evolutionist believes the constituents of energy have always existed and facilitate themselves through innate, resident forces.     

       Evolutionists support their view by showing how atoms incessantly move at a few hundred to thousands of miles an hour at ordinary temperatures. As temperature increases so does the speed of their movement.  Many atoms spontaneously bond when they collide, forming extremely powerful associations in very specific ways.  Evolutionists believe it is this type of spontaneous reaction of elements that created the Big Bang. 

       Evolutionists point out that millions of compounds have less energy as a compound than the energy contained in their individual atoms.  Therefore evolution is not teaching that complex systems came into existence from less complex elements as creationists charge.  Systems came into existence through the diffusion of energy generated by the explosion of very complex atoms/molecules. The Big Bang produced less complex systems than the constituents that produced them. These systems may be slowly becoming less and less complex as a system because of entropy, but they ultimately return to the very complex molecules from which they were originally made.  Therefore, the second law does not dictate the decrease of energy but only the spreading out of energy/matter.  The second law quantitatively describes the energetic aspects of compounds made from very complex basic elements such as atoms.

       Creationists argue that random energy, unless directed by intelligence will never form anything.  There must be an eternal source from which all energy flows and that source must be intelligent in order for such energy to be made into useful systems. Creationists point out that everything exists within defined parameters (law) and this could not happen by chance.  Evolutionists argue that constituents of energy are eternal, having innate parameters of operation which cause such constituents to express themselves in predictable ways.  Therefore, it is not a matter of chance but of elements performing in prescribed ways based on their makeup. 

     The Big Bang Theory:

       The Big Bang theory postulates that many millions of years ago, the universe sprang into existence as a singularity.  Singularities are believed to exist at the core of black holes.  Black holes are believed to be areas of gravitational pressure so intense that energy is concentrated into tremendous density.  It is these zones of intense density that are called singularities and it is from such a zone that it is felt the big bang occurred.  While some see the Big Bang as an explosion, others see it as an expansion where the singularity didn’t appear in space but rather space began inside the singularity.  In other words, space and time began at the same time energy began to turn into matter.  In essence, this puts everything inside the singularity which is the universe.

      Evidence for the Big Bang Theory:

       The Big Bang theory began in 1929 when astronomer Edwin Hubble (1889-1953) discovered that light from most galaxies was shifted to the red end of the spectrum which indicated heavenly bodies are moving away from us at speeds proportional to their distance. When light travels away from us its wavelength is stretched out which causes this shift.  Hubble’s discovery indicated an expanding universe which led to the theory that the elements that make up the universe were once compacted and somehow became un-compacted which led to the development of the physical universe and all it contains.    

       In 1964, two astronomers, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, in an attempt to detect microwaves from outer space, inadvertently discovered a noise of extraterrestrial origin. The noise did not seem to emanate from one location but instead, it came from all directions at once. They determined that what they heard was an echo from the farthest reaches of the universe which had been left over from the Big Bang. Then in 1992, a COBE satellite confirmed that a 2.73 degrees above absolute zero on the Kelvin scale (-270 degrees C, -454 F) temperature, called microwave background radiation, pervades the universe. This discovery confirmed what scientists had mathematically calculated to be the temperature that would remain from the explosion or expansion of an intensely hot singularity millions of years ago. 

        Additionally, in order for galaxies to have formed from the Big Bang, the pattern formed by the explosion or expansion needed to have slight variations in the form of wave ripples.  These ripples would result in very slight fluctuations in the predicted 2.73 degree temperature and would show an identifiable pattern.  The 1992 satellite was able to measure and confirm that such fluctuations did indeed exist relative to the 2.73 degree background radiation temperature.  Radio telescopes at the North Pole have further confirmed the existence of background radiation conforming to mathematically predicted levels.

       Evolutionists postulate the Big Bang produced an explosion of primarily hydrogen and helium gas which they feel is verified by the fact that the abundance of elements heavier than helium and hydrogen decreases proportionally as you travel out into space. It is felt this pattern is only explained by a universe that continuously expands from a beginning event (the Big Bang) and is continuously cooling since that event. 

       Associated with the Big Bang theory is the nebular hypothesis which postulates that the planets of our solar system were formed by rings of matter split off from rotating nebulae (cosmic dust) due to centrifugal force. Leftover matter became our sun.

       Criticism of the Big Bang Theory and the Nebular Hypothesis:

       Critics of the big bang theory say it does not meet the expectations the theory demands.  The theory demands that background radiation must come from the direction where the big bang occurred.  Yet this radiation comes from everywhere in space and is felt by some to be nothing more than a slight amount of heat given off by stars throughout the universe.  Fluctuations in radiation could be the result of solar flares and not have anything to do with a big bang.  

       Critics point out that since light has been demonstrated to have weight; the red shift could be caused when light from stars passes other stars whose gravitational pull slightly slows their beam of light causing its spectrum to shift to the red.  It is further pointed out that every body in the universe is orbiting and at the same time is moving in some direction.  Much of such movement is at right angles to us. Objects moving at right angles to an observer will always be red-shifted.   Some believe light waves lose energy as they travel large distances.  This could explain why the farthest stars from us have the greatest red shifts.

       Quasars, objects in space that emit tremendous energy, show drastically shifted spectrums toward the red which in some cases would make their speed faster than the speed of light. This would be inconsistent with present understanding as to the speed at which light travels and therefore calls into question the idea of red shifting being an explanation for an expanding universe caused by the Big Bang. 

       The Big Bang theory postulates that the Big Bang explosion/expansion produced a large-scale smoothness of the universe.  The universe is seen as being isotropic (the same in all directions) and homogeneous (the same everywhere). Those ideas, combined with the concept of curved space, provide the basis for the Big Bang concepts of space expansion rather than simply expansion of matter in space. However, the observed irregularities of the universe, which include vast galactic formations,  gigantic voids and sheets of galaxies, and the "Great Wall," that is estimated to stretch across one half billion light years of space, deny this smoothness that the Big Bang requires.

       The nebular hypothesis uses flat rotating nebulae as the Solar System's origin to explain why all the planets orbit in nearly the same plane and in the same direction. This hypothesis, however, contradicts the observation that the sun contains most of the solar system's mass but only a small fraction of its rotating momentum. It is felt that if this theory were correct, the sun, being as large as it is compared to the planets, would have most of the solar system's rotating momentum. The Sun's angular momentum would have increased significantly as it contracted, much like a spinning ice skater who rotates faster as he brings in his arms. Another problem with the nebular hypothesis is that if rings of matter were split off, they wouldn't be pulled together to form planets but would disperse into space.

       The Big Bang/Nebular Hypothesis proposes that a spinning cosmic explosion or expansion began the evolutionary process of the universe.  Creationists point out that these hypotheses contradict the Law of Conservation of Angular Momentum.  This law describes the tendency of a spinning object to continue spinning in the same direction. The Big Bang theory postulates a clockwise rotation of matter emanating from the Big Bang.  Therefore all heavenly bodies should be spinning clockwise with the larger bodies spinning at faster speeds.

       However, this is not the case. Our sun, which has 99% of the mass of our solar system, has only 2% of the angular momentum. A number of heavenly bodies have been found to be spinning counter clockwise.  One-third of the moons in our solar system rotate in the opposite direction from that of the planets they are associated with.   Both Uranus and Venus spin on their axis from east to west while the other planets of our solar system spin on their axis from west to east.

       Some proponents of the Big Bang postulate that the heavenly bodies were formed by cosmic gases contracting into particles in the vacuum of space. Creationists point to research that shows gas in a vacuum expands instead of contracts and therefore could not develop into stars, planets, etc. Evolutionists theorize that heavier elements developed from the hydrogen and helium gas that initially spewed forth from the Big Bang.  Creationists counter that mathematical calculations have shown the virtual impossibility of hydrogen atoms sticking together to form particles. 

       Creationists ask where the dozens of heavier elements came from that make up our heavenly bodies if only hydrogen and helium were there at the beginning. Evolutionist’s answer that the first stars to be formed, called “first generation stars,” proceeded to repeatedly explode. Billions upon billions of stars kept exploding, for billions of years. Gradually, these explosions produced all our heavier elements. Creationists point out that there are nuclear gaps which make it impossible for hydrogen or helium to change itself into any of the heavier elements.

       As mentioned earlier, there are some creationists who embrace the Big Bang theory and believe God, acting as the eternal first cause, facilitated the Big Bang which led to formation of the universe.  Those who take this approach believe in progressive creation were God, after having created the basic laws and elements of the universe, has allowed a natural progression of development to occur over billions of years.  Therefore, progressive creationists view the development of the universe as an evolutionary process that began with God. 

       While some progressive creationists believe life forms developed in the same manner as the physical universe, other progressive creationists do not embrace biological evolution.  They believe God, over vast amounts of time, progressively created a variety of living organisms with humans being the pinnacle of such progression of biological creation. As already stated, progressive creationists (sometimes referred to as scientific creationists) believe the six days of creation as recorded in Genesis represents billions of years of development. Progressive creationists believe their view harmonizes Biblical Scripture with science.

     In review:

       In reviewing the literature that addresses the origin of the universe, it is apparent that the evidence offered for the occurrence of the Big Bang is not proven beyond reasonable doubt. Every postulation as to how the Big Bang may have occurred is met with reasonable alternative explanations.  Evolutionists offer no irrefutable evidence for the Big Bang taking place. Progressive creationists fail to provide adequate refutation of objections to the Big Bang and have not convincingly harmonized the Big Bang with the Scriptural account of creation. 

          On the other hand, we can’t just dismiss the Big Bang theory either.  Astronomers are constantly identifying what they believe to be the formation of new stars occurring in the universe.  These stars are believed to develop from nebula floating around in space which are believed to be left over from the Big Bang. More on this later on in this series.

       If the Big Bang is problematical, what is the evidence for a supernatural Being creating the universe in a six day time frame as the Biblical Scriptures appear to teach?   Are these literal twenty-four hour days or do they represent longer periods of time. What is the evidence for a young universe as opposed to a universe many billions of years old? How valid are the dating methods used by evolutionists.  We will now begin to address these issues.

PART TWO