For a century and a half, scientists and theologians have debated the theories of Creation and evolution. One of the most famous debates was between Bill Nye, “the Science Guy,” and Ken Ham, CEO of the Creation Museum in Kentucky (USA), in 2014. The event, drawing international attention, sold out within minutes, receiving more than three million live views.
Although no score was kept, academics and commentators were quick to share their opinions. The scientific community generally agreed that Nye won, while the religious community praised Ham for his composed and easy-to-follow arguments. Writer Michael Schulson, while siding with Nye’s scientific message, even said, “It was easy to pick out the smarter man on stage. Oddly, it was the same man who was arguing that the earth is 6,000 years old.”1
While individual opinion was polarized, media organizations framed Ham’s arguments in a negative light. The Biologos Foundation claimed the debate would “further alienate Christianity from science in the public consciousness,”2 while the Australian Broadcasting Corporation said it “drew world attention . . . on the United States as the home of whacky Christianity.”3
The origin of life is a hot topic. And with evolutionary theory almost exclusively being taught in schools and universities, creationism is often dismissed entirely without regard for any of its claims.
Without trying to prove or disprove either theory, I will make the case that creationism should be squarely in the public consciousness. Regardless of how philosophers may classify Creation, it remains the central truth of the book of Genesis and brings tremendous meaning to our lives today.
evolution: a leap of faith
Creationism is often considered faith-based and lacking scientific proof, but many creationists would argue that evolution has the same characteristics. In a roundtable discussion at the University of Waikato (New Zealand), evolutionist and resident biology professor Dr. Carolyn King conceded that the evolutionary perspective requires faith. “The forms of faith are different but you are right; both require trust, one in intellectual processes, and one in spiritual experience.”4
As opposed to supernaturalism, evolutionary theory is founded on naturalism, which does not allow anything outside of the observable laws of nature to explain the origins of life and biology. Ironically, however, evolution violates approximately half a dozen natural laws of the universe. Here are just two examples:
The law of biogenesis. The law of biogenesis states that life can come only from life. Yet, the process of life originating from nonliving substances is an essential element of evolution. While the Miller-Urey experiment (1953) is often used as “evidence” that amino acids can be generated from inorganic compounds, it has been widely criticized and never successfully replicated. Some scientists have suggested the experiment was a fraud.5
Even if organic compounds could arise by chance, the process of evolution thereafter—where information is added to the genetic code over time—has never been observed in nature.6 On the contrary, genetic information is lost from generation to generation. Further, species survival requires not only genetic information but also an ability to decode it—two separate processes occurring in tandem.7 Breaking the law of biogenesis, which is necessary to substantiate evolutionary theory, has never been observed naturally.
The laws of probability. Another strong argument for intelligent design is the statistical impossibility of life originating by chance. The
“Single Law of Chance” developed by French mathematician Emile Borel in 1962 states that “events whose probability is extremely small will never occur.”8 Borel calculated that any event in the universe with less than a 1 in 1045 chance is effectively impossible—that is, no rational person would argue that the event could ever occur.9
Now consider this: evolutionist and Yale University professor Harold Morowitz10 calculated the probability of a single cell forming by chance as being 1 in 10340,000,000. A few years later, renowned evolutionist Carl Sagan11 made his own estimation of life evolving on any single planet as 1 in 102,000,000,000. These calculations were made in the 1970s, prior to the past several decades of complex scientific discoveries, and don’t include the probability of complex biodiversity, delicate ecosystems, or human consciousness (something that scientists still don’t understand) forming over time.12
Evolution’s statistical impossibility, combined with its shaky scientific assumptions, shows that believing in evolution requires an immense amount of faith. This faith-based stance brings creationism back into the conversation. An interesting question to now ask is, Which theory has more beauty or benefit to our world and society today?
Creation—the answer to global issues
The biblical Creation narrative reveals God’s original plan for mankind and the earth before sin and suffering. Applying the principles God instituted in Eden to our lives has the potential to restore harmony and address some major issues faced by humankind.
Mission Australia’s recent Youth Survey Report 2021—which surveyed more than 20,000 15- to 19-year-olds—revealed that Generation Z’s greatest concerns in the Western world are COVID-19 (45.4%), the environment (38.0%), and equity and discrimination (35.4%), as well as mental health and future job prospects.13 The Creation origin story addresses some of these issues in the following ways:
1. By teaching the sanctity of being human. One of the first characteristics ascribed to humans in the Creation narrative is that we were made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). This isn’t necessarily from a physical standpoint but may explain human consciousness, morality, and emotion. God is described in the Bible as being gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in love and faithfulness (Exodus 34:6). He is also described as being love itself (1 John 4:8). Recognizing that we are God’s workmanship, created to also extend love to others and do good works (Ephesians 2:10; John 15:12), can bring a sense of hope, peace, and purpose to the chaotic, divided, and sometimes violent society in which we exist.
In contrast to the evolutionary “survival of the fittest” narrative—where life exists by chance and individuals who have characteristics that are not advantageous don’t survive—a Creation outlook says that every human existence is intentional and precious, knit together by God in the womb (Psalm 139:13). This perspective combats discrimination and breaks down hierarchy by recognizing every individual as equally valuable and infinitely loved.
2. By counteracting exhaustion and burnout. As opposed to an evolutionary perspective, where working hard is necessary for self-preservation and survival, a creationist perspective gives individuals generous permission to rest and enjoy life. Before telling Adam and Eve to work in the Garden, God first invited them to participate in Sabbath rest (Genesis 2:2, 3). Rest is not framed as a reward for hard work. Rather, the Creation framework provides insight into God’s original design for humans as requiring regular, rhythmical rest. All attempts throughout history to change the length of a week have resulted in tremendous human suffering, sickness, and burnout.14 Unlike other measures of time—days (earth’s rotation), seasons (earth’s tilted axis), months (lunar phases), and years (earth circling the sun)—there is no planetary explanation for the existence of a seven-day week. In fact,Britannica Online admits it is “associated with the ancient Jews and the biblical account of the Creation.”15
Creation and Sabbath rest act as a reminder that a person’s work does not define them and that God is the ultimate Provider. Engaging in this reality can provide numerous physical, mental, and environmental benefits.
3. By protecting and caring for the environment. In the Creation narrative, God took Adam and “put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15). Life in the natural world was meant to be experienced in abundance, and work was intended to be a hands-on, organic, rewarding process.
Today, workers sit behind desks in large offices, removed from the natural world and often emotionally or physically disconnected from seeing their work come to fruition. In the name of profit, multinational corporations have caused widespread pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and worker exploitation. Coca-Cola alone produces more than three million tons of plastic packaging per year,16 and according to National Geographic, less than 10 percent of the 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic waste generated globally is recycled.17
While sustainability is slowly becoming more of an issue worldwide, there is a long way to go. Returning to an Edenic ideal for the planet, however, would stop environmental exploitation in its tracks.18
The Creation narrative, expressed in Genesis chapters 1 and 2, demonstrates God’s original intention for mankind as being good, loving, and hopeful. While it is a narrative grounded in faith, so is the theory of evolution. That is why everyone must take a leap of faith. They believe either in a primordial soup origin story that leaves one with little purpose or hope for the future or in a loving, creative God who intentionally made humans and desires their well-being.
Where will you direct your faith? It’s your choice, and I encourage you to prayerfully ponder the Creation narrative. You will be astonished by its depth and its beauty.
Maryellen Hacko is a writer, graphic designer, and artist. She runs a YouTube channel and paints in her spare time.
1. Michael Schulson, “The Bill Nye-Ken Ham Debate Was a Nightmare for Science,” Daily Beast, February 5, 2014, https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-bill-nye-ken-ham-debate-was-a-nightmare-for-science.
2. Emily Ruppel, et al., “Ham on Nye: Our Take,” Biologos, February 5, 2014, https://biologos.org/articles/ham-on-nye-our-take.
3. Marion Maddox, “Too Much Faith in Schools: The Rise of Christian Schooling in Australia,” ABC, March 20, 2014, https://www.abc.net.au/religion/too-much-faith-in-schools-the-rise-of-christian-schooling-in-aus/10099342.
4. Dr. Carolyn King, in “Darwin & Religion,” Roundtable discussion, question 5, University of Waikato, accessed April 12, 2022, https://sci.waikato.ac.nz/evolution/EvolutionReligion.shtml#Q5.
5. Jonathan Bracewell, “Letter: Science Shows Flaws in Miller-Urey Experiment,” September 2, 2005, Iowa State Daily, https://www.iowastatedaily.com/opinion/letter-science-shows-flaws-in-miller-urey-experiment/article_c9f34b8c-7bdb-5413-b22b-01419d1fc44a.html.
6. “Genetics,” Answers in Genesis, accessed April 12, 2022, https://answersingenesis.org/genetics/.
7. “Evolution,” Answers in Genesis, accessed April 12, 2022, https://answersingenesis.org/evolution/.
8. Emile Borel, Elements of the Theory of Probability (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1965), 57.
9. Emile Borel, Probabilities and Life (New York: Dover, 1962).
10. Harold J. Morowitz, Entropy for Biologists: An Introduction to Thermodynamics (New York: Academic Press, 1970).
11. Carl Sagan, ed., Communications With Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (Boston, MA: MIT Press, 1973).
12. David Robson, “Are We Close to Solving the Puzzle of Consciousness?” BBC, March 26, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20190326-are-we-close-to-solving-the-puzzle-of-consciousness/articles/240389.
13. “Revealed: Young People’s Top Issues and Concerns in 2021,” Mission Australia, December 1, 2021, https://www.missionaustralia.com.au/media-centre/media-releases/revealed-young-people-s-top-issues-and-concerns-in-2021.
14. Roman Mars, “ ‘Year Day,’ 10-Day Weeks, and Other Failed Attempts to Redesign the Calendar,” Slate, April 11, 2015, http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_eye/2015/04/11/history’s_failed_attempts_to_redesign_the_calendar_from_99_percent_invisible.html.
15. Encyclopaedia Britannica, s.v. “week,” https://www.britannica.com/science/week.
16. Sandra Laville, “Coca-Cola Admits It Produces 3m Tonnes of Plastic Packaging a Year,” Guardian, March 14, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/mar/14/coca-cola-admits-it-produces-3m-tonnes-of-plastic-packaging-a-year.
17. Laura Parker, “A Whopping 91% of Plastic Isn’t Recycled: Here’s How Much Plastic Trash Is Littering the Earth,” National Geographic, December 20, 2018, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/plastic-produced-recycling-waste-ocean-trash-debris-environment.
18. James Ellsmoor, “77% of People Want to Learn How to Live More Sustainably,” Forbes, July 23, 2019, https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesellsmoor/2019/07/23/77-of-people-want-to-learn-how-to-live-more-sustainably/?sh=22042bf42b01.