I have no problem with evolution.
I do have a problem with naturalistic evolution.
And news broke recently that put anyone who doesn’t have the same problem in a bit of a quandary.
Let’s begin with the great biblical contention. The Bible tells us that God created human beings: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them... 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 person." (Genesis 1:27 and 2:7, NIV)
According to the Bible, we were created by a Creator, wonderfully and carefully designed. The entire creative process was miraculously and supernaturally generated and guided by the living God.
Yet the Bible doesn’t say how God created human beings except in a very literary, poetic way, using phrases like “the dust of the earth” and “the breath of life.” Not exactly the language for a biology textbook.
Evolution is one of the leading theories in science for the how.
Which, as I began, is fine.
If God used evolution, so be it.
That doesn’t mean there wasn’t an original Adam and Eve that God breathed an actual soul into at the end of the process to mark the beginning of the human race as we know it today.
But if you know much about the theory, it begs for an outside force, an outside intelligence of some kind to explain it. It depends on so many leaps and mutations to overcome massive unexplained gaps that it almost screams for an intelligence guiding and helping the process.
For example, think about the simple – but profound – issue of time.
If the age of the Earth is about 4.5 billion years and we have evidence of abundant and complex life 3.5 billion years ago (which we do), that means that there were only about one billion years for the Earth to cool from its initial formation and for all of evolution to have taken place.
Which is – if you know your science – a nanosecond in terms of the universe.
It simply isn’t enough time, by anyone’s calculations, for all of evolution to have taken place naturally. Noted astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle wrote that if you computed the time required to get all 200,000 amino acids for one human cell to come together by chance, it would take about 293.5 times the estimated age of the Earth.
It would be like having the working dynamics of the latest iPhone instantly created, by chance, through a single explosion in a computer geek’s garage.
So if evolution is true, it seems to have needed – and received – some kind of outside, guiding, enhancing force to speed it along and guide it strategically in the timeframe of the age of the Earth.
Now, that seems to be the case more than ever.
The scientific world is abuzz with the discovery of the oldest fossil ever found on Earth which shows that organisms thrived 4.2 billion years ago.
It’s easy math. That’s 300 million years from the birth of Earth to… life.
But wait, it gets better.
Because we found life at 4.3 billion years ago, it suggests that life probably formed as early as 4.5 billion years ago.
Which… um… was when the earth was formed, or at least within 100 million years of its formation.
I think that kind of means instantaneous.
And that kind of can’t happen, at least naturally…
… without an involved God on the loose.
James Emery White
Sarah Knapton, “Oldest Fossil Ever Found on Earth Shows Organisms Thrived 4.2bn Years Ago – And Provides Strongest Evidence Yet for Similar Life on Mars,” The Telegraph, March 2, 2017, read online.
Carl Zimmer, “Scientists Say Canadian Bacteria Fossils May Be Earth’s Oldest,” The New York Times, March 1, 2017, read online.
About the Author
James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His latest book, Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post-Christian World, is available on Amazon. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church & Culture blog, visit ChurchAndCulture.org, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on twitter @JamesEmeryWhite.