The debate over the origin of life has raged for years and the creation-evolution issue has stirred much controversy on the college campus. The creation evolution issue is of vital importance because it is the foundation of what we believe and how we live. Our understanding of our origin will determine the way we think and the way we live.
The foundation of creationism is found in Genesis. In the first three chapters of Genesis, we find our purpose for living, our responsibility, our promise of salvation, and our destiny. The basis of life, culture, government, marriage, law, morality and death, are also found in Genesis. The first book of the Bible records God’s judgment, faithfulness, promises and demonstration of love for people.
Genesis is also the most quoted book in the rest of the Bible. Because of its paramount and foundational importance to the rest of the Bible, it is of no surprise that Genesis is also under so much scrutiny. The most quoted book is also the most attacked, mocked and fictionalized book. This is because the question of origins is fundamental to the way we live.
Genesis is the foundation of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Man was created in a perfect state since he was created in the image of God. Man was not merely a puppet of the Creator, but was given a free will and the ability to make decisions. God created man with a purpose: to rule over the earth. All that God required was that man enjoy His created paradise, and obey His commands.
Yet man desired to be equal with God, and began to exalt his knowledge above God. Adam and Eve wanted to obtain this knowledge through their own efforts – even though God had given them abundant wisdom for living. They wanted to be like God and to have knowledge to independently rule their own lives, an attitude which is the foundation of humanism.
Adam clearly knew the penalty for his disobedience – death. Yet despite the warning, he rebelled against God and sinned. Thus it was through one man, Adam, that death and sin entered the world. As a result, all men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God(Romans 3:10, 23) and all are in the need of redemption.
By contrast, the theory of evolution says that no man has ever fallen to a lower state and that death is part of the natural process. By evolutionary thinking, mankind is always evolving upward, and we presently represent the highest form of evolution, “evolving into God Himself.”
Even atheists recognize the important implication of creation. G. Richard Bozarth wrote in The American Atheist: “Christianity is – must be! – totally committed to the special creation as described in Genesis, and Christianity must fight with its full might against the theory of evolution. And here is why.
“In Romans we read that ‘sin entered the world through one man, and through sin – death, and thus death has spread through the whole human race because everyone has sinned.’(Romans 5:12) … the whole justification of Jesus’ life and death is predicated on the existence of Adam and the forbidden fruit he and Eve ate. Without the 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. Without Adam, without the original sin, Jesus Christ is reduced to a man with a mission on a wrong planet!“1
The doctrines of evolution are the very anti-thesis of the Gospel. If the first Adam is merely an allegorical figure, maybe the last Adam [Jesus] is too (I Corinthians 15: 45-47).
The essence of the humanist position is this: if man was not created in a perfect state, or subsequently never fell, he has no real need for a Savior and is therefore the designer of his own destiny. Even as Genesis and the creationist concept are foundational to Christianity, so likewise is the evolutionary theory for humanism. Humanism is a man-centered philosophy that attempts to solve the problems of man and the world independently of God.
The evolutionary man is a product of time, chance, and environmental factors. Because there is a constant struggle for existence, each organism must exert all of its powers and abilities to survive. If man does not look out for his own interests and rely on his own power, then man will be subject to the process of natural selection for the survival of the fittest. Man, being the pinnacle of the evolutionary ladder, must be the center of his own attention. Evolution is man’s attempt to be his own god and to determine his own destiny.
Sir Julian Huxley, a leading evolutionist and founder of the American Humanist Association, defined humanism in these words: “I use the word ‘humanist’ to mean someone who believes that man is just as much a natural phenomenon as an animal or a plant; that his body, mind and soul were not supernaturally created but are the products of evolution, and that he is not under the control or guidance of any supernatural being or beings, but has to rely on himself and his own powers.“2
The Humanist Manifesto I was penned by educator and philosopher John Dewey in 1933. The Humanist Manifesto II, written in 1973, clearly documents the fundamental importance of origins:
“Religious humanists regard the universe as self existing and not created. … We find insufficient evidence for belief in the existence of a supernatural; it is either meaningless or irrelevant to the question of survival and fulfillment of the human race. As non-theists, we begin with humans, not God, nature, not deity … but we can discover no divine purpose or providence for the human species. While there is much that we do not know, humans are responsible for what we are or will become. No deity will save us; we must save ourselves …“3
Why has the debate over origins created so much furor, and why has creation received so much oppostion? It is certainly not over scientific evidences alone. Many evolutionists are beginning to seriously question evolution, especially Darwinian evolution, and several have written books against the scientific theory of evolution such as Dr. Michael Denton and his book Evolution: A Theory in Crisis.
The discussion of life’s origins has received much publicity because it is foundational in nature to all areas of life. Creation is essential to the foundation of Christianity; yet evolution has been the scientific base of the antithesis. For many years the church has thought that the debate had only scientific implications and did not make an effort to present evidence which support the Genesis foundation.
J. Gresham Machen puts things in perspective: “Modern culture is a mighty force. It is either subservient to the gospel or else the deadliest enemy of the gospel. For making it subservient, religious emotion is not enough; intellectual labor is also necessary. And that labor is being neglected. The church has turned to easier tasks. And now she is reaping the fruits of her indolence. Now she must battle for her life.“4
There are many qualified scientists who are now beginning to objectively consider the evidences for creation because new discoveries in science are strengthening the foundation for Christianity. As we present the scientific evidences for creation, the result will not only be the reformation of science but revival in men’s hearts.
1 G. Richard Bozarth, “The Meaning of Evolution,” The American Atheist, September, 1978, p. 19.
2 Sir Julian Huxley, American Humanist Association promotional brochure.
3 Humanist Manifesto I and II (Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books, 1977).
4 Gresham Machen, “Christianity and Culture,” The Banner of Truth, June 1969, No. 69.