Creationists, Darwinians and Darwinian Creationists.

April 13, 2011
I have been mulling a dilemma for many months now. I know several highly intelligent people who believe that God used evolution to create the earth. Now if you’re one of those who think this, you respond to this statement, with “There is no doubt.” You read on, dubious of my thinking, reasoning and conclusions. If you are a strict “creationist” you read on wondering about the strength of my faith. (And wondering if I mean to imply that creationists AREN’T highly intelligent, which I don’t!) 🙂

I am pretty good at reasoning and I’m pretty good at seeing the weaknesses in others’ reasoning. And before you fasten your box of opinions shut, we must all agree that there is only one truth. My opinion, or Darwin’s or Dr. Geologist or Dr. Anthropologist are all irrelevant to the truth. It stands alone, waiting to be discovered.

I also believe that God doesn’t do anything to confuse us. He is a God of truth and cannot lie. In fact he wants us to discover him through study and prayer. He has left his fingerprints everywhere in our beautiful world and is pleased when we learn and appreciate what he has given us.

I believe that the accounts of the creation in Christian and Hebrew Scripture (which in this aspect are the same) are very simplified explanations of how He did it. I have no problem with “The Big Bang” theory of matter because matter is merely light energy properly arranged. A sudden infusion of light energy in a place where there was room for a new Universe seems like the sensible way for a God of Light, whose power is light and truth, to start a new project. If radiometric dating says that happened 4 billion years ago, that’s okay with me. It was before time as we know it was measured and an Eternal God is not governed by time.

Then there’s the creation of life on the earth. The order given in the Bible puts plants, containing seed in themselves after their kind, first on the earth. This would be sensible to create the food before the creation of the hungry. “Seed in itself after his kind” doesn’t sound too much like evolution, unless you assume that “seed” could also have been translated as “DNA” and the instructions for all plant life were in the original little dot of algae. So the giant sequoia’s DNA was tucked in with the mushrooms and prickly pears. Scientist diverge from creationists saying that plants and animals evolved simultaneously, with suitable food supply coming along at the same time as each new species.

The same argument applies to the creation of animal life. Though the account says,” Having seed in itself, and God commanded them to be fruitful and multiply after their own kind and replenish the earth. I can read “after it’s own kind” as referring to the DNA and RNA instructions and if I really, really stretch, I can believe that somehow DNA instructed both male and female to evolve next to each other in the same generation and both avoided being eaten before producing MANY MANY offspring. (with an appropriate food supply nearby) But if this is the way God did it, then I’m sure He had a reason.

Believing the Bible literally,( allowing “days” to be translated “periods of time,) is the application of Occam’s Razor. (The simplest explanation is usually the best). But how do strict Biblical Creationists explain the fossil record? It shows hundreds upon hundreds of layers of animal and plant remains lain down with simplest at the bottom (oldest) and more complex and modern at the top. And how do evolutionists explain that those layers are laid down like pancakes in a stack with very little crossover between layers of species and fully functional body parts like wings appearing in one generation? That isn’t the way survival of the fittest works. Doesn’t that suggest that they were created whole?

I have heard the idea put forth that the fossil layer was debris from a previous earth. This makes no sense at all to me, because it implies that God took unorganized matter (without form and void) and arranged the bones of animals and plants in layers uniformly over the whole earth. Why would he arrange it to seem different than it really was unless he attempted to deceive us? That is contrary to the nature of God. There are other problems with this idea, but you’ll have to comment or email me.

To complicate the question even further, if there was no death until Adam partook of the fruit of knowledge of good and evil, wouldn’t all those creatures have to have been alive until that first bite? Why would they THEN die in order of complexity. The flood killing off all extinct species also doesn’t explain the orderly way the pancakes are laid down very well, unless the flood itself was a much more complex process. But Man would also be mixed in with all the other life in that event.

I reason that God had a reason for placing Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. It is possible in my mind that it was an isolated ecosystem, protected from death and harm and even discomfort. If there was no death in the realm of the Garden of Eden, outside there were thorns, thistles and predators death and sweat equity.

But all of the reasoning and questioning and debating between the sciences are forced to scrum (for those of you who don’t know rugby, the two teams lock heads and shoulders and push like crazy to dominate the ball,) over the subject of man. To evolutionists, did God let man-like creatures evolve and then when fully developed into “the image of God” pluck out a man and woman and place them in the Garden of Eden to start the human race and receive agency and have domination over all things in the earth? At what point did these creatures receive spirits? How did they live before that event if they didn’t have human spirits before?

While this is possible, scientists who study the fossil record place the dawn of man in human form back 2 million years. Adam was the first man, and Eve was the first woman. Even atheist evolutionists agree that there had to be an Adam and an Eve because of the DNA markers that trace to an individual source. (on the x chromosome) So I wish an evolution-based creationist would explain to me what happened in those 2 million years. The Bible meticulously records the genealogy of man, and is even careful to tell us what their life span was and their ages (before the flood) when their heir was born. The Bible is not ambiguous on the history of humankind. If Adam lived when the Bible said he did, and there was no human death until he left the Garden, the 2 million date for humans is way, way, way off. If you apply Biblical information to the dates of man, and then extrapolate dates for the fossil record, we recognize a tremendous condensation of time in the fossil record.

When Mt. St. Helens erupted in Washington state, hundreds of trees were washed into lakes of silica rich water. Scientists were astonished to find fossilization well advanced after only a few years. Until then, petrifaction was understood to take many many thousands of years, but St. Helens showed that it can be a very rapid process. We see a similar condensation of the time line in tree petrifaction as we do applying the Bible’s time line to human history.

But condensing the time to adhere to the Bible doesn’t explain the layers from simple to complex very well.

And using the concept of evolution giving an advantage that gives a feeding or mating advantage that is then passed to abundant offspring, won’t work in explaining why my evolutionary advantage, wasn’t passed on to any of my children. (My left thumb is shorter than my right thumb by a good half inch. It’s fully functional but I never cut it while chopping onions with my right hand, and it is shaped pleasantly for sucking on, and the fingernail is much sturdier than the others, making a convenient screwdriver.) According to Darwin, my husband should have chosen me because of my attractive thumb, or because I was so well fed because of my not cutting my thumb. But alas, he didn’t notice it until we were engaged and my mother pointed it out, and not one of my kids inherited it. Geneticists, isn’t that typical of a genetic aberration?

So I go back to the comfort and peace in the knowledge that God created the Earth. He created it for us, his children. There is only one truth, one set of facts, and God knows exactly what that truth is. I hope that he’ll inspire me or full-fledged seekers of truth in the sciences to look in the right place for that truth, but until then, (or perhaps therefore), I’m hoping that readers will comment and add to my knowledge and suggest reasoning that I have not thought of. Many of you know more about the sciences than I do and have more details to throw into the mix. Comment if you feel inspired. (Feel free to use more than one frame if the word limit is too small.) (all comments are moderated)

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5 Comments

  • Reply Rob and Marseille April 14, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    I've learned alot about Mt St. Helens, having grown up & been schooled in the NW, but I hadn't heard that the trees fossilized faster. That is interesting & makes sense in fossil timelines. As for the rest, I don't like to get into discussions on how God created things.

  • Reply wigglerbug April 15, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    My problem with commenting is that I'm a horrible typist. But I'll say a few things anyway.
    First, since there is so little direct information about the creation in the Scriptures, you are basically left to believe just about anything that you want with impunity. God doesn't purposely confuse, but man does a great job in his behalf.
    The Big Bang was 13.7 Billion years ago. The "no death until Adam" refers only to the Garden of Eden. The dinosaurs et al died off long before man and their death let the first mammals to begin their evolutionary journey. "The Flood" was a localized event that
    left no world-wide depositional sedimentary event. Adam and Eve did not start the evolution of man some 2 million to 4 million years ago. Adam and Eve had culture, language, and religion, all of which bloomed nearly instantaniously about 10,000 years ago (could that be the influence of "the Spirit of God or "Breath of Life"?).
    I know that I represent a small subset of your readers: A scientist who is also a person of great faith.

  • Reply Larry Foreman April 15, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    I think you did a good job of describing various aspects of the issue. Obviously much more could be said, and whole books have been written. One specific comment I have is that not all plants could have been created first and then all animals because many plants require animals for pollination, seed dispersal, cracking of seed coatings through digestion, etc. So a sequential creation of first plants species and then animal species as in Genesis 1 would not be possible. Also, many plants have defense mechanisms against herbivory, for example spines, poisons, etc. However, I suppose in this case those plants could have been created with a feature for future need. It seems to me evident that many plants and animals were mutually developed. Your comments about the Mt. St. Helens findings, which I don’t take at face value without reading the study, do not relate to geologic timelines. “Relative dating” determines or estimates a sequence of events or deposition of geologic or biotic material. “Calendar dating” yields aging of mineral or biotic layers based on the decay rates of various radioactive isotopes. Relative and calendar dating work in conjunction to give a general history of the Earth’s biota. Neither relative or calendar dating depend upon the rate of petrifaction. So I doubt that anything changes based on these findings. Unlike Rob and Marseille, I think it is very important to discuss the issue of creation. It relates directly to the nature of God, how he deals with us now, and how he influences our lives and the Earth today. I don’t see God as a simple potter that molded the first people out of clay and water with his hands and then let them go to work and reproduce. I perceive a God whose understanding of natural laws is capable of not only making but planning and directing events and lives, including all the plants and animals ever created, the first humans, and all the humans thereafter. Throughout time, he has dealt with both individuals and groups. What were not long ago miracles to people are now understood in terms of natural laws and processes. In my view, not referring to everything or anything as a miracle, does not remove the hand of God. He is the overseer with knowledge and foresight that we cannot yet comprehend. I believe that everything proceeds according to his plan and toward his known result. Believing in a brief, totally unknown moment of “creation” seems to do little to help us understand the enormity of his creative work (not the end product, but the act of making it). The evolutionist is actually capable of seeing a much greater and more glorious God than the creationist.

  • Reply Beth M. Stephenson April 15, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    I know that the rate of petrafaction doesn't actually affect the method of dating, but the case of Mt. St. Helens is an example of man reasoning into a method of dating, (like carbon 14) and later learning that the premise,(silica replaces biological parts at a certain rate, or that the amount of carbon 14 that dribbles through our atmosphere has dribbled at the same rate throughout earth's history)turns out to be incorrect. We know that there are measureable variations, in the rate carbon 14 comes and we have learned from Mt. St. Helens that a process thought to take thousands of years can be condensed. Radio metric dating (used for inorganic elements)doesn't have the same issues with dating because it is indeed measurable and predictable and if you add energy or time you end up with a different element or version of an element. I too find great comfort in knowing that God does indeed know the details. I can only imagine how eager He is to reveal another small peek into the process of creating a world.
    The only issue I have with entertaining all Wigglerbug asserts is the problem of Adam and Eve as stated in the original essay. They are individuals with distinct spirits and God calls him the first man.If that's an incomplete sentence, it is not hinted in the scripture.Possibly th translation could mean "first child of God" and the translators through the ages applied the word man with a broad brush. Do you believe that he was the first child of God among human-like animals?
    (Yes Larry Foreman, I know I should document assertions, but it's already a LONG blog)The Mt. St. Helen's was in the National Geographic Magazine.
    I still feel like we're all little kids at a football game and everybody stands up around you in an exciting part and you have to guess what's going on from the cheering. But I appreciate the comments and ideas.

  • Reply Kelsi Marie April 1, 2012 at 3:25 am

    I realize that I am commenting nearly a year after the conversation ended, but I have some interesting ideas. As you mentioned mom, carbon dating can only be accurate as far back as we know that carbon entering our atmosphere and beginning disintegration did not change. Seeing as common natural occurrences such as serious sun flares are proven to impact the presence of carbon in the atmosphere, we have every reason to believe that carbon levels have fluctuated over time, rendering carbon dating on anything older than a couple thousand years useless. Without a better measurement however, scientists have began to use phrases like "could be as old as…" instead of stating artifacts ages definitively. So discrepancy in time between creationists and "evolutionists" cannot really be compared. If you want to read some very interesting ideas on evolution look at Hugh Nibley's "Before Adam" at the following link: (http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/transcripts/?id=73)
    Or read a shorter essay by Henry Eyring Sr.at (http://eyring.hplx.net/Eyring/faq/evolution/EyringReflections.html). hope you enjoy

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