Forerunner, February 2005

The following story does not have exciting characters, a riveting beginning, or a climactic ending, but nonetheless it is a well-known tale. It is rehearsed continually, and even though it lacks any redeeming moral value, it has had a tremendous impact on civilization—and especially upon Western culture. Those who think it is about the Planet of the Apes are only partly correct:

About fifteen billion years ago or so, it is estimated, all the universe's matter and energy were compressed together in what scientists now call a "cosmic egg." It is not known how this collection of matter and energy came to be. However, in an event that defies the laws of physics, which state that neither matter nor energy can be created out of nothing, this "cosmic egg" for some reason exploded in a big bang. This was a hot process, but as things cooled down, the elements of hydrogen and helium formed. The gas molecules collapsed in on themselves to make stars and galaxies. Thus, the universe came to be.

Our own solar system, the story continues, formed five billion years ago from a cloud of dust and gas, which eventually condensed into the sun and planets. At its beginning, Earth consisted of molten rock. As its heat dissipated, oceans of warm primordial "soup" presented ideal conditions for the origin of life.

About three billion years ago [these dates are merely "best guesses," as mankind lacks accurate tools to measure age of this magnitude], life began as simple cells. Eventually these cells evolved into multicellular organisms, which then became invertebrates, such as jellyfish and clams. These in turn evolved into vertebrates and the first fish.

After a while, some fish became tired of the water and yearned to go on dry land. Over eons, as fish struggled to get ashore, they developed little legs and finally succeeded in becoming amphibians—frogs, salamanders, and such. Amphibians then evolved into reptiles and reptiles into mammals and birds.

Man, it is said, descended from ape-like creatures. As he evolved and became more intelligent, his brain and skull grew larger. He formerly swung from trees, but after adapting to life on the ground, he lost his tail, as it no longer served any purpose. Because mates with less hair were more attractive, man eventually lost his ape-like hair as well. Later, he reached the cave-man stage: still a brute, but able to use crude stone tools. And, finally, he evolved to his modern state (perhaps still a brute, but now with complex tools).

That, more or less, is the explanation schools and universities teach today of how life and the universe began. Until the nineteenth century, the biblical view—that God had created the world and man—was almost universal in the West. But after the publication of Darwin's book, The Origin of Species, in 1859, evolutionary ideas began replacing religious orthodoxy, until evolution itself became orthodoxy.

But what is the true meaning of evolution? What does it predict for mankind?

Challenging Darwin

In recent years, Darwinism has been strongly challenged, not on religious grounds but scientific ones. Books such as Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, Darwin's Black Box, Tornado in a Junkyard, and Darwin on Trial, to name just a few, have shaken the evolutionary establishment.

In July 2001, the independent newsletter WorldNet published an edition on evolution. Response from its readers—both for and against evolution—was overwhelming. Even though the debate of creation versus evolution has long since ceased within the church, the controversy in the world is far from over. As an example, one of the responses read:

Once you have a deity poking his finger in, there is NO logical place to stop. If you think there is, then where is it? At the end of that path, you will have done away with free will and human responsibility.

Within the last couple of years, a well-publicized debate between biochemist Michael Behe, a champion of "intelligent design," and another scientist defending evolution occurred. Behe presented a compelling case relating to the irreducible complexity of living systems—that is, the impossibility of their having evolved incrementally, since all the intermediate stages before the finished system (say, wings) would not function properly and therefore would work against survival through natural selection. The evolutionist scientist rebutted,

Without the education and scientific background to understand the formulas and algorithms that pertain to this subject, it is almost impossible for your listeners to understand how evolution works.

In other words, people without advanced degrees are too ignorant to understand how evolution works, so they should not even try. Instead, they should just believe Ph.D. scientists on blind faith. That sounds religious!

This also sounds like another well-known story, "The Emperor's New Clothes," where only the smartest citizens in the kingdom—or so the authorities said—could actually see the king's mysterious new clothes. Everyone else—poor, uneducated rabble that they were—just saw a naked king, but they, too, pretended to see the clothes, just as the elite did. In the same way, people subscribe to evolutionary theory because the intellectual and societal elite believe in it—without truly examining all that is at stake and proving for themselves why they believe what they do.

There is a reason why people blindly accept this theory.

Rejecting God

We could examine the many objections to evolution, such as the utter lack of fossil evidence to support it and the mind-numbing probability statistics of what it would take for even a single protein to come into being by itself, let alone the thousands required for even a single cell. We could also consider the evidence of how badly flawed our radiocarbon dating methods are and how dates of fossils are actually selected from a number of possible choices. We could contemplate the simple question that, if scientists in a laboratory still cannot create life out of raw chemical material, how could blind chance? Modern evidence against this theory is mounting.

However, rather than focus on the details of this crumbling theory, we need to consider why people try to make a theory riddled with so many holes still hold water. Why is such a worldview attractive? Why do people subscribe to evolution with more blind faith than a Christian needs to believe in a Creator?

Romans 1 begins to provide some answers:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. (Romans 1:18-19)

God reveals to mankind what can be known about Him: Himself and His creative power by displaying the marvels of the creation.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made [as opposed to spontaneous generation], even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse. . . . (Romans 1:20)

Even without the Spirit of God, without God having fully revealed Himself to a person, it is still possible for him to recognize that a creation demands the existence of a Creator. He can see that an intelligent Designer is necessary rather than the natural world coming into existence by sheer chance. Thus, God says that they are without excuse because they can understand the things that can be known about Him, if they choose to accept it.

. . . because, although they knew God [they experienced or were familiar with what He had done], they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. (Romans 1:21-23)

Rather than following truth, man rejects the knowledge of God. He willingly turns a blind eye to His Creative powers, and instead, in his mind, replaces the faultless and perfect God with frail, perishable organisms: man, birds, reptiles, etc. He is willing to elevate almost anything above the true God.

And God allows this! In essence, He says, "If this is the way of life you choose, fine. Its consequences you bring upon yourselves!" Notice the results:

Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshipped and served the creature [creation] rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 1:24-25)

Bitter Results

What are the results of rejecting God?

1. Uncleanness, meaning moral impurity;

2. Longing or desiring, especially what is forbidden;

3. Disgracing each other by mutual consent, meaning unlawful and impure connections with one another. Verse 24 contemplates not just a perversion of sex—homosexuality—but any use of it outside of God's law, such as fornication.

Paul describes more of what rejecting God leads to:

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. (Romans 1:26-27)

Should we be shocked at the explosion of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in today's world? God tells those that reject Him that such diseases are fitting penalties for the wrong use of sex. Mankind has tried to "advance beyond consequences" in this area by advocating "safe-sex" through the use of contraceptives. However, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently admitted that condoms do not prevent the transmission of most STDs. Mankind cannot outsmart God!

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:28-32)

This list demonstrates the results of rejecting the true God. Are not all of these fitting descriptions of our society, which has become so "enlightened" in the last century or so?

Root Causes

We have seen the results—what are the causes? The apostle John writes:

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (I John 2:15-17)

These verses present a simplified illustration. Mankind is faced with two choices: On the one hand is the way of life that God proscribes for man, and on the other are the physical "benefits" that seem to be his if God is not in the picture. Without a divine Lawgiver in the picture, man would be free to pursue whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted it, and to whatever extent.

According to commentator Adam Clarke, the lust of the flesh refers to "sensual and impure desires which seek their gratification in women, strong drink, delicious [foods], and the like." The lust of the eyes indicates "inordinate desires after finery of every kind, gaudy dress, splendid houses, superb furniture, expensive equipage, trappings, and decorations of all sorts." The pride of life implies "hunting after honors, titles, and pedigrees; boasting of ancestry, family connections, great offices, and honorable acquaintance."

The world has these things to offer; they are the glittering gems that seem out of one's reach when constrained by laws and rules. Why should a man let anyone tell him what to do? Why should he be required to abide by laws? Why can he not live by his own rules? They are good enough for him, so they should be good enough for everyone else. These arguments have convinced mankind to reject the Creator God in favor of an ideology that utterly lacks proof but gives a certain peace of mind—that man is in control of his own destiny and that nobody is going to tell him what to do!

Does this rebellious frame of mind not sound familiar? In Ephesians 2:1-3, Paul speaks to Christian converts whom God had redeemed from the bondage of the world:

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the Prince of the power of the air [Satan], the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

These verses reiterate familiar symptoms—fulfilling the desires of the body and the mind, as well as anger—showing the origin of this way of thinking. Helel, feeling that he was not getting what he deserved, what was his right, rebelled against His Creator, becoming Satan. His influence has perpetuated the lie of evolution to turn mankind against God.

Societal Breakdown

Proverbs 29:18 tells us: "Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law." The translators of The Living Bible put an interesting slant on it: "Where there is ignorance of God, crime runs wild; but what a wonderful thing it is for a nation to know and keep His laws."

A direct link exists between ignorance of God—either willful or unintentional—and societal breakdown. This is the result of evolution: not a more advanced society with answers to all of life's problems, not a utopia of peaceful coexistence, not a world of highly refined beings who have ascended to the next "plane" of existence, but degeneration. The ultimate result of the theory of evolution—and Satan's intention—is the destruction of humanity and all semblance of order. We are increasingly seeing this breakdown within our schools and universities, on our highways, and in our neighborhoods. Mankind is certainly not evolving into anything better.

In response to the deluge of e-mails WorldNet received from the issue on evolution, the managing editor published the following observations on the website:

The driving point behind evolution today is the same as it has always been—a way to deny the existence of God. . . .The spiritual power of evolution, the immense public seduction it has facilitated, and its primary societal role over the last century has been to remove God from the daily life and mind of mankind. . . . [E]volution's most transcendent purpose is, and always has been, to enable you to walk outside and witness the majesties of nature but to no longer have to see God's handiwork, the undeniable evidence of His love. Instead, you get to see the product of eons of "evolution"—of which man is the prideful pinnacle. And lucky day—you'll be happy to know that evolution also just happens to open up the door to free sexual expression, unfettered by the laws of a nameless and faceless God. And so, in your evolutionary world, man is the creator of his own destiny. He can genetically engineer himself and his world, transplant body parts, clone animals and humans, fabricate artificial parts of all sorts, imbed subcutaneous microchips, and generally just transform his body and soul into a new creature. In him—Man—all things are made new. Man has become his own god—creating and re-creating himself unto immortality. . . . That's why there's such emotion on this "scientific" subject. It's all about freedom from accountability to God, it's about free will [the lust of the eyes], it's about free sex [the lust of the flesh], it's about pride [the pride of life], it's about being your own god.

Shifting Focus

Revelation 3:14-22 shows that this is still relevant for our time. Notice the titles that Christ uses for Himself in His salutation to the Laodiceans:

And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, "These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: (verse 14)

Is there a reason God has to remind this church era that He is Creator?

One of the Laodiceans' problems is that they have, in essence, rejected God, perhaps not consciously, but their focus and attention has been turned away from that all-important relationship. They are paying more heed to the "lusts of the flesh" and the "lust of the eyes" and to creating their own gods, their own objects or ideas of worship. This is why, as verse 17 shows, they are self-satisfied with their condition, both physically and spiritually. Their concept of God, diminished and distorted through their neglect of the relationship, makes Him subject to their terms. In doing so, they have peace of mind that they are doing just fine, and at the same time, they are completely self-deceived about their true spiritual condition.

The theory of physical evolution is not a problem within the church, as we had to throw it out a long time ago to commit ourselves to God. However, the driving motivation behind evolution is to deny the existence—or at least the power or influence—of God. We can receive the same results and symptoms that belief in Darwinism spawns if we lose sight of our real reason for living, or if we shift our focus away from the Creator God.

Inset: Genetic Mutations: Helpful or Hurtful?

A great many areas of science discredit or disprove Darwin's theory—far too many to broach within a general article. However, as a quick example, we can consider the genetic mutations that are a building block of Darwin's theory. According to Darwin, simple organisms changed into more complex organisms through the process of adaptation.

The science of genetics was not developed in Darwin's day, and he assumed animals essentially had an unlimited capacity to adapt to environments. However, scientists now recognize that a creature cannot be anything physically its genes will not allow. Even after millions of years in the jungle, donkeys would still be donkeys, because they have only donkey genes. To resolve this dilemma, modern evolutionists assert that the fish's genes must have mutated into human genes over eons. Mutations, of course, are abrupt alterations in genes.

Dr. Lee Spetner, who taught for a decade at Johns Hopkins University and the Weizman Institute, wrote a book entitled Not by Chance: Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution. In it, he noted

In all the reading I've done in the life-sciences literature, I've never found a mutation that added [genetic] information. . . . All point mutations that have been studied on the molecular level turn out to reduce the genetic information and not increase it.

Genetic mutations have been observed to produce these effects in the lives of human beings: Death, sterility, hemophilia, sickle-cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, Down's syndrome, and about 4,000 other diseases. The genetic code is designed to run an organism perfectly, while mutations delete information from the code, causing birth defects.

Mutations have never been observed to create a new hormone, organ, or other structure. They reduce, but do not generate, biologic technology. This is not to say it is impossible that a random mutation could create higher genetic information—only that it is not observed in science. Darwin's theory dies on this point alone.