When you hear “Intelligent Design,” the thesis of it is, that if it didn’t happen just by chance, is there had to be some intelligence behind it. And there’s been a movement to teach this in schools, it’s been very controversial, actually, it’s controversial in the scientific community, it’s also controversial among Christians, and it’s controversial among non-Christian and Christian scientists.
I live in a very smart part of the country. I learned when I moved there in San Jose, that it has the highest education level of any city in America. So, when I preach and teach, I really do my research like this. You know? Because lots of smart people out there are going to come up and say, wait a minute. You said this, but…
In fact, when I taught on this, another guy walked up and said nine months ago Francis Collins actually debated Richard Dawkins at Stanford. It was very interesting. And I’m going; we’re supposed to love God with all of our heart and mind, soul and strength. So, we need to do our research.
Now what I want you to hear is this is a classic position by Sagan. Dawkins picks it up and carries it. Now you have these new voices, not necessarily saying that the God of the Bible created, but there must be an intelligent designer or it came from another planet or it didn’t happen just by chance. But what they’re really saying is that all of Darwinian evolution is a faith construct.
And then the last group, and I want to really try and be fair to everyone, is Christian evolutionists. Dennis Alexander, Francis Collins, and Kenneth Miller are probably the three leaders. And these are people that take God seriously, the Bible seriously, evolution seriously, and they talk about God as the creator and they weave in various principles of evolution. There’s a lot going on out there in the world today in the Creation/evolution debate.
The only point I want you to get is that it is a faith construct and part of the faith construct is we, as followers of Christ, have some presuppositions that we believe by faith and we look at evidence through this lens. Others have a presupposition of a lack of faith or even out of wounded-ness or bad experiences with God and church and Christians, and they actually look at the scientific data through this lens.
In fact, let me make a final quote here before we jump into me putting some stuff out there for you to weigh. Biologist Francis Crick admits that his commitment to materialism and hostility toward religion motivated him to enter his field of science. “I went into science because of these religious reasons. There’s no doubt about it. I asked myself, what were the things that appear inexplicable and are used to support religious beliefs”? Then Crick sought to show that those things are purely, have a material foundation.
Do you hear what I’m saying here? He’s basically saying, I had a really bad religious experience and I had all these religious kooks and they’re leading people astray and so I went into science with the presupposition that, how can I show through science, these religious people are nuts?
One of his fellow workers goes on to say, Steven Weinberg confesses that he hopes science will liberate people from religion. It’s one of the things, in fact, it’s a fact that absolutely drives my life.
The fact of the matter is, everyone tries to be so cool and so objective. Nobody’s objective. We all have presuppositions.
So, what we want to do is look at the facts and say, what do the facts say and how open can we be and let’s examine them together. I’ve got seven or eight specific things I’d like you to look at, and here’s how I’m going to do it. You now know the lay of the land, right? You now know that there’s a classic position, there are some new voices, and there are some Christian evolutionists. And in that mix, if you will, now there are, I think, some basic questions.
We’re going to ask the question and then we’ll say: creation or evolution. Then you evaluate which you think best supports it.
Question number one: How did life begin? Evolution’s answer is: unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable, and natural process. I got that out of the Association of Biology Teachers. Apprentice Hall textbook writes, “a random, undirected working without either plan or purpose”.
By contrast, Creation’s answer to how did life begin is: in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. This one will not take a lot of time. But you got two options when you look at all of life and order and design and beauty and feelings and relationships. Either it was random chance, material, no design, no purpose, no intelligence, that billions and billions and billions of years ago, a single cell bursts forth into life and that all that we see, so, that takes some faith to believe that.
Or it takes some faith to believe. Some people have had visions of God. I never have. But it takes faith to believe that when we read scripture, examine the life of Christ, and look at the harmony, the beauty, the complexity in both the cell and the universe, that in the beginning, God spoke. And he created. So, you have two options.
Question number two: Why did life begin? Evolution’s response is: pure accident, random chance. It’s like there’s this little thing called life and it’s on the big roulette wheel and wrrrrrrr, you spin it, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, oh, you know, whoa!
This one little planet and this one little universe called earth. This place in this solar system. Life happens. No design, no plan, no meaning, no emotions, no purpose, no value. All those things are illusions.
In fact, now research in the areas of psychology are talking to us about all the things that you think are feelings, all those things about meaning and purpose and relationships and all those feelings that you have are basically nothing more than chemical reactions inside your brain that have developed over billions and billions of years, that have allowed you to rise to the top of the animal species so that you have survived more than other species.
So it is an illusion that you are here and those feelings inside of meaning, or purpose, of life. Those feelings of love when you hold a newborn baby. The sense that there’s something bigger when you see a sunset. The loss that you have when someone dies. All of that is an illusion.
Because, if we’re consistent, pure accidental, random chance. In fact, I love the quote because it’s so honest, by biologist William Provine, he says, “Evolution is the greatest engine of atheism.” You see, once you get rid of a creator all moral law falls apart. All sense of accountability is illogical. All rules are gone. It was Huxley who said, Darwin gave us an excuse to live the way we really wanted to.
The opposite answer to the question of why did life begin, is creation. God made man in his own image to share fellowship with him, to glorify him, and steward the earth. Scripture says, “So God created man in His own image. In the image of God, he created him, male and female, he created them.
And then God blessed them. And he said, be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth and so do it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground”.
There’s this sense that we are not at the top of the chain because we evolved there. There’s an idea that we’re made in the image of God and being in the image of God, we can think and we can choose and we have feelings. That we have purpose, that we have meaning, that there is a beginning and there’s an end.
That life and eternity, in fact in Ecclesiastes, eternity has been set in our heart. That sense of “ought.” That sense of “should.” That sense of right and wrong that led C.S. Lewis to trust in Christ. That he saw everywhere.
That sense, in every culture everywhere that had a god and a right and a wrong - where did that come from? Notice what the wisest man who ever lived wrote in Ecclesiastes 3:11. “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men, yet they cannot fathom what God has done from the beginning to the end”.
You have to make a decision. How did life begin? Evolution or creation. Why did life begin? It was an accident and a chance or God created us to enjoy fellowship with him?
Question number three: How did various plants and animals develop? The evolution’s answer is a simple cell evolved to more complex plants and animals through the process of time, chance, natural selection, mutations, and survival of the fittest over a period of billions of years.
Now, what you need to understand, because sometimes we’re pretty hard on Darwin. As you study his life, it’s 1859, he writes Origin of the Species. When Darwin looked in the microscope of his day and he looked at a cell, basically what he saw was, in the center of it, something that looked like fluid and that’s all he could see.
And so, a cell was something very, very simple. Now, what we now know, is that there is information in the DNA inside of one cell. In fact, it’s in every cell of your body and that’s why they now have all these TV shows like CSI.
Inside is this very intricate pattern, this blueprint of amazing intelligence that goes from one cell and multiplies to two and then to four and multiplies. And at certain time, you notice the skeletal system will start. No, no, no, now the endocrine system is starting here. Now the head’s formed and twenty-eight days, I think the heart and, and so it, and throughout your entire life, this information that’s built into one tiny single cell of life when an egg and a sperm meet.
If you could take a spoonful of DNA, it has more information than all the books, all the computers, and all the software that have ever been on the earth in all of time. It has more information in a spoonful of DNA. Darwin looked at it and it was just a simple cell. And so he made assumptions about that.
Now, many people thought that life could just spontaneously occur. But Louis Pasteur, interestingly, in 1860, proved that spontaneous generation, in other words, life cannot come from non-life. And this was a year after Darwin wrote what he’d written.
So we have his assumption of the simple cell, his view of life, and then Pasteur’s work. Darwin’s view also, he was pretty honest. He said, I can’t understand how the human eye works - the lenses and the optic nerve. They all have to work simultaneously so I don’t understand how they can evolve in a way that they work.
But his assumption was future scientists will learn more than I can see and they’ll figure out how this works. Little did he know that now we know that a housefly has seven thousand lenses on their eye. Talk about complexity.
There are a lot of different things that his presuppositions about a simple cell, multiplying, how it would really works, actually, that later science has disproven.
Now, what we know is we have six hundred million different species. And all that came from, the faith statement would be, from one single cell.
By contrast, Creation says, God created various plants, animals, and species in a harmonic balance to reflect His attributes and His character.
Listen to Romans 1:20,“For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities, what He’s really like, His eternal power, His divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from that which has been made so that men are without excuse”.
So, God says, I have created. When you look into the stars and the galaxies. When you go back to these ancient civilizations that are two, three, four thousand years old and they have these patterns of the sky and have calendars and…
Have you ever seen those 48 Hours or 20/20 and they go into these jungles and they have these places where these ancient civilizations have tracked the stars? Well, gosh, I guess it must be pretty consistent and orderly, huh?
The amazing ecosystems in the ocean - we’re looking at what oil does when it spills and you have bacteria that grows to algae and the whole system, God says, I created the balance, the beauty, the gravitational pulls.
You do a little study about the earth. If Jupiter wasn’t as big as Jupiter is, and the earth wasn’t the size that it was, that earth is pulled between these two huge bodies so that we keep in this rotation. And we have this unique, unique place in all the universe where life can actually happen.
God says I did all that so you would know I’m a God of wisdom, intelligence, beauty, harmony, and eternity.
In fact, long before people had telescopes, inspiration of the Spirit, the Psalmist would write, the heavens declare the glory of God. The skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech and night after night, they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
It’s an amazing thing, isn’t it? So you really have to just decide, which faith based truth or claim best answers the question, how did various plants and animals develop?
The final question in our time today, is which theory best explains the fossil record? Now, for this I want you to look at an admission that Darwin made.
Darwin, during his time, realized that this theory of it starting with one cell and the farther you would go back then in the strata, as you dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, then in different strata’s, what you should see is a record of progressive, right? Progressive, more complex animal forms over billions and billions of years.
Plants, plants, animals, animals, fish, fish, birds, reptiles, etcetera. And so Darwin’s admission was this. He says, why is there not, in geological formations, and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Because the problem is you can find different things in different places.
Now, we’ll learn in our next session, there’s something called the Cambrian Explosion that blows the whole fossil record. There’s lots of controversy here.
Because what we’ll learn a little bit later is that, there’s one little section that they found that about every level of development of life is found in one section, that’s very, very old and they’re scratching their head and going, this just doesn’t support Darwinian macro-evolution and the fossil evidence.
But at this point, Darwin is raising the question, he says well, why is it not that every geological formation and every strata doesn’t have intermediate links? This is the big criticism. If for billions of years we’ve had all these reptiles becoming fish and all these fish becoming man, and on and on and on.
Well, there ought to be an awful lot of them, that during the journey, as they went from one form to another form… you just don’t get fish then bird. Reptile then mammals.
So, where are these transitional forms? Now, I will tell you too. I’ve taught on this before and people will email me and say, well go to this website and I’ll show you pictures of them. Most of them are fabricated as in, this is what they think they are.
There have been a number of them, we’ll talk about later, that appear to be some possible transitional forms. But it was Colin Patterson, his life, he’s a paleontologist. He knows a lot more about all of this. I’m just saying, the experts are saying. These transitional forms aren’t available.
But, back to Darwin. He says, geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain. Basically Darwin is saying, look, the transitional forms aren’t there. Okay? I admit it. They should be but then notice his conclusion.
And this, perhaps, is the most obvious and serious objection, which can be urged against the theory. So he says, if you can’t find these, my whole theory kind of breaks down.
Now notice Darwin’s explanation, “The explanation lies, as I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the geological record”. Did you hear what he’s saying? He’s saying we just haven’t dug enough.
The scientists that come after me, when they do the research, I’m on the front end. I’m just checking this stuff out, when, over time, what you’ll find is, these transitional forms will be discovered.
The present state of the fossil record. We are now a hundred and twenty years after Darwin and the knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn’t changed much. We have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin’s time. And that’s by David Raup. Examples of microevolution do exist in the fossil record. But even Richard Dawkins admits in his book, The Blind Watchmaker, there are significant gaps in the fossil record.
And so, we really ask four pretty simple questions that have two alternatives.
Why did life begin? Creation or evolution? How did life begin? Creation or evolution? How did various plants and animals… single cell evolution or God creates? And then, which theory best explains the fossil record?
In summary, I believe this is where we’re at, and, we’ll pick it up in our next session. Is, Darwinian evolution does not explain how life began or the fossil record. It doesn’t explain human consciousness, rationality and morality. Where do these feelings come from? Where is this sense of ought, of right, of wrong, of purpose? And the significance of the design in the universe?
I want to close with a very poignant quote that I’d like you to ponder and think about, by Dinesh D’Souza, who actually was a writer, commentator, and did a lot of writing and then began a journey of evaluating Christianity after a very serious illness of his wife and he had an intellectual, remote belief. But he began with a very sharp mind to examine all the evidence and then all the problems with Christianity.
And his summary is this. He talks about this in his book, What’s So Great About Christianity. And he writes, “Worldview clashes. In the secular account, you are the descendant of a tiny cell, of primordial protoplasm, washed up on an empty beach three and a half billion years ago. You are a mere grab-bag of atomic particles. A conglomeration of genetic substance. You exist on a tiny planet in a minute solar system in an empty corner of a meaningless universe. You came from nothing and you are going nowhere. Those are the logical conclusions of Darwinian macro-evolution.
In the Christian view, by contrast, you are the special creation of a good and all-powerful God. You are the climax of His creation. Not only is your kind unique but you are unique among your kind. Your creator loves you so much and so intensely that He desires your companionship and affection, that He gave the life of His only Son that you might spend eternity with Him."