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About this series
Why I Believe
Straight Answers to Honest Questions about God, the Bible, and Christianity
When asked why you believe what you believe, how do you respond? Do you wish you'd paid more attention in Sunday school? Are you able to engage in thoughtful conversation, or do you become defensive? Why I Believe is a series designed to equip you with a simple, winsome approach to explaining why you believe what you believe about issues like: Jesus' resurrection, the authenticity of the Bible, life after death, the reality of heaven and hell, the validity of creation vs. evolution, and the God of the Bible, being the one and only, true God. Chip explains we can actually know the truth, and we can communicate the truth in a way that engages people rather than putting them off. There's solid evidence to satisfy the heart and mind of anyone honestly seeking answers. If you or someone you know has genuine questions about issues at the core of human existence, Why I Believe is an excellent resource. ACSI approvedMore from this series
A few years ago, we had a little Bible study in our home. It was called Love, Sex, and Lasting Relationships. My daughter was a young professional at the time and she invited a number of her friends.
And I’ll never forget the young man who came. He was a scientist from Stanford – PhD. And he was late twenties and really bright, really smart. And he didn’t have much of a social life. He had been in school for a long time.
And so, after the Bible study that he was invited to, he was sort of skeptic but just came. We had a conversation. You know one of those where you get into the kitchen and leaning against the counter? And he said, “I just want to thank you for opening your home and the people were really warm and, wow, this is a really neat relational time. But I just have to tell you, I don’t have any room for God in my life because I am a scientist.”
And I began to question him, I said, “Well, what do you mean?” “Well, they are mutually exclusive. If I’m going to be a scientist, there’s no room for God.” And that started us on a conversation, because I have heard that a lot. I have heard from a lot of people that science and religion, there’s a dichotomy. It’s a false dichotomy.
And what we are going to talk about in our time now is why I believe in creation. In fact, it’s even bigger than that. I really want to talk about why I believe in God. And I want to share maybe some of the things I shared with that young scientist, some things that opened his eyes and caused him to question some of his presuppositions.
Because at the end of the day, what we have is this amazing place we call “earth.” And it has beauty and order and design. And scientists tell us that Jupiter is so big, it pulls all those big rocks away and the sun is here and Jupiter is there and the earth is in this orbit.
And the moon is exactly the right size so that there’s a tilt of the earth and we are just far enough away from the sun where we don’t get too hot and we don’t get too cold and they tell us that we are in this very special, little band where life can exist.
And in our day, science would say that by random chance, from a single cell over billions of years, evolution, that is how all that we see came into existence.
On the other hand, religion would say there is a personal God who is all-knowing, all-powerful who loves mankind and created this beauty as a reflection of who He is and it’s a testimony to Him and He wants a personal relationship and fellowship with every person.
Now, we are living in a day where your worldview will determine how you do everything. There are huge implications to whether we believe we are the product of random chance or whether, in fact, we are a creation by the infinite and personal God.
Now, here’s a little disclaimer. This is the most challenging message in this entire series. The volume of material is overwhelming. I actually have done this before with two almost full-hour messages. I eventually took all of that and I put into the book, Why I Believe.
So, here’s what I want you to know. If you’re a sports fan, you didn’t have time to watch the game, you go to ESPN and you see the highlights, right? Or you’ve got a big business meeting and they say, “Hey, you need to read this business book,” and it’s three hundred pages, and you get the executive summary, right?
Go onto Amazon, thirty pages, you read it, you get the net-net. That’s what I’m going to give you. Because we don’t have time to dig in at a level in all the different new scientific discoveries. And I’m not an authority. I’m a pastor. I have done a lot of research.
What I want to do is introduce you to what the real issues are. What I want you to do is begin to think and to ponder: what do you actually believe? And I want to give you some resources to move and dig in deeper and then ask this question: how does this frame your worldview? What are your kids learning? What are your grandkids learning? And what information are you giving them?
Because I will tell you that in the public schools, the random chance evolution story is not taught as a theory. It is taught as an absolute fact. And here’s what I want to say before we get going. The theory of evolution or let’s just call it the theory of creation are both faith propositions.
And what I mean by that is this: the scientific method requires that you observe things. No one observed how the earth came into existence. No one did repeatable tests. We have an hypothesis. What evolution does is take a theory and a hypothesis and it takes all the different factors with that presupposition, by faith, and it interprets them according to that.
Those of us that believe in Scripture look at the earth and the beauty and the order and the revelation of God and by faith we believe God created things.
So, what I want you to know, first and foremost, it’s not about facts and empirical data and science over here – brain; and over here religious people with heart.
Both are faith propositions. So, what’s the fundamental question? Here it is. Is it intellectually feasible to believe that the God of the Bible created the world, the universe, and all living things or is atheistic evolution that is taught in our public schools the scientific fact that is empirical, logical, proven means of how life came into existence?
Well, let’s define our terms before we get too far along. When we use the word “evolution,” there’s microevolution and there’s macroevolution. Everyone believes – microevolution is change within a species. In other words, there’s lots of different kinds of dogs, or bacteria can mutate. No one argues that there’s modifications and small mutations.
What macroevolution teaches is there’s vertical change. In other words, at some time billions and billions of years ago there was one, single cell that miraculously somehow began to have life and that single cell went from bacteria all the way up through all the various phylum until you have birds and reptiles and animals and apes and then all the way to mankind.
So, what we want to understand is evolution says this, creation says there’s a personal, infinite God who is loving and kind, who has made man in His image, and He has created all that there is for His glory and for mankind’s good.
Now, when you think about that, what you also need to understand is that the world has changed a lot since probably a lot of you learned this in school. Yes, the Scripture says that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The Scripture also says that, “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of creation. For in Him, Jesus, all things were created, things in heaven and things in earth – visible and invisible. Whether thrones or dominions or powers or rulers, all things were created by Him and for Him.”
The creation and evolution debate has been going on for over a hundred years. And currently, there are about four major positions that I want you to understand. Because when I grew up, there were just two. There was you believe in God and creation or you believe in evolution.
Now, here’s what you need to understand: there is Macro Darwinian Evolution. Right? Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan, Bill Nye. The guys that say: this is the only option. If you don’t believe this, you’re an anti-intellectual.
But now there are some new voices, things that I didn’t know about until I did my research in the last few years. Michael Behe in the classic book Darwin’s Black Box, where he challenges the very foundation of evolution, because when he looks inside the chemical reactions in a single cell.
Or Michael Denton – he says, “Evolution, it’s a theory in crisis.” Now, I’m not saying these people are Christians. What I’m saying is, there’s a whole group of scientists – some are agnostic, some have some faith, some have zero faith. And what they are saying is, “We are looking at the evidence and Macro Darwinian Evolution, with the new sciences, simply doesn’t hold up.”
But there’s a third group that didn’t used to exist as well. These are Theistic Evolutionists. These are scientists that are very committed Christians who are tying together the evolutionary process with a serious approach to the Bible.
You have Keith Miller and then probably the most famous of all is Francis Collins, and he wrote the classic book, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. Now, you’ll know him as the one who headed the Human Genome project and very, very interesting story. I’ll tell you a little bit more about him later.
But he’s a guy that had a PhD and while he was doing his PhD, he had an experience that changed the course of his life. I’ll tell you about that a little bit later.
The fourth is intelligent design. This is an eclectic group of some Christians, some atheists, some agnostics. But they look at DNA, they look at the most recent science, and they just come to one conclusion. They don’t say, “This is necessarily God,” but what they say is, “Things are too complex. The design is too magnificent to be happening by simply random chance. There had to be a designer.”
And this group is made up of a very eclectic group of people. This is some of the hardcore atheists. For example, you have someone like Francis Crick who helped discover DNA. He was asked about DNA and he said, “Could this possibly happen by random chance?” His answer was, “No chance whatsoever.”
Now, he admits that he went into science for a very special reason. It was a religious reason. But his religious reason was all the things that people couldn’t explain, he said get assigned to religion and my goal was to explain all of them to completely get rid of religion.
Now, he has a cohort named Weinstein. And Weinstein made the same commitment. He says, “My goal in science was to do simply one thing: eliminate and liberate people from religion.” What you need to hear, okay? There’s a lot of facts, there’s a lot of science – here’s what you need to hear. The world is not these objective, empirical scientists and these religious people over here.
The world is filled with people that have faith, that have presuppositions, that have wounds in their past and hurts in their past and had this information given to them or this information given to them and they have made a faith choice about what they are going to believe.
And what I want you to know is those are the four general positions. But the two big ones that I want to ask and answer, just some fundamental questions, just a top-level view is this: Macro Darwinian Evolution versus Classic Creation from the Bible. Let’s ask some basic questions and then you decide: what do you really believe?
Because I grew up in a house where my dad was a science teacher, we went to a cultural church, we didn’t read the Bible, and on the one hand, we would just talk about life and metaphysics and that we believed in God and prayed when someone went to the hospital.
And on the other hand, my dad’s a science teacher teaching evolution, and we had this dichotomy of thoughts that absolutely didn’t add up and we lived as though it really didn’t matter.
I have a sneaking suspicion that many of you are living the same way and your kids are getting filled with one set of a faith belief and thinking that the only people that exercise faith are religious people when, in fact, everyone exercises faith.
The question is: in what and why? So, let’s jump in and look at some of the real basic questions and you’ll notice that I put up a quick chart for you in terms of looking at those four positions that will allow you to see that in a snapshot.
Okay, are we ready? Scientists are now looking at facts that are changing their worldview. As biochemist, Michael Denton said in his book Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, listen to this a non-Christian. “Evolution’s intellectual foundations have steadily been eroding. Biology’s new findings are bringing us very near to a formal, logical disapproval of Darwinian claims.” Denton believes Darwin’s claims that all life evolved from one cell can’t be supported by the evidence in fossils, embryology, taxonomy, or molecular biology.
In addition, Nobel Laureate Francis Crick proposed that the problems of life randomly originating on earth are so great that life must have arisen from another planet and been transferred here.
With that, let’s jump into the basic questions of: how did we get here? Who made us? What do we believe? And why?
So, question number one: how did life begin? Option one: evolution is taught in mainstream America according to the Association of Biology Teachers. Evolution answers this: life’s beginning was unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable, and natural process. The beginning of life was random, undirected without either plan or purpose.
Option two is: creation as defined by the Bible. God spoke, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” And so, all of us have two options. Was it a material, random chance? Undirected? All the things that you see, there’s some matter and it just got here from one cell. Or, is there an infinite, personal God who spoke it into existence?
Let’s analyze both premises and see which one makes the most sense. It takes faith to believe that a single cell, over billions of years could produce everything that we see. And it takes faith to believe that what this book says about a personal Creator brought everything into existence that we see. My question is: what do you believe?
Nehemiah would write, “You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens and the highest heavens and all their starry hosts, the earth and all that is in it, the sea and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship You.” The Bible is very clear that God is the Creator and the Author of all life.
Question number two, then, is why did life begin? Classic Evolution’s response to this is: it began as a pure accident. It’s a random chance. The earth exists because at a certain time in a certain way all the right conditions over billions and billions of years, there was no plan, no meaning, no emotions, no value. It just popped into existence.
Here’s what I want you to get. These aren’t little questions. They frame your worldview. Everyone is operating on the basis of faith. If it’s random chance, you need to understand your life has no meaning. You have no future. There is no real beginning; there is no end. There is no eternal life. There is no right and there is no wrong. That’s the logical deduction from Macro Darwinian Evolution.
Option number two is Creation. By contrast, you are a special creation of a good and all-powerful God. You are the climax of His creation. You were made to be loved. You have a design. You are unique. God has a purpose for your life. He has set you on this earth. There is a heaven; there is a future. He made you for Himself. You are the absolute most beautiful, magnificent creation of all that He has made. Of all the billions of stars you, in fact, as a human being, you can choose.
The writer of Ecclesiastes would say, “He has made everything beautiful in its time, He has also set eternity in the human heart, yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
Everyone is operating on the basis of faith. If it’s random chance, you need to understand your life has no meaning.
Option number two is Creation. By contrast, you are a special creation of a good and all-powerful God. You are the climax of His creation. Of all the billions of stars you, in fact, you can choose, you can feel, you can act, you can think, you’re actually made in the image of God. You have self-awareness.
The writer of Ecclesiastes would say, “He has made everything beautiful in its time, He has also set eternity in the human heart, yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
It was C.S. Lewis who talked about this ought or should that every human being has in your heart. It’s this sense that this is right and this is wrong that makes us different than all the other animals. And, in fact, Mere Christianity is what Francis Collins was reading.
He was making his rounds and he had all this intellect. He had a PhD over here, he’s now a medical doctor, he’s making his rounds. And as he was making all of his rounds, he met people that were dying. And he kept meeting people of faith that had this peace and this certainty, and the way they responded.
And he said, “There was one particular patient who was dying and he kept pressing me, ‘What do you believe? What do you believe?’” And he said, “Basically, I had rejected religion and I thought it was people just asking God and it was a crutch. But I just couldn’t get away from this man’s life. And he gave me a copy of Mere Christianity. As I read Mere Christianity,” despite all of his intellect, he said, “It made sense. I realized there was something more than just random chance.”
And then he talks about the power of creation. And he says, “I remember one morning wrestling with all of this and I was out in a meadow and it was breathtakingly beautiful,” right? This is Romans chapter 1. The creation screams of the character of God. His invisible attributes are screaming about His power, His eternality, His love, His purpose.
And Francis Collins says, “I knelt down in the grass in that dew and I received Jesus as my Savior. He would go on after that to discover the gene that causes cystic fibrosis and then become a leading scientist and then, of course, write that classic book The Language of God.
What I want you to see is that this so much more than just facts and figures. It’s about: what do you believe? What is your faith proposition? Why do you believe what you believe? Or have you unconsciously, as many of us have I think in Christian circles, basically had a compartment over here of science and a compartment of religion and pretended that they don’t connect?
The fact of the matter is, your morals, your values, your purpose, what you teach your kids, how you live your life is fundamentally goes back to: do you believe in a Creator that has a purpose where there is meaning? Or do you believe that you are a product of random chance?
And those two worldviews and the multiple worldviews that flow out of each – they are at war. They are at war in the world.
Question number three is: how did the various plants and animals develop? According to Classic Evolution, one simple cell slowly evolved into more complex plants and animals through a process of time, chance, natural selection, mutation, and survival of the fittest. That was what Darwin would write in Origin of the Species.
And he believed in spontaneous generation. What I mean by that is at that time, Darwin believed that just life could happen – a chemical soup.
Well, a year later, 1860, Louis Pasteur proved that spontaneous regeneration was absolutely impossible.
The Scripture, by contrast, says, “Where did they come from?” “For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power, His divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from that which He made so that people are without excuse.”
God made plants and animals and species and stars and He made them all to reflect His glory and His character.
Long before there were these amazing telescopes and before we put that Hubble out there and we could see into galaxies, the Scripture declares, “The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech. Night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words, no sound is heard from them, yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the earth.”
You have to ask yourself: what is the best explanation for all the things that we see? One of the things I like to do, actually, I do it nearly every morning. I’m actually very disappointed when they are not there. I guess they are really there.
I get up early, I get a cup of coffee, I feed the dog – that’s my assignment from my wife. And then I walk outside and every morning I look up at the stars. And there is just something about remembering how small and how finite we are and how big God is and I’ve done enough research that I know that I’m just with my eye looking at a tiny part of the Milky Way and the Milky Way has somewhere between one hundred to two hundred billion stars.
And what I know is outside the Milky Way, there’s another one hundred to two hundred billion galaxies! And what God’s Word says, He says that, “I spoke that and I hold it by the Word of My power,” and that God also says, “Chip,” and to every human being, “I have placed My affection on you. You matter. I love you. I am for you.”
And when I look up at those stars, that passage from Psalm 19 comes to mind. You know what I think? I think that’s a big and He can handle all my problems. That’s a big God that is sovereign over all the issues that we are facing politically and racially and things that are happening around the world.
That’s a God that I can put my trust in. And as I have claimed His promises, a faith statement, I have watched Him deliver and you have too. But what I want to ask you is: are you communicating that kind of faith and what those stars mean to your kids? Is that making it into the worldview of education of how you are teaching your kids or your grandkids or your nephews?
See, this message is not so much about: are we going to understand everything about evolution and creation? It’s much more about: what are you going to do with the fact that if you do believe that God created you, what are the implications for your life, for your worldview, for how you live, for where your kids are educated, for what you teach them?
I hope you are getting that when you compare and contrast these basic questions, it’s pretty amazing.
Now I want to jump into those aspects that are a bit technical and very enlightening. When Darwin looked into a microscope, because he only had one that would multiply what he saw by maybe two or three hundred x.
Today, we have microscopes that multiply them – electron microscopes – way, way more. So, when he looked into the center of a cell, he saw just a membrane and he thought it was very simple. In fact, that’s what he called it. And there wasn’t much in there.
And his whole philosophy was that it’s very simple and it goes to complex. And what has been the core behind, especially non-Christian scientists challenging Darwin, is they now can look inside that cell. It’s anything but simple. We now have microscopes that are super complex, some cells – are you ready? are so small that you can fit one hundred and fifty cells just on the tip of a strand of hair. It’s unbelievable.
Molecular scientists describe a single cell – are you ready? as a high-tech factory. They are complex with artificial languages and decoding systems. They have a central memory bank that store and retrieve impressive amounts of information. They have precise control systems that regulate automatically in assembling and components and parts.
What is happening inside of a cell is what led the Michael Behes of the world and the Michael Dentons of the world to say, “This simply can’t happen by random chance.”
Cells also have a system that replicate. You understand, it’s not just the size of the cell and the complexity of the cell, it’s the actual DNA in the cell. And if I could fill just a tablespoon with DNA, there’s enough information there for all the species for all the planet that has ever lived.
In fact, expert in DNA, world class, Dr. Robert Shapiro was asked what he thought the chances were that DNA could have been formed by a random process.
His answer: none. It’s absolute nonsense. The genius and the complexity of a single cell in DNA challenge the very core and the presuppositions of classic evolutionary thought.
In fact, so much so, we heard earlier about – remember Anthony Flew? He was the most famous atheist. At eighty-four years old, near the time of his death, he did something that you almost never hear. He renounced his atheism. Now, to be fair, because I think sometimes we Christians want to read into things and make it sound a little bit better to support our position.
He did not become a Christian. But what he said was after fifty years of looking at the science, especially DNA, he could not believe any longer that life occurred without an intelligent designer.
Now, he didn’t come to believe that Jesus was that intelligent designer, but think of what the facts are doing, even among agnostics and atheists.
Now let’s turn our attention from what’s amazingly small to what is amazingly big. Albert Einstein published his equation on general relativity in 1915. And a Dutch astronomer, Willem de Sitter discovered a solution that predicted an expanding universe. The importance of these discoveries show that the world and the universe was expanding.
Here’s the deal: if galaxies were moving farther and farther apart, the implication was they were once closer together. From this realization, Hubble went one step farther and he laid the foundation for the Big Bang theory, providing evidence that the universe exploded into existence with a furious burst of energy and has been expanding ever since. It was a shattering blow to centuries’ old notion of a static universe.
The theory of an expanding universe was consistent with Einstein’s theory, but it wasn’t accepted early by scientists. And they were very honest about it. They just said, “We understand if we actually believe there was a beginning, we could be in trouble in terms of our faith assumptions about random chance and there is no god.”
Robert Jastrow, an American astronomer and a planetary physicist argued that the reason that scientists were slow to accept the Big Bang, because if it was true, it would imply a moment of creation.
In an interview with Christianity Today, this scientist said, “Astronomers now find themselves painted into a corner, because they have proven by their own methods that the word began abruptly in an act of creation, to which they could trace the seeds of every star, every planet, every living thing in the cosmos and on earth. And they have found that this all happened as a product of forces they can’t hope to discover, that there are what I and anyone would have to say is a supernatural force at work and I think a scientifically proven fact.”
And then in his book, God and the Astronomers, Jastrow says, “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; and as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”
To be fair, the Big Bang does not disprove classic evolution, but it strongly argues for a specific moment in time.
What I want you to know is that we could go on and on with more and more scientific discoveries. We could look at Darwinian Evolution and ask ourselves some basic questions like: what were the social implications? I alluded to Nazi Germany. Huxley would say that, actually, “I’m so thankful for Darwin because whether I believe it or not, it gave me moral license to live any way I want apart from God.”
Another great scientist said, “Darwinian Evolution is the engine of atheism.” Here’s what you need to understand: your worldview really matters. You have two great options with a few that are developing on either side, but your options are this: do you believe that life is a result of a single cell, random chance, no plan? That you, in fact, and all the world is the product of billions of years of chemical reactions? And all the logical implications?
Or do you believe that there is a personal God that made you and made everyone, that every single person, those that you disagree with, those that are different, those who believe different, they are made in the image of God? God created them and He loves them and He calls you and He calls me to treat them with dignity, that there is no room for prejudice, there is no room for all the kind of things that mankind has done for one another, because the infinite, personal God has made all of us and He has created us for Himself.
And here’s my question: do you honestly believe with your life, not just in your head, that God created all that there is and are you teaching your children and your grandchildren the worldview that, by faith, flows out of that?
Are you willing to spend some time and say, “Science is great. There is no dichotomy. God created it all.” Would you introduce them to some great Christian scientist? Would you be willing to have a dialogue and talk about evolution, not like you’re afraid or intimidated.
What I can tell you is brilliant people, Christian and non-Christian, are not buying evolution. So, you’re not a minority and you’re not anti-intellectual. What I want you to know is that I have confidence and I believe that God has spoken. And I believe when I look at all the questions that my intellect is intact. I have not thrown my brains in the trash.
If you want to get more specific information and dig in a little bit deeper, I have all this in my book Why I Believe.
Father, I pray now that we would grasp the implications of what it means that You made us, that You are the Creator, that there is purpose and meaning, that there is life eternal, that every, single person matters; that the sunsets that we see, that when we hold a new baby in our arms, when we look into the eyes of someone that we love that it’s not some chemical reaction, it is the reality of being made in the image of God and having the capacity to love and to be loved.
Lord, I pray that for my brothers and sisters. I pray that we would be bold and we would enter the public square winsomely, kindly, and completely not afraid. In Jesus’ name, amen.