Evolution from a biological perspective
As a student of the last year of college one of my subject is Biology
and all the relevant information is about evolution. Could you help
me to evaluate this topic according with the christian point of view?
The first order of business is to find out which sort of evolution you
are referring to. There are four basic categories:
1. Everything that has happened to the universe from the moment
of inception on, including all life on earth and any anywhere
2. All of life on earth including abiogenesis.
3. All of life on earth Excluding abiogenesis (which is simply
left as a question mark)
4. A simple change in allele frequency over time (this is so
broad as to include the differences in the children in one family.)
Absolutley NO ONE who is the least knowledgeable in biology
or genetics denies #4. Allele frequencies in populations change
over time. That is an established fact. It is also obvious morphologically!
The question is whether or not this kind of simple variation,
with or without mutations, can lead to the sort of changes that
eventually produced a bear from a bacteria (use that allegorically,
not literally, please).
The Bible says no. Genesis says quite specifically that God
created the plants and animals by kind and that they were to reproduce
according to kind. That is consistent with what we see today.
Can one consider Genesis allegorically? No, I don't think so.
It is not presented that way. The entire book, including Genesis
1 and 2, is presented as eyewitness accounts, actually, and although
they contain elements we may not understand, those elements are
not mythological or presented as anything remotely resembling
The Bible says God created life 'ex nihilo' or 'out of nothing.'
The verb 'bara' is used three separate times in Genesis 1, as
a matter of fact. By itself, it can mean both 'created from nothing'
or 'formed.' However, when used in contradistinction to another
verb in the same writing which soley means 'formed,' then 'bara'
by necessity means 'created from nothing.' That is precisely what
we see in Genesis 1. The verb 'asah' means 'formed' or 'made.'
It is used most of the time. However there are three times when
'bara' is used.
Genesis 1:1 -- the creation ex nihilo of the entire time/space/mass
continuum. Genesis 1:21 -- the creation of the large animals of
the sea and sky (because their bodies are made of the same elements
as all the rest of mass, many consider 'bara' used here to be
the creation ex nihilo of mental awareness, referred to as 'nephesh'
in the Bible, or 'soul' or 'the breath of life.') Genesis 1:27
-- the creation of man. Because man also had a body of the same
elements as the rest of creation, as well as a soul, 'bara' must
refer to something else. Man is created in the image of God --
man is essentially a spiritual creature with a soul living in
So the Bible indicates not evolution, but creation from nothing
of three separate components of life as we see it.
The order of evolution, on a cosmic scale, is also different
from the order of creation as described by Genesis 1. Plants,
in Genesis, come before the formation of the sun and moon. This
does not work well with evolution, to put it mildly! Genesis also
lists birds as being created before the land animals. This also
does not work with evolution. In trying to smash evolution and
the Bible together, theistic evolutionists do no harm to evolution,
but smash the Bible to shreds!
Since you are in biology, let's get a little deeper there.
Evolution stands on four legs: time, chance, mutations, and natural
selection. Here is a bit from an email I wrote earlier this year
to another college student on this:
1. TIME. There are two parts to the time question, both of
which destroy the concept of evolution happening. First of all,
what we see happening with time is the disintegration and disorganization
of things, whether it's bicycles, bodies, or rocks. Things simply
do not become more complex and organized through time without
intelligent care and intervention. That is what we see. If time
ever behaved differently in this area, we have no way of knowing.
We live with what is referred to as 'time's arrow.' All arrows
shot from the bow arc toward earth -- they go downhill. That is
what we see.
The second argument regarding time has to do with biology itself.
Evolutionists estimate that it took about one billion years for
the first unicellular organism to mutate into some kind of multicellular
organism with different cells, or specialized cells. Today, one
of our 'primitive' cells, the E.coli bacteria, only needs about
twenty minutes from the time it is formed from a 'parent' cell
until it, itself, becomes a 'parent' cell. This is called 'generation
time.' A lot of organisms seem to have a generation time of about
a year, in timing with the seasons. Birds are that way. They are
hatched one year and ready to be parents the next. Many mammals,
especially, have longer generation times. An ape's is about ten
years. Humans are about 14 or 15 minimum for the most part.
Now, follow this through. Let's give that first unicellular
organism three times as long as today's E.coli bacteria. That's
one generation every hour. That's 24 a day, 8,760 a year, or 8,760,000,000,000
or 8.7 TRILLION generations just to get from one cell to several
differentiated cells for an organism. 8.7 trillion generations
for something with a generation time of one year means evolution
just ran out of time. And the mutations required for a bacteria
to become a fish, or a fish to become an ape are enormously more
than for one cell to become several.
2. CHANCE. One of the best chance arguments I know was summarized
by Ashby Camp in his book, "The Myth of Natural Origins,";
which he allowed us to web here: http://www.carm.org/evolution/evodds.htm
3. MUTATIONS. Aside from Ashby's argument above, there is more
to be concerned about with mutations. They are changes in the
genetics of organisms which are already doing well! That means
they have to be destructive changes, for the most part, simply
as a matter of logic. And that is precisely what we find. About
a year ago, National Geographic had an article on mutations and
on one page made a SHORT list of known mutatons which cause damage
just in the human being. Here it is, from p. 51 of the October
1999 issue. Evolutionists tell us that the good mutations survive
because the damaging mutations are weeded out by natural selection.
However, I have never seen or been aware of a list of good mutations.
The following is a list of known results of damaging mutations
on various chromosomes.
Chromosome 1 -- malignant melanoma -- prostate cancer -- deafness
Chromosome 2 -- congenital hypothyroidism -- colorectal cancer
Chromosome 3 -- susceptibility to HIV infection -- small-cell
lung cancer -- dementia
Chromosome 4 -- Huntington's Disease -- polycystic kidney disease
Chromosome 5 -- spinal muscular atrophy -- endometrial carcinoma
Chromosome 6 -- hemochronatosis -- dyslexia -- schizophrenia
-- myoclonus epilepsy -- estrogen resistance
Chromosome 7 -- Growth hormone deficient dwarfism -- pregnancy-induced
hypertension -- cystic fibrosis -- severe obesity
Chromosome 8 -- hemolytic anemia -- Burkitt's lymphoma
Chromosome 9 -- dilated cardiomyopathy -- fructose intolerance
Chromosome 10 -- congenital cataracts -- late onset cockayne
Chromosome 11 -- sickle cell anemia -- albinism
Chromosome 12 -- inflammatory bowel disease -- rickets
Chromosome 13 -- breast cancer, early onset -- retinoblastoma
-- pancreatic cancer
Chromosome 14 -- leukemia/ T-cell lymphoma -- goiter
Chromosome 15 -- Marfan's syndrome -- juvenile epilepsy
Chromosome 16 -- polycystic kidney disease -- familial gastric
cancer -- Tuberous sclerosis-2
Chromosome 17 (done in detail as an example)
RP13 -- retinitis pigmentosa CTAA2 -- cataract SLC2A4 -- diabetes
susceptibility TP53 -- cancer MYO15 -- deafness PMP22 -- Charcot-Marie-Tooth
neuropathy COL1A1 -- osteogenesis imperfecta; osteoporosis SLC6A4
-- anxiety-related personality traits BLMH -- Alzheimer's disease
susceptibility NF1 -- neurofibromatosis RARA -- leukemia MAPT
-- dementia SGCA -- muscular dystrophy BRCA1 -- breast cancer;
ovarian cancer PRKCA -- pituitary tumor MPO -- yeast infection
susceptibility GH1 -- growth hormone deficiency DCP1 -- myocardian
infarction susceptibility SSTR2 -- small-cell lung cancer
Chromosome 18 -- diabetes mellitus -- familial carpal tunnel
Chromosome 19 -- myotonic dystrophy -- malignant hyperthermia
Chromosome 20 -- isolated growth hormone deficiency -- fatal
familial insomnia -- Creutzfeldt-Jakob's disease
Chromosome 21 -- autoimmune polyglandular disease -- amyotrophic
Chromosome 22 -- Ewing's sarcome -- giant-cell fibroblastoma
X Chromosome -- colorblindness -- mental retardation -- gout
-- hemophilia -- male pseudohermaphroditism
Y Chromosome -- gonadal dysgenesis
Mitochondrial DNA -- Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy --
diabetes and deafness -- myopathy and cardiomyopathy -- dystonia
The second thing that might be noted about mutations is that
we have not yet, ONE TIME, seen one mutation building on another,
even in a bacteria! Mutations act independently and we have not
seen an example ever of a mutation depending on the existence
of another mutation in order to happen. Yet this is exactly what
evolution demands -- that slowly, through time, mutations add
up, one on another, to produce a new form or function.
4. NATURAL SELECTION. Natural selection is the idea that some
animals die and some live because of environmental pressures.
I don't think anyone disputes that this happens. But natural selection,
far from being a process which develops forms of life, is actually
a process which destroys them, leaving the survivors to do the
best they can. The surviving group then has less information in
the population's entire gene pool and so it cannot produce as
much variation -- which is what is needed to help it through the
next environmental crisis. When a species has lost the ability
to vary enough to survive through changing times, we refer to
that species as endangered or, if it is too late, extinct. Natural
selection is actually a process of killing off. And it cannot
'select' from what is not already there. So natural selection
is really of no help to evolution if a person looks at it straight
So, actually, one does not need the Bible or Christianity at
all to confront Darwinism. It fails on its own. Which is in complete
accord with the Bible!
Here are some good links for you:
-- Andrew Snelling, in Brisbane, does excellent work in geology
-- Dave Plaisted's page
-- Jon Covey's
-- Tim Wallace's True Origins page
-- Access Research Network (the intelligent design group -- not
all are Christian, but the material is excellent)
I hope that helps. God bless.
The Paraclete Forum
October 4, 2000