I wasn't raised in a Christian home, and, by nature, I'm a skeptic. When I became a Christian in college, I made a commitment that I would not throw my brains in the trash to follow after God. This led me on a journey to research "why" I believe, and how my beliefs hold up under intellectual, philosophical, and historical scrutiny.
One of the core issues of my faith is my belief in creation. Let's explore some of the research together. The theory of creation is simply the belief that God created all things out of nothing- all of life in its rich complexity happened as the result of the all-powerful, all-knowing, sovereign God of the universe who is maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible by the Word of His power.
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Creation is described in Genesis 1:1-5
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light ‘day,’ and the darkness he called ‘night.’ And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.”
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As Christians, it is our duty to educate ourselves and understand 5 key things about creation:
Christians needs to be informed about the Creation V. Evolution Debate
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What I want to you to understand is that the Creation vs. Evolution debate has taken some major turns in the last few decades. Some scientists who don’t necessarily believe in God are major critics of classic Darwinian Evolution. Nearly as surprising are Christians who do not see a contradiction between Evolution and Christian teaching on Creation from the Bible.
Perhaps the following options will help you visualize the current state of the debate.
The Origin and Development of Life
(The literal biblical account)
(God supervised Evolution)
(A designer of some kind)
(Random chance and natural selection)
Historically, there are two main options—Classic Creationism and Classic Darwinian Evolution. Although it is important to know the distinctions within these two broad views, the man on the street and/or the student in the classroom is taught evolution as a fact and creationism as an anti-intellectual, non-scientific, religious crutch.
What is the fundamental question in the middle of the debate?
At the core of the debate between creationism and evolution is one question: Is it intellectually feasible to believe that the God of the Bible created the world, the universe, and all living things? Or is classic atheistic evolution as taught in our schools a scientific fact that has empirically and logically been proven by means of the scientific method? Is life the product of a purely material universe that came into being by random chance or accident? The implications of this question are huge.
Understand the Creationist position on the Complexity of Life
The crux of the argument for both evolution and creation seems to rest on the idea of complexity of life. Evolution views the complexity of life as a result of billions of years of adaption and that living things have moved from simple to complex in order to survive. Creation views the complexity of life as evidence of an all-knowing Creator.
Scientists are looking at the facts and allowing what they find to change their worldview. Many are beginning to see a theory that’s been biased for years. The more scientists learned about DNA and the amazing intricacy inside a human cell, questions challenging evolution began to surface. Biochemist and agnostic, Michael Denton said in his book, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, that Evolution’s intellectual foundations have been steadily eroding. Biology’s new findings are bringing us very near to a formal, logical disproval of Darwinian claims. Denton believes Darwin’s claim that all life evolved from one cell can’t be supported by evidence found in fossils, embryology, taxonomy, and molecular biology.
How and why did life begin?
Question 1: How did life begin?
Creation’s answer is that in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1).
You have two options when you look at all of life’s order, design, and beauty. One, that everything we see was the result of random chance and random material over billions of years. There was no design, no purpose and no intelligence that caused that single cell to burst forth into life. It takes faith to believe that all of life’s order was birthed out of a random moment, and faith to assume how the raw material came to be.
It also takes faith to believe in the second option, that in the beginning God spoke and He created. It takes faith to believe what we read in scripture, namely that the harmony, beauty, and the complexity of the universe is a reflection of the character of an all-knowing, all-powerful Creator God.
Question 2: Why did life begin?
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.”
Scripture teaches that God made man in his own image to share fellowship with him, to glorify him, and to steward the earth. “So God created man in His own image. In the image of God, he created him, male and female, he created them. Then God blessed them and he said, be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. He told them to rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground” (Genesis 1:27-28).
God wants you to examine both sides fully and decide for yourself what you believe
As a Christian, you can be told what you should believe and why. But, we need to decide for ourselves what we truly believe and that begins with educating ourselves on both sides
We need to be thinking Christians. The Bible commands us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our MIND (Luke 10:27). We need to learn how to think and follow God with our minds. Darwinian evolution is a faith construct, not a scientific fact.
People like to think they are objective, but no one is purely objective. We all have presuppositions. As followers of Christ, we have presuppositions that lead us to believe certain truths by faith and look at evidence through a particular lens. Others may have a presupposition that came from a lack of faith, or out of woundedness or bad experiences with God, church, and Christians. All of us view scientific data through our presuppositional lenses.
So, how about you? What do you really believe and why? Who are you afraid of disappointing? How fearless are you willing to be to examine all sides of this critical issue and decide for yourself?
God does not want you to throw your brains in the trash to follow Him. In fact, why not grab a cup of coffee or tea and take a moment, right now, to really ponder where you stand.
Excerpted from Why I Believe by Chip Ingram, Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, ©2017. Used by permission.
Chip Ingram is the senior pastor of Venture Christian Church in Los Gatos, California, a bestselling author and teaching pastor and CEO of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. Chip is the author of many books, including Culture Shock, The Real Heaven, The Invisible War, and Love, Sex, and Lasting Relationships. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and eleven grandchildren and live in California. For more from Chip visit Livingontheedge.org, Facebook, and Twitter.
Image courtesy: ©Thinkstock/m-gucci
Publication date: October 2, 2017