Creation vs Evolution: The Basics

Creation vs Evolution: The Basics

Unless you have been living under a rock, you will be aware of the ever growing divide between the world of science, and faith – particularly in relation to the creation versus evolution debate.

Mainstream science believes that the earth is billions of years old and has come into existence through the process of evolution, popularised by Charles Darwin. Evolution also maintains that humans have evolved from single-cell organisms to their present state: homo sapiens.

Christianity adheres to the Biblical account of creation, described in Genesis. This view maintains that the universe was created in a seven day time period and a literal reading indicates that the earth may only be 6,000 to 10,000 years old. Genesis also describes humans as having been divinely created in the image of God himself.

It is at the cross section of these two views that we, as 21st century people, find ourselves. The media has done a fantastic job of branding these two views as polar opposites, placing Christianity and science as two teams fighting within a cultural war. Recent studies indicate that most people now believe that their position on our origins is an ‘all-or-nothing’ issue. They must choose a side: Christian and creation, or non-Christian and evolution.

If this is the case, then how do we know which side we should be on? With children now being taught evolution in schools and being raised in a culture where we are encouraged to choose a side, we need to have a good understanding of this faith issue.


History of Evolution

The creation versus evolution debate is relatively recent, having began during the late 18th century in Europe and North America. When new interpretations of geological evidence began to emerge, questions were raised about the age of the earth. This drove some early ideas about evolution, including Lamarckism, which describes the idea that a cell can pass on characteristics to its offspring. By the mid-19th century, books were being written such as Robert Chambers’ “Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation” which began popularising the idea of the transmutation of species. This idea paved the way for Darwin’s theory of natural selection.

While on a voyage studying the wildlife, Charles Darwin observed the variation in the appearance of individual animals. This, he concluded, meant that with enough time, these variations in their physical appearance would look significantly different. The publication of his work “On the Origin of Species” in 1859 further popularised the theory of evolution and allowed the theory to become an entire field of study.


History of Creationism

By the early 19th century, debate had begun to develop regarding the Bible and how this should be read and interpreted. Some theologians were arguing that a less literal approach should be taken, with the focus shifting to the theological concerns presented within the Biblical accounts. With the advent of new thinking on the age of the earth, religious thinkers sought to reconcile the two ways of thinking by developing ideas such as ‘gap-creationism’.

While most 19th century scientists came to accept the theory of evolution, theologians were accepting it also, understanding it as a vehicle God had used to bring about the earth.  In the 20th century, several factors including the rise of Biblical literalism, Christian fundamentalism and the scepticism of the post-modern era led to a backlash against evolutionary ideas – parents soon began to voice concern over evolutionary teaching in schools and clergy became concerned that belief in evolution would invalidate the creation story described in the Bible.

Then 1960s saw the first major modern creationist book go to print. “The Genesis Flood: The Biblical Record and Its Scientific Implications argued for a literal reading of creation week and suggested that humanity must have co-existed with dinosaurs. These views rose in popularity, particularly in Britain and were soon the foundation for the establishment of the Institute for Creation Research which aimed to promote creationism throughout the world.

The belief held within the scientific community that evolution explains the origins of life continues to be challenged by creationists today.


The Debate

Alongside the rise of the theory of evolution on the world stage in the 19th century, was support, particularly from Christianity. The reverend Charles Kingsley of the Church of England, openly supported the theory of evolution and saw God as having worked through evolution in order to bring about the earth. Prominent botanist Asa Gray also produced an influential book explaining that religion and science were not mutually exclusive, and set forward his support for Darwin’s work. As the theory found more global support, the Catholic Church became accepting of Darwin’s ideas and more recently Pope Francis has even stated that both evolution and creation may be two halves of the same equation.

Though on some occasions faith and science have been able to see eye-to-eye, there are many points on which they have not. Creationists often feel that scientific theories are inadequate due to the processes and biases involved in developing them, while science claims that creationism is a pseudo-science, based on faith and lacking in solid evidence.

Biology often comes under significant scrutiny within the controversy between creationism and science. Within biology, human evolution is by far the most hotly debated topic as it is perceived to threaten the accounts of human creation found in the Biblical texts. Scientists argue that fossil records and DNA comparisons demonstrate the evolutionary process that the human race has undergone, having evolved from primates to humans. Creationists reject this idea, and argue that the theory of human evolution is largely based on assumptions. While science argues that all organisms (including humans) have common descent, Christianity proposes that God created different kinds (humans and different kinds of animals) at the same time, so not every organism can have a common ancestor.

Two other areas of frequent dispute are macroevolution and transitional fossils. Creationists readily accept microevolution (the idea that small evolutionary processes take place within kinds – dog breeds for instance) but reject the scientific idea of macroevolution which argues that evolution also happens on a grand scale.  Creationists also reject the existence of transitional fossils, which scientists use as evidence in the case for evolution.

Geology is another prominent area of debate within the creation versus evolution debate. Creationism maintains the position that based on the Biblical chronologies, the world cannot be older than around 6,000 years, when God created it. Science claims that the age of the earth is closer to around 4.5 billion years – a point which is rejected by creationists on the grounds that the methodology used to come to these conclusions is flawed. Creationists argue that scientific processes such as radiometric dating are unreliable, and thus cannot be used to make conclusions about the age of the earth.


How Should We Handle This?

While Christianity and creationism have often been diametrically opposed to scientific claims about the origins of the earth and humanity, we must also recognize that the world of faith and science approach these ideas with very different ways of thinking, asking fundamentally different questions about our reality. We must allow space for both science and faith to take place within us, and not continue to reinforce the dichotomy that exists between the two.

Although some Christian leaders have come forward and posited views which either accept or reject claims from the scientific community, as Christians we must have an awareness that everything depends on our creative God – and our finite, human understandings may  never be able to fully grasp how he went about his creative activity.

We must also acknowledge that while the accounts of Genesis describe the origins of our earth and of human life, it also contains writing that is beautiful, poetical and ultimately theological. While these texts may contain clues about the science behind God’s creative action, they are not designed to be a scientific manual. They are designed to provide us with a theological guide to understanding our creative God.


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8 Common Creationist Beliefs: Part Two

8 Common Creationist Beliefs: Part Two

In our last article, we discussed four of the eight most common beliefs held by those who subscribe to Creation. (You can read the article here).

In this second and final instalment, we take a look at the remaining four beliefs held by Creationists.


5. That a Global Flood Took Place

The record preserved in Genesis 6 is clear: a catastrophic event took place, which covered the entire surface of the earth, causing extinction for every land-living thing that was not on the ark.  An event such as this one is the only way to explain the peculiar location of sea fossils at heights hundreds of metres above sea level such as The Grand Canyon and The Himalayas.

Though geologists argue that rock layers were formed over millions of years, we have no witnesses that can attest to this theory. It is becoming more common now for scientists to acknowledge that sediment layers are mostly formed through a rapid deposit under circumstances such as a catastrophic flood.


 6. That Dinosaurs and Humans Co-Existed

Genesis is clear that every kind of animal created was created on the same day as Adam.

Though science tells us that dinosaurs are millions of years old and can now be seen in the evolved form of birds, God claims that he created them at the same time as he created other animals, and human life. This means that dinosaurs could not have been long extinct before humans came into being, but rather co-existed with them before becoming extinct through environmental circumstances. The presence of dragon legends all over the world recorded by humans reinforces the theory that dinosaurs were not predecessors to humans, but rather were co-inhabitants.


 7. That Every Race Originates From One Common Race

The Biblical account in both the Old and New Testament is very clear: all of humanity originated from one man and one woman. We are all members of the one race – the human race – which descended from Adam and Eve.

In popular culture we tend to think of skin as either ‘black’ or ‘white’ but in reality this is incorrect. In order for anybody’s skin to have a dark appearance, Adam and Eve must have had DNA that contained brown pigment. This means that every skin shade is derived from one shade: we are all some amount of ‘brown’.

At the scattering of Babel, different groups of people were isolated from one another and probably went onto have offspring within their own groups. This would allow for certain gene characteristics to remain within their group and concentrate into dominant genes. This explains the way in which we still see certain groups displaying distinctive characteristics in their physical appearance.


8. That Death Was Brought About Through the Fall

A common argument made by those who do not accept God is that a kind, good God would not have, or continue to, inflict death or suffering upon the world. However, creationists believe that the solution to this argument is given in Genesis where we see God create a world that is inherently good, but fractured through the rebellion and disobedience of humanity.

By the account of God’s own word, we know that these disobedient actions ushered in the existence of death and suffering. We know from Genesis 1 that after the six day creative week, God looked at his creation and acknowledged its inherent goodness.

It is true that our world is marred by death and is fundamentally broken, but we must understand that this is not through the fault of God but rather through the fault of man who broke God’s perfect creation. Creationists also acknowledge that everyone, including each person who blames God for the fractured state of the world is imperfect. Through Adam’s rebellion humanity was marred with sin. Not one of us is perfect.



Creationists believe that God created everything, knows everything and should be trusted in all matters. The alternative to trusting God is to trust imperfect, fallible humans who are just making guesswork of these important matters. We must stand confidently on the word of God as revealed through scripture.



To honour God’s creation, be sure to sign the petition to establish Creation Day as an official holiday!

In the Beginning…Dinosaurs?



People have long been fascinated with these almost mythical-like creatures that we know about, only through fossil evidence.

Shows like Walking With Dinosaurs have further driven our engrossing awe of these creatures and generations of children all over the world continue to be captivated by the mere sight of them in books, T.V. shows and museums. The 2015 movie release of Jurassic World is already set to be a box office monster, predicted to rake in over $100 million at its opening.

But how do we reconcile these enormous creatures with the biblical account of creation?


Are Dinosaurs in the Bible?

The word dinosaur wasn’t coined until the late 1840s, so it is not surprising that when we look to the bible for the word ‘dinosaur’, we will find only silence. However, we know that “In the beginning….” God created everything – including the beasts of the earth, so dinosaurs were there.

Though we cannot hit our concordance and find pages that feature ‘dinosaurs’, what we do have is references to creatures that look an awful lot like dinosaurs.

Job 40: 15-18 reads;

 “Look at Behemoth, which I made just as I made you; it eats grass like an ox.  Its strength is in its loins, and its power in the muscles of its belly. It makes its tail stiff like a cedar; the sinews of its thighs are knit together. Its bones are tubes of bronze, its limbs like bars of iron.”

The passage describes the behemoth as an herbivore with a tail like a tree and limbs like bars of iron. This is a very graphic description of an animal that sounds convincingly dinosaur-like. In Hebrew, ‘Behemoth’ translates to ‘gigantic beast’. Some argue that this passage is referring to a large land animal that we are already familiar with, such as an Elephant or Hippopotamus but neither of these animals, nor any others have a tail like a cedar. At the very least, we can conclude that the ‘behemoth’ is not a normal animal, and certainly does not describe a house cat.

As Job goes on, we are introduced to another creature that is difficult to reconcile with our modern experience: the Leviathan.

 ”Any hope of capturing it will be disappointed; were not even the gods overwhelmed at the sight of it?…No one is so fierce as to dare to stir it up. Who can stand before it? Who can confront it and be safe? —under the whole heaven, who? …I will not keep silence concerning its limbs, or its mighty strength, or its splendid frame.”

It is interesting that the Leviathan is introduced in the chapter following the entry of the behemoth. Both the creatures being introduced here are described as enormous, frightful creatures that reveal the potent capacity of God’s creative activity.

The word ‘dragon’ also appears a number of times in the Old Testament. Since there was no language to describe dinosaurs before the nineteenth century, creation scientists have come to conclude that dinosaurs were called dragons, and it is to dinosaurs, that these passages refer. A few examples include;

  • Isaiah 27:1
  • Jeremiah 51:34
  • Psalms 74:13
  • Nehemiah 2:13
  • Ezekiel 29:3

The Bible is not the only place where we can find reference to dinosaurs. Many other ancient sources mention dragons, including;

  • The Epic of Gilgamesh (dating back to 2000 BCE) features a protagonist who has to slay a dragon
  • Alexander the Great and his army reported sightings of huge hissing reptiles
  • Dragons are rife within Chinese tradition
  • England’s story of ‘St George’ revolved around a man that slew a dragon who dwelt in a cave
  • Early drawings carved on rock depict dinosaurs. The most notable are located in Angkor Wat.


What Happened to the Dinosaurs?  

From the perspective of the biblical accounts, the simplest explanation for the extinction of the dinosaurs is by attributing their demise to the flood described in Genesis 6 and 7.

Some creationists believe that dinosaurs accompanied the other animals onto the ark, but the changed environment in the post-flood world meant that they could not survive, and so they slowly died out.


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How Old is the Earth and Humankind?

How Old is the Earth and Humankind?

 What Does Science Say?

From a scientific point of view, the earth has been functioning for over four billion years. This age is based onevidence obtained from ‘radiometric age dating’ which measures radioactive decay of meteorite material and lunar samples in order to calculate a minimum age for the earth. Scientific evidence obtained from African fossils suggests that humanity, as we know it today, has only been walking the earth for around 200,000 years, making humankind a very small part, and rather late addition to, the earth’s history.


What Does the Bible Say?

If we are to pose this question from a biblical point of view, one might easily form a very different answer. The Bible describes man as having been made on the sixth day of creation. According to this account, humanity was created almost at the beginning of the earth’s timeline, rather than later. The biblical account also perceives the creation of human beings to be a significant event in the creative order, rather than an evolving afterthought. If we are to subscribe to the biblical timeline rather than the scientific timeline of evolution, we may find that our world is younger than we have been told.


Evidence for a Young Earth

Much speculation abounds regarding the age of the earth. Much of this is driven by the idea that we can gauge more reliable evidence for the age of the earth from the Bible. According to this idea, Genesis provides an accurate, reliable account of creation which sees God create the earth and humanity over a period of six 24-hour days. Creationists also claim that scientific estimations for the age of the earth are filled with flaws and errors.


Here are just a few examples of where scientific methods may be falling short;

• Dinosaur bones have been found to contain red blood cells, which could not last more than a few thousand years. This dates dinosaurs well ahead of the 65 million years ago that science typically sets them as having inhabited the earth.

• Helium is escaping into the atmosphere due to radioactive decay, but the total amount is not reconcilable with an earth age of four billion years.

• The moon is slowly withdrawing from the earth at a rate of around 4cm per year. If the moon had begun in direct contact with the earth, it would only have taken just over a billion years to reach its current distance from the earth. This gives the moon a maximum possible age that is too young to be in keeping with scientific age assumptions about the moon, and with radiometric dates assigned to moon rocks.

• Salt is filling the sea at a faster rate than it is discharging. This means the sea is not salty enough to be billions of years old.


Is the Earth be Younger Than We Thought? 

Young earth creationists acknowledge that they cannot prove the age of the earth using any scientific methods, but what they do encourage is questioning of so-called scientific ‘data’, and the reliability of scientific methods in order to produce this data. Those who advocate for a young earth recognise the limitations that dating methods have, and acknowledge that all attempts at age-dating are guesswork, at best.

What young earth creationists promote is the use biblical genealogies as a method in which to attempt to date the earth’s lifespan. Those who subscribe to this view regard the Biblical accounts as historically accurate, thus forming a reliable record that we can use to understand our earth and its story.




Studies have shown that almost half of adults living in the United States claim to hold the view that God created humanity as we know it today, within the last 10,000 years.


What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts, and be sure to sign the petition to establish Creation Day as a national holiday!






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