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Standing on Genesis

God’s purposeful design of the Earth is the foundation of WORLD’s origins coverage


Illustration by Krieg Barrie

Standing on Genesis

Listeners to WORLD’s daily podcast, The World and Everything in It, have probably noticed a semi-subtle musical riff from the opening line of the hymn “This Is My Father’s World.” WORLD’s reporting has always reflected what we believe: This is God’s world because He made it.

Scientific debates and questions about the world’s origin have always been central to WORLD’s coverage. The doctrine of creation provides the factual backbone supporting the idea that, as Dutch theologian Abraham Kuyper said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’”

Debates over origins are contentious and complex because they involve complex scientific data and deal with ultimate questions about religion and metaphysics. Some scientists, both Christians and non-Christians, have tried to define away the conflict by insisting religion and science operate in completely different spheres.

WORLD takes the Bible’s claims seriously, so we don’t consign them to a narrow part of life and insist Scripture has nothing to say about science. Over the years, our coverage has sought to stand firm when the Bible is clear while leaving room for debate among serious-minded Christians when it is not.

Mainstream biologists say an updated version of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution (generally known as neo-Darwinism) is true. They often denigrate opposing arguments as anti-science. Their pop-science drumbeat: Life resulted from a combination of random genetic mutation and survival-driven natural selection. Any objections, the common story goes, arise from religious motivation and have no basis in the evidence.

The Bible, though, shows that God made the universe and the life that inhabits it with purpose. Darwinism insists that everything is purposeless. The Bible starts with a statement of intention: “In the beginning, God created” (Genesis 1:1). Darwinism starts with a mechanism of accident: random selection. The Bible posits design: “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). Darwinism holds out historical contingency: Some conglomerations of cells survived and others did not. The Bible views the world as a testament to the goodness of a loving Creator. Darwinism paints a cruel and godless picture. God says His world was created “very good.” Darwinism says nature is red in tooth and claw.

Some Christian scientists have tried to split the difference by advocating what is popularly known as theistic evolution (some refer to it as evolutionary creationism). Theistic evolution grants the entire Darwinian description of how life originated and evolved, then asserts that God was at work through the process. Though these theorists may be quicker to claim God is responsible for the origin of the first life or perhaps the Big Bang, the basic picture they paint of biological life on Earth differs very little from an atheistic one.

Practically, that means theistic evolutionists must throw out almost the entirety of the Genesis account besides “God created.” And they grant evolutionary theory a believability it doesn’t deserve. The complexity of cellular life, gaps in the fossil record, unexplained evolutionary anomalies like the Cambrian explosion, and the careful balances in biology, physics, and more that allow life to exist, all illustrate care and intentionality, not random chance. Theistic evolution forfeits the game too readily and loses most of the Christian story along the way.

WORLD stands with the Genesis account that God created the world. He made it and its creatures very good. He fashioned man and woman in His own image. Man’s fall brought sin into the world. That framework forms what we regard as a medium-size tent. From there WORLD has reported with balance on the debates Christians have about how God chose to carry out His plan.

The most prominent disagreement among creationists regards the age of Earth. Young-Earth creationists say the planet is somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 years old and point out that the science of geologic timescales is more unsettled than mainstream science admits. This version of creationism insists on six literal days and sometimes relies on Genesis’ genealogies to estimate when creation might have occurred.

Old-Earth creationists agree the Genesis account is true but think that doesn’t necessitate throwing out longer time­scales. Often, they think the six “days” of creation could be metaphorical and can cover those large spans of time. They usually maintain that the special creation of man happened much more recently than mainstream scientists would think the first Homo sapiens arose.

Another major theory, intelligent design, differs from all the others in that its central claim isn’t metaphysical at all, though it has metaphysical implications. Intelligent design’s main contention is material: Evidence points to the world’s design. Besides that, it maintains its own big tent with many ideas about who that designer may be. Many Christians have found an intellectual home at intelligent design’s main hub, the Discovery Institute. (Disclosure: I worked there for three years.) But so have practicing Jews and even agnostics, which is what makes it such a powerful opponent of neo-Darwinism.

The intelligent design community’s existence contradicts the notion that science equals evolution: You don’t have to have a prior commitment to Christian­ity (or any other religion) to recognize that the world didn’t spring from random mutation and blind selection. And that is a distinctly Biblical idea: “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made” (Romans 1:20).

WORLD’s reporting has highlighted how standard evolutionary theory contradicts Scripture. We have introduced readers to scientists arguing against Darwinism. Their arguments tackle ideas from Darwinism’s theory of common descent of all creatures and its classification of humans as mere matter, to its account of the origin of life. Social Darwinism, or the theory as applied to society, gave birth to horrific abuses, including eugenics.

As WORLD strives to cover events in God’s world in a Biblically objective way, we always start with affirming that this is God’s world. He made it and sustains it by His power. That’s why we have always prioritized scientific coverage and will continue to do so.


Rachel Lynn Aldrich Rachel is an assistant editor for WORLD Digital. She is a Patrick Henry College and World Journalism Institute graduate. Rachel resides with her husband in Wheaton, Ill.

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CFCRuss

Thank you for this article. It's a great summary of what's been going on relating to God's creation. Your succinct summary is very helpful.

BLW

Thank you Rachel for the article and World for this Biblical stance which doesn't deny the intellectual gifts and scientific exploration that God gave us but still submits to the sovereignty of God.

SJS

As a Pre-Med major in the late 60s and early 70s at a "Christian Liberal Arts" college the biologic sciences were taught with the same presuppositions as any other college. Darwinian evolutionary theory was assumed to be true. The Christian department head told us that there were good books held on "Reserve" in the library for anyone interested in pursuing an alternative to evolutionary theory. This was very early in the Creationist movement and I wondered, "Why read that stuff? It's not required?" and "What is he talking about anyway?"

It wasn't until after graduation that I heard Dr Duane Gish speak at an ICR (the early days) conference. He presented a cogent refutation of Darwinian theories and supplied a "scientific" biblical alternative. [I still remember his delightful expose of the Bombardier Beetle!] The light turned on and has stayed on lighting the way.

Working in the medical field in various capacities for the past 50+ years in everything from autopsies to clinical research with oversight of FDA approved trials to patient care I've seen how bankrupt Darwinian aka evolutionary theory really is. It doesn't explain what we actually see and encounter on a daily basis. But the blinders are on for many. I chuckle at terms such as "co-evolution" used to explain what we see so often at how certain creatures depend on each other for their existence +/- other independent naturally occurring phenomenon. [Kirtland's Warbler is a good one!]

That there is no plausible explanation aside from a Designer they are comfortable saying that parallel evolutionary processes of chance brought this all together despite lack of evidence and despite a logical explanation of how they could have existed before their co-dependence.

Of course there is still the question of the evolution of the Bombardier Beetle's unique protective apparatus. How did it protect itself before this was fully ready for prime time?

One thing to remember is that science is about observable and reproducible events. Since we were all born into an apparently fabulously intricate world we are at best in a quasi-science of sorts when it comes to how it all began. But when we then look objectively at everything from the micro to the macro and step back and ask ourselves "What is the best explanation for what we see and can study?" ID (Intelligent Design) is the answer for many. That is a huge step! And for Christians, Genesis gives some more definitive answers but doesn't answer them all. But it is a solid foundation to stand on!

Thank you Rachel for this nice overview of World's core belief on this important topic.

VixTix

Thank you, Rachel! There are many today who yell, "Follow the science!" But they don't. All knowledge begins with the fear of the Lord.

Steve S

Thank you for presenting a biblical perspective on this. that's why I subscribe!

Ken Gal 220

Great overview. Since you are in Wheaton you should come to our Midwest Creation Fellowship meetings in Carol Stream the 1st Tuesday of the month. Dr. Kevin Anderson (Creation Research Society) will be speaking on "Are Dinosaur Proteins Immortal" at 7 pm on Tuesday July 13th. see MidwestCreationFellowship.org Ken Gal 2:20 [email protected]

John Cogan

The label 'Big Bang' was a pejorative term coined by astronomer Fred Hoyle who rejected an initial creation event in favor of the 'steady state' model. The steady state model reflected an eternal universe and thus eliminated the need for a Creator. The initial creation event could NOT have been either a 'Bang' or an explosion because such events produce a high degree of disorder, or entropy. The initial creation event produced a very ordered universe, extremely low in entropy. The creation of an ordered universe in the finite past - a conclusion to which the majority of cosmologists agree - unavoidably points to the existence of a Creator.

heartofthematter

Does World take a position on the age of the earth/universe and how it began...i.e. "Big Bang?" Is there a theological problem with the concept of God creating the earth/universe through a massive explosion, singularity? It's hard to establish any credibility with thoughtful curious people outside the faith when, in the face of massive amounts of scientific evidence, we take a position that the earth as we know it came in to existence 10,000 years ago. I have struggled with this concept for decades. I look forward to more articles on this issue in the future. Two books I have read by scientist who became Christians, "The Works of His Hands" and the classic "The Language of God" have helped me come to grips with this issue.

Salty1heartofthematter

Rachel says the following:
“ WORLD stands with the Genesis account that God created the world. He made it and its creatures very good. He fashioned man and woman in His own image. Man’s fall brought sin into the world. That framework forms what we regard as a medium-size tent. From there WORLD has reported with balance on the debates Christians have about how God chose to carry out His plan.”

World doesn’t take a stand on the age of the earth but does have a high view of the Word, which I think is a wise move. World should be highly commended for their coverage of science and the creation. Sometimes I have grown frustrated on the reporting on political issues, but always over the years their coverage of science and the creation has been excellent. I also miss the lady who used to cover science who did an excellent job (will she ever write occasionally as a guest columnist on a special topic?) but the new guy has also done an excellent job too!

The only thing I wish they would fix is their new posting system where I cannot even post a comment where I am commending World.

TEDW3813

Well said, Rachel. Thank you.