God’s magnificent creation
provides wonderful evidence for his great power and wisdom.
However, modern science rejects creation and accepts evolution
as an explanation for the origin of life. How do we reconcile
biblical creation with science?
We address these issues in this chapter.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
With these majestic words, Genesis begins the account of the
creation. We are told in simple language that God created
universe and all kinds of plants and animals in an orderly
way, with the last of his creations being human beings.
Read Genesis 1. Then, without using your Bibles, answer the following questions.
1. What food was assigned to man?
2. Are any of God’s works singled out for special commendation?
3. How are the names of the sun, moon and stars introduced?
4. Is it said concerning every day that “God saw that it was good”?
5. Over what part of creation did man have dominion?
6. Is Eve mentioned?
7. Which divisions of the plant kingdom were the work of the third day?
8. What is said of the food of animals, fish, birds and creeping things?
9. What is the earth said to have first brought forth?
10. How could the sun, moon and stars be created on the fourth day, yet there be evenings and mornings from the first day?
Check the answers in your Bible.
The days of creation in Genesis 1 follow an interesting pattern:
||4 Sun, moon and stars
|Water & air
||2 Sea and sky
||5 Fish and birds
||3 Land and plants
||6 Animals and man
This pattern makes it easier to remember what was created
on which day.
Some passages supporting Creation
22; 3:1; 5:1-2;
6:7; 7:4; 9:6
|The Bible teaches creation from start to finish, from the writings of Moses to the preaching of Jesus and the apostles.
What about evolution?
The current scientific explanation for the various forms of
life is gradual evolution through random mutations and natural
selection. In contrast, the Bible reveals that God created
each kind of animal and plant-he did not just let them happen
through natural processes which he had set in place.
There are also several scientific objections to the theory
• Many parts of living things are so complex, they could
not have come about through a process of gradual and random
change. They must have been designed to function as they do.
Even Charles Darwin acknowledged this difficulty with his theory.
1 On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin, 1859, (this ed. 1911), London:
Ward Lock & Co., pp.152-153.
Charles Darwin was an English naturalist and is considered the father of modern evolution
'If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed
which could not possibly have been formed by numerous successive
slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.'
The eye is one example of something that seems to need all
of its parts interacting with each other in order to function
at all. It could not have evolved if it could not have worked
during the intermediate stages of development. In his wisdom,
God has designed a marvellous organ by which we can see.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
• If evolution were true, there would have been many
intermediate species, whereas the fossil record shows no such
gradual changes between species. Dr Colin Patterson, senior
palaeontologist at the British Museum of Natural History has
Personal letter (written 10 April 1979) as quoted in Darwin’s Enigma, Luther D. Sunderland, Master Books: San Diego, 1984, p.89.
I will lay it on the line: there is not one [transitional]
fossil for which one could make a watertight argument.
In other words, there are many “missing links”.
These scientific objections have led some scientists to reject
evolution. However, many stick to a belief in evolution because
the alternative of creation is unacceptable to them. British
scientist Sir Arthur Keith said:
Evolution is unproved and unprovable. We believe it only because
the only alternative is special creation and that is unthinkable.
The witness of Creation
God’s creation is magnificent. We only have to look
at some of the natural beauty in the world to see his handiwork.
How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
The heavens are described as “speaking” to us
of God’s glory:
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 display knowledge. There is no speech or
language where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the
ends of the world. (Psalm 19:1-4)
God’s power is so clearly seen in his creation, that
Paul described it as sufficient evidence for people to believe
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible
qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly
seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men
are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)
When did Creation occur?
When God said “In the beginning. . . ”, he did
not tell us when this beginning was, nor are we told what
there was before this
beginning. However, there is sufficient information in the
of Scripture for us to calculate (very approximately) the
date Adam was created. Using the genealogies listed in Genesis
chapters 5 and 11, we can work out how many years there were
between Adam and Abraham-approximately 2000. Abraham is normally
dated at about 2000 BC, which places Adam at about 4000 BC.
On the other hand, scientists looking at the age of the earth
and the fossils it contains believe the earth is about 4.5
billion years old and that life in some form has existed on
the earth for several hundred million years. One of the difficulties
we have in understanding Genesis 1 is the need to reconcile
these ages with the time the Bible suggests Adam was created
(see the box below).
Genesis 1 and the age of the earth
|There have been many attempts to reconcile Genesis 1 with scientific evidence for an old earth.|
The most popular explanations are listed below.
|1. A re-creation
It is suggested that the universe was created long ago (Gen 1:1), but that God wiped the slate clean so the earth was “formless and empty” (Gen 1:2) and began afresh with the creation described in Gen 1:3-31.
|5. Days of revelation
This interpretation holds that Genesis 1 describes a seven day vision seen by Moses or some earlier prophet and that creation itself took place over a much longer period.
|2. The appearance of age
It is sometimes argued that, just as Adam was created a mature man, the universe was made to look old when it was formed.
|6. Days of divine command
The days, according to this interpretation, are literal consecutive days on which God said what would be created.
Then, over the ensuing hundreds of millions of years, what God had decreed was slowly created.
|3. Scientists are wrong
Those who hold this view argue that scientists incorrectly interpret the evidence for an old earth. Instead, they say that the universe is only about 6000 years old.
|7. A drama
Some people hold that Genesis 1 is a dramatic presentation of what actually took place. Genesis takes a complex series of events and presents them as a drama in the compressed time period of six days.
|4. Days covered a long period of time
This view is that the days were longer than 24 hours or were interspersed with long periods of time.
1. Consider the various interpretations of Genesis 1 listed
above. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each interpretation.
Which do you prefer?
2. Some people have claimed that the order of creation in
Genesis 2 is man - plants - animals - birds which is different
from Genesis 1. What would you say to this objection?
3. Is it possible that God created all life using evolution
as a process to achieve his goal?
1. Some people consider Genesis to be largely myth. Yet Jesus
himself refers to many events in Genesis as historical.
Find as many verses as you can where Jesus refers to Genesis.
2. Another argument for creation is the occurrence of “symbiotic
relationships”-where two animals or plants depend on
each other for their existence. Find an example of a symbiotic
relationship and write about half a page explaining how it
works. (The books mentioned below may be helpful.)
• Does God exist? Science says yes, by Alan Hayward
(2nd revised ed., Printland Publishers, 1998). Previously
published as God Is, this book considers various scientific
evidences for the existence of God as Creator. 221 pages.
• Creation and evolution: rethinking the evidence from
science and the Bible by Alan Hayward (published by Bethany
House, 2nd ed., 1995). This book is in three parts: the first
part deals with arguments against evolution, the second part
looks at the evidence for an old earth, and the third part
considers interpretations of Genesis.
The author favours the “days of divine command”
• The drama of creation by Alan Fowler (Printland Publishers,
1996). This is an interesting book considering the view of
Genesis 1 as a drama.
• Creation, evolution and science, by John V. Collyer
(published by The Testimony, 1993). This book takes the position
that the earth is young. It presents some good examples of
design in nature.
2. Reasons to believe the Bible
8. The Spirit of God
15. Events in Eden