|By: Dr. John Ankerberg; ©2004|
|Dr. John Ankerberg answers your questions on creation.|
Does Scientific Evidence Today Show that God Created the Heavens and the Earth? And What Does the Bible Say About When He Created?
What happened on April 24, 1992, that caused the following statements?
According to Science Historian Frederic B. Burnham, the community of scientists as a result of breaking events, was prepared to consider the idea that God created the universe “a more respectable hypothesis today than at any time in the last hundred years.” Even Ted Koppel on ABC’s Nightline in 1992 began his interview of an astronomer and a physicist by quoting the first two verses of Genesis. The physicist immediately added verse 3 is also germane to the discovery.
As Robert Jastrow has written,
Scientists have found that,
Scientists refer to that beginning moment of the universe as “the Big Bang.” Further, instead of this explosion-producing chaos, the exact opposite is true. Science has discovered that the universe has been uniquely fine-tuned so that life can exist on earth. Today, no physicist or astronomer who has researched the question denies that the universe, the Milky Way galaxy, and the solar system possess compelling hallmarks of intentional design for human life.
Many researchers have commented over the past 20 years that it seems the universe “knew” humans were coming.
Physicist Paul Davies, in the 1980s, concluded: “[There] is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all.... It seems as though somebody has fine-tuned nature’s numbers to make the Universe.... The impression of design is overwhelming.”
In our nine television programs with Dr. Hugh Ross, Dr. Fazale Rana and Kenneth Samples, we present some of the scientific evidence astronomers, biologists, and paleontologists have discovered. (See our catalog to order.)
A definition of science given by the Oxford Dictionary is: “A branch of study which is concerned either with a connected body of demonstrated truths or with observed facts systematically classified and more or less colligated by being brought under general laws, and which includes trustworthy methods for the discovery of new truth within its own domain.”
Dr. Michael Denton, an Australian medical doctor and scientist, has lived and worked in London, England and Toronto, Canada. This book by Dr. Denton attempts to explain the gathering evidence against evolution in its traditional form. It points out the growing crisis in biology and suggests that an increasing number of research scientists are questioning strict Darwinism.
Sir Fred Hoyle is professor of astronomy and astrophysics at University College, Cardiff, Wales, Great Britain, and the originator of the Steady State theory of the origin of the universe.
Dr. Francis Crick, Nobel Prize winner and biochemist, was the co-discoverer of the structure of the DNA molecule.
Dr. Chandra Wickramasinghe is professor and chairman of the Department of Applied Mathematics and Astronomy, University College, Cardiff, Wales.
Neither Sr. Fred Hoyle nor Professor Wickramasinghe accept the Genesis account of creation, but each maintains that wherever life occurs in this universe, it had to be created. They further reject Darwinian evolution itself.
Scott Huse is a teacher and principal of Pinecrest Bible Training Center, Salisbury Center, New York. He also lectures on college campuses. He holds the following degrees: B.S., M.S., M.R.E., Th.D., and Ph. D.
[Concerning Darwin’s statement about the eye, Denton writes]:
Lewis Thomas makes this comment in Medusa and the Snail about the information-rich blueprint in the human gene:
Writing about this same cell, Chandra Wickramasinghe, professor of applied mathematics at the University of Cardiff, Wales, reminded his readers that the statistical probability of forming even a single enzyme, the building block of the gene, which is in turn the building block of the cell, is 1 in 10 to the 40,000th. The translation of that figure is that it would require more attempts for the formation of one enzyme than there are atoms in all the stars of all the galaxies in the entire known universe. Though a Buddhist, Dr. Wickramasinghe concedes this supernatural notion.
So “impossible” is this event that Francis Crick, the Nobel-Prize-winning scientist who helped crack the code of human DNA, said it is “almost a miracle.”
Molecules and Cells
Next, we will discuss the odds of two very “simple” things evolving: 1) a molecule and 2) a cell. Remember that thousands and millions of these are needed for life to evolve, and not even the higher forms of life. To begin consider the following information about molecules:
Again, molecules are so small that 1/4 teaspoon of water has 10 to the 24th power of them. Molecules vary from the simple to the complex. A simple molecule may consist of only a few bonded atoms, as in water (two atoms hydrogen; one atom oxygen). A complex molecule of protein may have 50,000 amino acids or chains of simpler molecules.
The Odds of a Complex Molecule
Noted astronomer Fred Hoyle uses the Rubik cube to illustrate the odds of getting a single molecule, in this case a biopolymer. Biopolymers are biological polymers, i.e., large molecules such as nucleic acids or proteins. In the fascinating illustration below, he calls the idea that chance could originate a biopolymer “nonsense of a high order”:
DeNouy provides another illustration for arriving at a single molecule of high dissymmetry through chance action and normal thermic agitation. He assumes 500 trillion shakings per second plus a liquid material volume equal to the size of the earth. For one molecule it would require “10243 billions of years.” Even if this molecule did somehow arise by chance, it is still only one single molecule. Hundreds of millions are needed, requiring compound probability calculations for each successive molecule. His logical conclusion is that “it is totally impossible to account scientifically for all phenomena pertaining to life.”
Even 40 years ago, scientist Harold F. Blum, writing in Time’s Arrow and Evolution, wrote that, “The spontaneous formation of a polypeptide of the size of the smallest known proteins seems beyond all probability.”
Noted creation scientists Walter L. Bradley and Charles Thaxton, authors of The Mystery of Life’s Origin: Reassessing Current Theories, point out that the probability of assembling amino acid building blocks into a functional protein is approximately one chance in 4.9 X 10191. “Such improbabilities have led essentially all scientists who work in the field to reject random, accidental assembly or fortuitous good luck as an explanation for how life began.” Now, if a figure as “small” as 5 chances in 10191 is referenced by such a statement, then what are we to make of the kinds of probabilities below that are infinitely less? The mind simply boggles at the remarkable faith of the materialist.
According to Coppedge, the probability of evolving a single protein molecule over 5 billion years is estimated at 1 chance in 10161. This even allows some 14 concessions to help it along which would not actually be present during evolution. Again, this is no chance.
Cells and Bacteria
Consider that the smallest theoretical cell is made up of 239 proteins. Further, at least 124 different types of proteins are needed for the cell to become a living thing. But the simplest known self-reproducing organisms is the H39 strain of PPLO (mycoplasma) containing 625 proteins with an average of 400 amino acids in each protein.
Yet the probability of the occurrence of the smallest theoretical life is only one chance in 10119,879 and the years required for it to evolve would be 10119,841 years or 10119,831 times the assumed age of the earth! The probability of this smallest theoretical cell of 239 proteins evolving without the needed 124 different types of proteins to make up a living cell, i.e., the chance of evolving this “helpless group of non-living molecules” in over 500 billion years is one chance in 10119,701. Dr. David J. Rodabough, Associate Professor of Mathematics at the University of Missouri, estimated the more realistic chance that life would spontaneously generate (even on 1023 planets) as only one chance in 102,999,940.
Whether we are talking about giving evolution every conceivable chance to evolve a single protein molecule or the smallest theoretical cell, the odds are still impossible.
In the 1970s Sir Frederick Hoyle calculated the mathematical probability that a single bacterium could be spontaneously generated. He determined the chance of this occurring was 1 in 1040,000.
Hoyle confessed what most scientists are, strangely, unwilling to confess, “The likelihood of the formation of life from inanimate matter is one to a number with 40 thousand naughts [zeros after it]. It is enough to bury Darwin and the whole theory of evolution. There was no primeval soup, neither on this planet or on any other, and if the beginnings of life were not random they must therefore have been the product of purposeful intelligence.”
But Harold Morowitz, a Yale University physicist, gave a far more realistic “probability” for a single bacterium. He calculated the odds of a single bacterium emerging from the basic building blocks necessary were 1 chance in 10100,000,000,000.
This number is so large it would require a library of approximately 100,000 books just to write it out! Ponder that!
In his book, Origins—A Skeptic’s Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth, Robert Shapiro comments concerning the probabilities calculated by Morowitz, “The improbability involved in generating even one bacterium is so large that it reduces all considerations of time and space to nothingness. Given such odds, the time until the black holes evaporate and the space to the ends of the universe would make no difference at all. If we were to wait, we would truly be waiting for a miracle.”
Googols and Factorials
Again, these numbers are unimaginable. That’s why even scientists don’t know what to do with them. Consider that a given individual’s chance of winning the state lottery is about one in ten million. The odds of winning each successive week involve the multiplication of probabilities so that the odds of winning the lottery every single week of your life from the age of 18 to 99, a period of 80 years, is 1 chance in 4.6 X 1029,120. In other words, it is infinitely more likely that you would win the lottery every week of your life consecutively, from the day you were born, without missing even one winning weekly ticket, for 80 years, than it is that we would have the spontaneous generation of a simple bacterium.
Physicist Dr. Howard B. Holroyd refers to the book, Mathematics and the Imagination, where the authors, Kasner and Newman, name the extremely large number 10100, a “googol.” Noting the fact that there could only, at most, have been 4.8 X 1038 possible mutations in all the life forms throughout the history of earth Dr. Holroyd writes,
Dr. Holroyd also discusses factorial numbers. A factorial number is a number that multiplies each successive number by the next number. So ten factorial would be to multiply 1 X 2 X 3 X 4 X 5 X 6 X 7 X 8 X 9 X 10. Seventy factorial is around a googol (1.198 X 10100). Sir Arthur Eddington estimated the total number of electrons and protons in the entire universe as approximately 3.145 X 1079. This is infinitely less than 100 factorial, which equals 9.3 X 10157. But when it comes to evolution, we are not dealing with 100 factorial but millions X millions factorial. To illustrate, there are 5,000 fibers in the auditory nerve of man that may be connected to the brain in 5,000-factorial ways—and probably only one is correct. The optic nerve has about one million fibers, and these may be connected to the brain in one million factorial ways. The odds they could have been connected correctly by chance cannot even be written out longhand.
Holroyd proceeds to show by several other examples how absurd belief in chance evolution is. He points out that the straight hydrocarbon chain C40H82 has about 6.25 X 1013 isomers. It would be impossible for the entire human race, working full time for four billion years, just to study all the isomers of this single organic molecule of no great size. (Yet it just happened to evolve by chance.) When we consider there are ten billion cells in the cerebral cortex, that there are several trillion nerve connections between cells in the brain, plus many other amazing factors, it becomes “preposterous beyond words” to believe that all this originated by chance:
Since evolutionists have not found scientific evidence for life originating from non-life on earth they had hoped they could find evidence of life somewhere in the universe. If they could, it would give them circumstantial evidence that life could originate by evolution someplace else.
Dr. Carl Sagan is an American astronomer.
The Evolutionist Julian Huxley admitted in his book Evolution in Action that the chances for the evolution of a horse are one in one thousand to the millionth power. (This is the number one followed by three million zeros, or 1,500 pages of nothing but zeros!) He admitted that no one would ever bet on anything so improbable. Yet he persisted in believing it did happen!
Now, I would like to share with you some further thoughts on what the Bible teaches about creation and science. In doing so, I would like to cite Dr. Norman Geisler’s new Systematic Theology, Volume 2 entitled, “God and Creation.” His words express what I believe, although I do not believe I could say as well as he.
The Current Debate on Creation/Evolution
The primary difference between young- and old-earth creationists is the speculated amount of time between God’s creative acts. Young-earthers insist that it was all accomplished in 144 hours–six successive 24-hour days–while old-earth (progressive) creationists allow for millions (or even billions) of years. This is usually done by:
There are several variations within these perspectives, making a total of more than a dozen different views held by evangelical theologians on the matter.
Old-earth (progressive) creationists are not to be confused with theistic evolutionists. Old-earth creationists do not accept macroevolution as a method by which God produced the originally created kinds of Genesis 1. Old-earth creationism was strong among nineteenth-century creationists, though the view dates from at least the fourth century (in Augustine). Again, prominent contemporary defenders include Hugh Ross and Robert Newman.
Young- and old-earth creationists have much in common, at least among those who are evangelical. This includes several basic things.
Direct Supernatural Creation of All Forms of Life
Both young- and old-earthers believe that God supernaturally, directly and immediately produced every kind of animal and human as separate and genetically distinct forms of life. Both hold that every kind produced by God was directly created de nova (brand-new) and did not come about by God’s using natural processes over a long period of time or tinkering with previous types of life in order to make higher forms (evolution).
Opposition to Naturalism
Both groups are also agreed in their opposition to naturalism, which they see as the philosophical presupposition of evolution. They correctly observe that without a naturalistic bias, evolution loses its credibility. Ruling out the possibility of supernatural intervention in the world begs the whole question in favor of evolution even before one begins.
Opposition to Macroevolution
Likewise, both are united in their opposition to macroevolution, either theistic or nontheistic; that is, they reject the theory of common ancestry. They both deny that all forms of life descended by completely natural processes without supernatural intervention from the outside. They deny that all living things are like a tree connected to a common trunk and root; rather, they affirm the separate ancestry of all the basic forms of life, a picture more like a forest of different trees. Microevolution, where small changes occur within the basic kinds of created things, is acknowledged, but no macro (large-scale) evolution occurs between different kinds. For example, both old- and young-earth creationists agree that all dogs are related to an original canine pair–part of the same tree. However, they deny that dogs, cats, cows, and other created kinds are related like branches from one original tree.
The Historicity of the Genesis Account
Further, both young- and old-earthers who are evangelical hold to the historicity of the Genesis account: They believe that Adam and Eve were literal people, the progenitors of the entire human race. While some may allow for poetic form and figure of speech in the narrative, all agree that it conveys historical and literal truth about origins. This is made clear by the New Testament references to Adam and Eve, their creation and fall, as literal (cf. Luke 3:38; Rom. 5:12; 1 Tim. 2:13-14).
Of course, there are some differences between the two basic evangelical views on Creation. The primary ones include the following.
The Age of the Earth
A crucial variance between the two views, naturally, is the age of the earth. Young-earthers insist that both the Bible and science support a universe that is only thousands of years old, while old-earthers allow for billions of years. Young-earthers connect their view to a literal interpretation of Genesis (and Ex. 20:11), but old-earthers claim the same basic hermeneutic, which they believe can include millions, if not billions, of years since Creation. They too cite scientific evidence in their favor.
At a minimum, it would be wise if both sides could agree on the following:
The doctrine of Creation is a cornerstone of the Christian faith. The essentials of this teaching have universal consent among orthodox theologians. They include the following:
While there is lively debate about the time of Creation, all evangelicals agree on the fact of Creation. There is also agreement on the source of Creation (a theistic God) and the purpose of Creation (to glorify God). The exact method of Creation is still a moot question; however, increasingly, the scientific evidence supports a supernatural Creation of the universe, the direct creation of first life, and the special creation of every basic life form. Hence, macroevolution, whether theistic or naturalistic, is unfounded both biblically and scientifically.
Dr. Geisler continues under “Appendix Four” of the above referenced book:
Various views of the “days” of Genesis
There are two major views with regard to the time involved in Creation: the old-earth view and the young-earth view. The latter believes the universe is no more than approximately 15,000 years old, while the former holds that it is probably about 13.7 billion years old.
Young-earthers take the “days” of Creation to be six successive, literal, solar days of twenty-four hours each, totaling 144 hours of Creation. They also reject any significant time gaps between the accounts in Genesis 1 or within the genealogies in Genesis 5 and 11.
The Six Twenty-Four-Hour-Day View of Creation
Not all scholars who take the days of Genesis to be twenty-four hour days are young-earthers (some hold a gap theory); however, all who hold to a young earth hold to the twenty-four-hour-day view.
Arguments Offered for the Twenty-Four-Hour-Day View
There are many biblical arguments presented in favor of the twenty-four-hour-day position. These include the following:
A Response to the Arguments Offered for the Twenty-Four-Hour-Day View In spite of the fact that many find these arguments convincing proof of six successive twenty-four hour days of Creation, the case is less than definitive for several reasons. Those who reject the six successive solar-day view reply as follows:
Other orthodox Christians believe that the “days” of Genesis 1 may involve significant periods of time. They offer two lines of evidence in support of this view: biblical and scientific.
There are many indications within the text of Scripture to support the belief that the creation “days” were longer than twenty-four hours. The following are those most often given in support of this position.
In conclusion, it seems highly unlikely that all of these events–especially the fourth one–were compressed within a twenty-four-hour period or, more precisely, within the approximately twelve hours of light each day afforded.
In addition to the biblical evidence for long periods of time, there are scientific arguments that the world has existed for billions of years. The age of the universe is based on:
While all of these arguments have certain unprovable presuppositions, nonetheless, they may be true and, hence, point to a universe that is billions rather than thousands of years in age.
Given the basics of modern physics, it seems plausible that the universe is billions of years old, and as shown above, there is nothing in Scripture that contradicts this. With that in view, the following conclusions are appropriate:
If God, the Creator, is responsible for the words of the Bible then nature’s record, as correctly interpreted through scientific study, should never disagree with the words of the Bible, as correctly interpreted through theological study. In fact, the Christian view is that God has revealed Himself to man not only through special revelation, but also through His creation. [Psalm 19:1-4; Romans 1:20] If there is a disagreement between science and theology, it is due to a faulty interpretation from either one or both accounts. If after careful reexamination of both interpretations, the scientific record and the Bible do not agree, it would be fair to conclude that the Bible is not true. However, if after careful re-examination of both interpretations, the Bible is found to be true, our only rational response is to embrace its message and accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and acknowledge Him as having control over our lives.
The big bang has not been declared to be a fact, with the subsequent theories designed to demonstrate how it occurred. The big bang has emerged as the model for the universe’s beginning through arduous testing with the oscillating universe and steady state theories (and others) falling by the wayside. Furthermore, the big bang model has gained wide-scale acceptance in spite of its clear theological implications. These theological implications are prompting some workers to come up with alternatives to the big bang. The big bang is withstanding these challenges. Those scientists who do oppose the big bang, do so for philosophical more so than for scientific reasons.
Has research stopped in cosmology because the big bang reveals the necessity of a Creator? Hardly. Given the most recent discoveries in cosmology regarding the universe’s transcendent beginning (i.e. independent of matter, energy, space and time), the design features of the universe and the research supporting the anthropic principle, it is odd that many scientists resist appealing to supernatural causes to explain phenomena in the material world. This refusal is an a priori philosophical position. It is not a demand of the scientific process. In fact, nearly all of the earliest modern scientists, were first, and foremost, Christians. These early pioneers gave birth to and nurtured modern science because of their Christian world-view., 
Most science textbooks that address cosmology credit Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson with the discovery that the universe arose from a hot big bang creation event. While it is true that they were the first (1965) to detect the radiation left over from the creation event, they were not the first scientists to recognize that the universe expanded from an extremely hot and compact state. In 1946 George Gamow calculated that nothing less than the universe expanding from a near infinitely hot condition could account for the present abundance of elements. In 1929 observations made by Edwin Hubble established that the velocities of galaxies result from a general expansion of the universe. Beginning in 1925 Abbé Georges Lemaître, who was both an astrophysicist and a Jesuit priest, was the first scientist to promote a big bang creation event.
The first direct scientific evidence for a big bang universe dates back to 1916. That is when Albert Einstein noted that his field equations of general relativity predicted an expanding universe. Unwilling to accept the cosmic beginning implied by such expansion, Einstein altered his theory to conform with the common wisdom of his day, namely an eternally existing universe.
All these scientists, however, were upstaged by 2500 years and more by Job, Moses, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and other Bible authors. The Bible’s prophets and apostles stated explicitly and repeatedly the two most fundamental properties of the big bang, a transcendent cosmic beginning a finite time period ago and a universe undergoing a general, continual expansion. In Isaiah 42:5 both properties were declared, “This is what the Lord says—He who created the heavens and stretched them out.”
The Hebrew verb translated “created” in Isaiah 42:5 is bara, which has as its primary definition “bringing into existence something new, something that did not exist before.” The proclamation that God created (bara) the entirety of the heavens is stated seven times in the Old Testament (Genesis 1:1; 2:3; 2:4; Psalm 148:5; Isaiah 40:26; 42:5; 45:18). This principle of transcendent creation is made more explicit by passages like Hebrews 11:3 which states that the universe that we humans can measure and detect was made out of that which we cannot measure or detect. Also, Isaiah 45:5-22; John 1:3; and Colossians 1:15-17 stipulate that God alone is the agent for the universe’s existence. Biblical claims that God predated the universe and was actively involved in causing certain effects before the existence of the universe is not only found in Colossians 1 but also in Proverbs 8:22-31; John 17:24; Ephesians 1:4; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2; and 1 Peter 1:20.
The characteristic of the universe stated more frequently than any other in the Bible is its being “stretched out.” Five different Bible authors pen such a statement in eleven different verses: Job 9:8; Psalm 104:2; Isaiah 40:22; 42:5; 44:24; 45:12; 48:13; 51:13; Jeremiah 10:12; 51:15; and Zechariah 12:1. Job 37:18 appears to be a twelfth verse. However, the word used for “heavens” or “skies” is shehaqîm which refers to the clouds of fine particles (of water or dust) that are located in Earth’s atmosphere, not the shamayim, the heavens of the astronomical universe. Three of the eleven verses, Job 9:8; Isaiah 44:24; and 45:12 make the point that God alone was responsible for the cosmic stretching.
The creation account of man in Genesis 1:26-27 states, “Let us make (asah) man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created (bara) man in his own image, in the image of God, he created (bara) him; male and female he created (bara) them.
The words in parentheses are the ancient Hebrew words that are translated into English as the word create. The Hebrew definitions of these words have direct bearing on this discussion.
The creation of man is described using two different verbs in the Hebrew. One verb (asah) means to fashion using a substance already in existence. The other verb (bara) means to bring something into existence that never existed before. We would suggest that the verb asah accounts for man’s biochemical and morphological similarity to other primates. While the verb bara considers man’s unique qualities, such as awareness of absolute right and wrong, concern about death and beyond, a tendency towards worship of that which is outside of nature, and self-awareness. These spiritual qualities cause man to bear God’s image and give man his unique standing among all living creatures in the animal kingdom. They were unique, miraculous creations of God, created as fully developed human beings, with DNA distinct from any creature. While humans may have shared physical similarities with other creatures, they were not simply hominids with a spirit.
The dates and ages of the hominid fossils are not widely disputed in the scientific community. We share this view. We do not take the position that the examples of Nebraska Man and Piltdown Man call into question the validity of the entire hominid fossil record and the existence of the now extinct bipedal hominids. In fact, we will demonstrate that the reality and reliability of the fossil record, along with work in molecular genetics provides powerful support for the biblical scenario for the origin of humans and call into question the evolutionary scenario.
It is widely acknowledged that the fossil record is incomplete. Yet many paleontologists hold that while incomplete, the fossil record is generally adequate enough to discern patterns such as stasis and absence of gradual evolutionary trends.
At the end of the day, we all have biases that we bring to the table. No scientist is completely objective. Honest scholarship demands that these biases be clearly communicated and taken into consideration at all times.