The Creation Explanation
|Beliefs and Interpretations of Evidence|
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies
are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep Your precepts.
The opening sentence of the Bible answers the most fundamental question of philosophy and establishes the ground of reality for the rest of the biblical revelation of origins, of human history, and of the future consummation of the ages. The question is "What is eternal and therefore the source of all else that is real?" There are three principal answers. First, the Bible answers, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." Thus the Bible makes it clear that infinite-personal Spirit is the only eternal reality, and all else came from that eternal source. Every spiritual being and material thing had a beginning, was created by God the infinite-personal Spirit, and is completely dependent upon Him for continued existence. This is the answer given by the Hebrew and Christian traditions and (by its reference to the Bible) the Moslem tradition. The second, contradictory answer, that the material cosmos is the eternal reality and there is no spirit, is given by atheistic-materialistic philosophies. The third answer, that the spirit and the material cosmos are eternal and inseparable, is given by many of the ancient Eastern religions. Thus these religions are pantheistic, their god or gods being one with the material cosmos.
In earlier chapters it has been shown that the study of origins lies outside the province of the experimental scientific enterprise, strictly defined. Nevertheless, modern scientists continue to seek scientific(i.e., naturalistic, materialistic) explanations for the beginning of the world. Many ancient peoples who had rejected any divine revelation of beginnings used mythology to satisfy man's innate curiosity about his origin and his destiny.
The best known of the ancient creation myths is the Babylonian epic poem called Enuma Elish ("When above"), the title derived from the two opening words. Theologian and specialist in ancient Semitic and cognate languages, Allan A. MacRae, has given a condensed analysis of the contents of this ancient creation account which, he says, is very different from that contained in Genesis 1. It tells of the coming into being of two parties of deities who engage in bitter conflict. The winning party is led by the chief deity of Babylon, who therefore receives the outstanding place of authority in the cosmos. Somewhat as a by-produce of the warfare of the gods, he sets the sky in place, founds the earth, and puts the moon and stars in motion, creating men to serve the gods. It is notable that Enuma Elish does not speak of the creation of the sun, no doubt because the sun-god is designated as the principal deity.1
The following quotations from Enuma Elish and discussion by Merrill F. Unger will enable the reader better to evaluate and contrast the mythological and biblical accounts of origins.
In the opening tablet, only Apsu (male) and Taimat (female) exist. These two become the parents of the gods.
The newly created gods become so annoying in their conduct that Apsu decides to do away with them. The great god Ea, however, discovers the plan and slays Apsu. Ea then begets Marduk, the city god of Babylon. Tiamat, in the meantime, prepared to avenge the death of her husband, Apsu. She creates monsters and sets Kingu, one of her children, at the head of her army.
In the next three tablets it is told how Marduk is chosen by Ea to battle Tiamat's army. He is elevated to supremacy among the gods. In the battle, Tiamat is slain. This supposedly represents the victory of order over chaos. Finally, Marduk creates the cosmos out of the corpse of Tiamat.
Tablet five discusses the creation of the stars and of time. The sixth tablet is important in that it gives the creation of man. Marduk states:
Tablet seven finishes the epic by describing the elevation of Marduk to supremacy among the pantheon in a great festive banquet.2
It is hardly necessary to comment on the total contrast between the majestic Genesis account of creation and the Babylonian tale of squabbling gods. The difference in every respect between the eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipreset Creator and Lord of the Bible and the fantastic mythological deiteis of Enuma Elish is striking. Similar contrasts exist between the Bible and all other ancient accounts of beginnings.
While the modern materialistic conception of cosmic and biological evolution excludes explicit mythology, it nevertheless shares certain fundamental ideas with some of the ancient philosophies. One of these is that the cosmos is somehow eternal and exists independently of the power of any God. Consequently there never was a supernatural creation of the natural order which materialistic science investigates. Implicit in this view is the idea that time never had a beginning, whereas the Bible teaches that time itself had a beginning. In Chapter-8 we will consider the subject of time and the age of the earth.
As was pointed out in Chapter-5, modern science had its genesis in Western Europe under the leadership primarily of Christian believers who laid the foundations of the major scientific disciplines. However, as the humanistic philosophies flowing out of the Rennaisance and the Enlightenment diluted the Biblical Christian faith in western society, materialistic evolutionary philosophy progressively gained dominance in the scientific enterprise. Gradually, scientific research was increasingly directed into programs which would produce evidence that could be inserted into a logical structure supporting evolutionary theory. Virtually all scientific thought and research became captive to the assumption that the grand evolutionary scenario of the universe and of life on earth is a fact. In this connection it is significant that Charles Darwin, only a year after he began his intense effort to develop a scientific theory of evolution, expressed enthusiastic approval of the newly published philosophy of Auguste Comte.3 Called "positivism," or "logical positivism," it held that the only true knowledge of the world comes through observation by the natural senses. Carried away by his personal atheism, LeComte asserted that "all true science must be opposed to all theology."4 Many kinds of evidence adduced in support of evolutionary theory have been discussed in our earlier chapters. The remainder of this chapter will consider additional important classes of evidence and suggest alternative interpretations which can bring the data of science into accord with biblical creation.
Homology: Do Similarities Prove Common Ancestry?
The primary evidence for evolution, the classical evidence has been drawn from comparative anatomy under the concept of homology. To illustrate, there are many similarities (as well as differences) between a chimpanzee and a human. And there are fewer similarities (and more differences) between a shrew and a human. Supposedly this means that shrews, chimps and people evolved from a common ancestor, but that the lines leading to chimp and man separated from each other more recently than the time at which the shrew line branched off from the line leading to primates(monkeys, apes and humans). This idea is called homology. It has two elements: the comparative anatomy of different animals or plants, and the assumption that descent from common ancestors is a fact. This concept of homology, which is an interpretation of comparative anatomy in accord with the assumption that evolution is a fact, provides the great classical evidence for evolution!
There is, however, another interpretation of the data of comparative anatomy, which accords with a different assumption, i.e., that creation is a fact. This interpretation sees among living creatures about thirty major basic structural plans corresponding roughly to the phyla of the biological classification system. These basic types appear with variations for specific life styles and environments to make up the several million species both living and extinct. Careful study consistently shows each species to have a set of characters which make it highly adapted for certain ranges of environment and life style. Thus the facts of biology point persuasively to the reality of intelligent, purposeful design in nature and therefore to the existence of the Designer-Creator. Comparative anatomy, therefore, affords no proof for evolution. Indeed, the concept of homology is beset by many difficulties, and the actual data are equally well or better explained under the concept of special creation with a sets of basic designs which are modified for specific applications.
Difficulties with Homology
The difficulties with the concept of homology have been reviewed by A.J. Jones.5 As was pointed out above, one element of homology is the assumption that evolution is a fact. It was shown in Chapter-3, however, that the fossil record does not document the production of complex new biological designs. Also, there is no demonstrated mechanism for the evolutionary production of new complex biological designs, nor is there a testable scientific theory for the evolutionary production of complex new biological designs. And these are crucial facts, for when one examines the data of comparative anatomy, the guiding assumption of creation is as satisfactory as that of evolution. Darwin in the Glossary of Origin of Species defined homology as follows:6
Homology.--That relation between parts which results from their development from corresponding embryonic parts, either in different animals, as in the case of the arm of man, the fore-leg of a quadruped, and the wing of a bird; or in the same individual, as in the case of the fore and hind legs in quadrupeds, and the segments or rings and their appendages of which the body of a worm, a centipede, etc., is composed.
The first problem with homology as evidence for evolution is the fact that numerous similarities among species cannot possibly be interpreted to mean descent from a common ancestor. These are said to be the result of "convergent evolution." This is the idea that two distinct species which have some very similar characters, the similarities were not inherited from a common ancestor but, rather, they evolved in the two separate lines of descent because of the influence of the environment. Thus there are notable similarities between the eyes of octopus and man, but these are not believed to be inherited from a common ancestor, for there are also crucial differences which argue against a common ancestors. Sir Allister Hardy, in his book The Living Stream, number of striking cases of so-called parallel evolution are found when we compare placental mammals with the marsupial mammals of Australia.7 The marsupial Tasmanian wolf(Thylacinus) and the placental wolf(Canis lupus) have skulls which are extremely similar in structure. The marsupial mole(Notoryctes) and the placental mole(Talpa europea) are likewise quite similar, as are the marsupial flying phalanger(Petaurus) and the flying squirrel. These marvelously similar but unrelated species are supposed to have developed entirely independently because similar environments and life styles, through the principle of natural selection, created the similar structures. That this could have happened in so many different cases and in remarkable detail is astounding. Evolutionary faith is itself actually astounding.
Another difficulty is pointed out by Michael Denton in his excellent book, Evolution--A Theory in Crisis.8 The facts of genetics and embryonic development show that Darwin's definition of homology is exactly what homology is not. This serious problem for homology stems from how characters are inherited. Supposedly, inherited genes control inherited characters, and this is certainly plausible--if evolution is indeed a fact of biological history. Thus it would be reasonable to assume that homologous characters are controlled by homologous genes. These would be genes that control similar characters, but have slowly evolved, changing with time, so that the inherited characters also have changed. Thus the from appendages of reptiles, mammals, birds and humans are said to be homologous. Therefore, they must be controlled by homologous genes. The facts is, however, that it has been proved in many cases that homologous structures are not controlled by homologous genes! In the vertebrates the embryo is constructed of a large number of segments which can be numbered, starting at the head end. Surely particular segments develop under the control of particular genes. We would reasonably assume the same for any particular structure, such as the front leg. Yet it is observed that in six different vertebrates with allegedly inherited their legs from a common ancestor, the front legs as well as the rear legs develop from entirely different groups of segments from species to species. Thus if the front legs(or rear legs) of these different creatures have been inherited from a common ancestor through evolution, we have the incredible idea that the job of producing the legs is, by evolution, passed slowly back and forth from group to group of different genes, which are themselves gradually changing to accomplish this fantastic juggling act. In his 1971 monograph, Homology, An Unsolved Problem, Sir Gavin de Beer, one of the great embryologists of this century, posed the question for evolutionary theory which still is unanswered.9
But if it is true that through the genetic code, genes code for enzymes that synthesize proteins which are responsible(in a manner still unknown to embryology) for the differentiation of the various parts in their normal manner, what mechanism can it be that results in the production of homologous organs, the same 'patterns', in spite of their not being controlled by the same genes? I asked this question in 1938, and it has not been answered. Fifty-five years later de Beer's question is still unanswered. It appears that the claim that evolution explains everything is premature. It should also be pointed that even the claim that the genetically inherited information determines entirely the structure, functions and behavioral traits of living organisms could also be scientifically premature.
How, then, are similarities and differences between different kinds of creatures to be interpreted? Consider the following question: Why do practically all automobiles have four wheels rather than three or five? Quite simply, experience has shown that four wheels afford the most practical arrangement for an automobile. Therefore, automobiles, while differing in many other respects, are all designed by practical-minded engineers around the basic four-wheel scheme. Thus it is only reasonable and to be expected, for example, that the Creator would use a practical basic tetrapod design for the vertebrates. The basic design framework is a backbone and four limbs, eminently practical and adaptable to many specific applications. This is simply one aspect of an orderly universe which is the result of a systematic plan and design framed and applied by the omniscient and omnipotent Creator.
On a more fundamental level, the similarities between species in cell structure, in the biochemical systems which provide energy and building materials for all species, and in the structure of the basic building-block molecules, such as amino acid, sugar and fat molecules, as well as of the larger protein molecules, also fit in with the creation model: basic designs are modified for specific applications. There is no more proof that the molecules in the species are homologous, i.e., that they were inherited from common ancestral molecules, than there is proof that the larger structures are homologous. In all the schemes for supposed molecular evolution there are inconsistencies and also large gaps which must be filled in by faith.
A recent book, Homology. The Hierarchical Basis of Comparative Biology, is reviewed very favorably in Science by Prof. David B. Wake of the University of California, Berkeley. In introducing his review he writes:10
In his closing paragraph Prof. Wake comments, "While I benefitted from reading the book, I found no reason to change my personal definition of homology (which is not worth repeating, since I cannot even convince students in my own lab of the correctness of my position!)." During two centuries homology has been accepted as the most fundamental evidence for evolution. Yet its definition is still unsettled and confidence in its explanatory power is "based more on hope than on certainty."
A good example of alleged molecular homology is afforded by the a- and b-hemoglobin molecules of land vertebrates including man.11 These supposedly are homologous with an ancestral myoglobin molecules similar to human myoglobin. Two a- and two b-hemoglobin molecules associate together to form the marvelous human hemoglobin molecule which carries oxygen and carbon dioxide in our blood. But myoglobin acts as single molecules to transport and store oxygen in our muscles. An ancient original myoglobin is supposed to have spun off variants that evolved slowly along two paths, until the precisely designed a- and b-hemoglobins crafted to function only linked together in a combination of four (called a tetramer) to work in the blood in a much different way under very different conditions from myoglobin in the muscle. What we have today in modern myoglobin and hemoglobin molecules are marvels of perfect design for special, highly demanding tasks.12 Is there any evidence that scores of intermediate, partly-evolved molecules ever did serve, or that they could have served, for useful functions during this imaginary evolutionary change process? There is no such information. Modern vertebrates can tolerate very little variation in these molecules. Thus, the supposed evolutionary history of the allegedly homologous globulin molecules is a fantasy, not scientifically demonstrated fact as the secular scientists assume.
Hemoglobin molecules exhibit other mysteries. They occur not only in vertebrate animals, but also in yeast, the mold Neurospora, and in the root nodules of beans. Hemoglobins occur in some species of every major category of life except sponges, coelenterates(jelly fish, etc.) and protochordates(mostly worm-like creatures having a limited nerve chord). The latter are supposedly ancestral to vertebrates, which also possess hemoglobin. But it is obvious that this distribution of hemoglobin does not fit with the idea that similarities indicate common descent, for it would be ridiculous to believe that humans inherited their hemoglobin molecules from yeast. And independent evolution of hemoglobin in so many different species appears highly improbable. Facts such as these, plus the amazingly proficient structure and functions of the hemoglobin molecule suggest to many people that hemoglobin was created. This conclusion is not contrary in the least to the pertinent scientific data or to good logic. Homology at the level of molecules is actually today a part of the modern study of molecular evolution. This subject will be examined more in detail below.
We can safely conclude that homology, at every levelbody structure, cell structure, biochemical systems, and molecular structureis an inconsistent and unsatisfactory theory and thus inconclusive evidence for evolution. The facts support at least as well or better the concept of special creation of the kinds, with provision for limited variation within each kind and within each structure.
1. MacRae, Allan A., in Modern Science and Christian Faith (Van Kampen Press, Wheaton, Ill., 1954), pp. 231-232.
2. Unger, Merrill F., Archaeology and the Old Testament (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1954), pp. 27ff.
3. Compte, Auguste, Cours de Philosophie Positive (Paris, 1833-1835); Charles Darwin's Notebooks, Paul H. Barrett, et al. editors (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1987), Notebooks M(pp. 70, 81, 135), N(p. 12).
4. Comte is quoted by Neal C. Gillespie in Charles Darwin and the Problem of Creation (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1979), p. 54.
5. Jones, A.J., Creation Research Soc. Quarterly, Vol. 19, Dec. 1982, pp. 156-175.
6. Darwin, Charles, The Origin of Species (J.M. Dent & sons Ltd, London, 1975), in the Glossary, p. 469.
7. Hardy, Sir Allister, The Living Stream (Harper & Row, New York, 1965), pp. 209-223.
8. Denton, Michael, Evolution: A Theory In Crisis (Adler & Adler, Bethesda, MD, 1985), pp. 142-156.
9. De Beer, Sir Gavin, Homology, an Unsolved Problem, J.J. Head and O.E. Lowenstein, editors (Oxford Univ. Press, London, 1971), p. 16.
9A. Wake, Donald B., Science, Vol. 265, 8 July 1994, pp. 268-269.
10. Bodmer, W.F., and L.L. Cavalli-Sforza, Genetics, Evolution and Man (W.H. Freeman, San Francisco, 1976), pp. 419-420.
11. Stryer, Lubert, Biochemistry (W.H. Freeman, San Francisco, 1975), pp. 46-94).
12. Mayr, Ernst, Population, Species, and Evolution (Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge, MA, 1970), p. 58.