I am sure you've
noticed that there is a lot of attention today in the media;
on television, and in magazines about the conflict between
creationism and evolution. And in this series of messages
on Creation, I want to address this issue here and now,
There does not need to be a conflict between intelligent
people who endorse the process of evolution and intelligent
Christians who endorse the Holy Scripture's account of creationism
in Genesis 1. The key is to avoid extreme positions. Now
I will be getting some criticisms for this message, but
I know in advance that it is going to come from the extremists.
Any time there is an issue; there are those who are the
moderates in the middle. There are those who take an extreme
position for the right and on the left are the extremists
who take a position far to the left. Yes, there are extremists
on both the right and the left. That's the problem in the
conflict between evolution and creation.
I was taught in college and seminary there is a reality
called evolution, and that's okay if you see evolution as
a process but don't ever turn it into a philosophy.
And the extremists on the left choose to turn the process
of evolution into a philosophy in order to support their
agenda, which is atheism. Meanwhile, the extremists on the
radical right take every verse and every word of Genesis
1, in the Bible and interpret it extremely literally when
it was meant to be allegoric or figurative.
Science and Religion
Both Search for Truth
Taught to be moderate, I am thankful for the great education
I have had. When I was a student at Hope College in Holland,
Michigan, it was listed among the top ten colleges and universities
in America, along side Princeton and Harvard. And when it
came to the subject of science and religion there was never
a problem at Hope College, because both groups were in the
same business of searching for truth, and then applying
the truth to life. So I've always seen intelligent, humble
scientists as partners in ministry, as together we seek
to understand life and what it is all about. And so if you
have studied in a liberal arts college, you are taught to
respect not just your specialty, turning it into a god,
but you are taught to respect all of life's realities in
the departments of the humanities and the arts, as well
as in science.
Live is Made Up of Facts,
Mysteries and Faith
So philosophy, religion, psychology and tradition in history
are reviewed very carefully and very respectfully. We never
had a conflict at Hope College between science and religion.
When something came up that was refreshing or new or presented
as a new idea, it was reviewed carefully. I came through
Hope College with an understanding that life is made up
of facts, that you don't debate them (two times two is four).
There are the facts, but also there are the mysteries,
and the purpose of intelligent living is to discover
the meaning of life¡¦s mysteries. And that is where
faith comes in, facts, mysteries, and faith.
What we do know beyond a doubt, whether you are coming out
of science, or the humanities, which is my tract, we have
a world on our hands and we can't get rid of the argument.
It is a world made of dirt, stone and sky. We
have a world on our hands! We have a cosmos on our hands!
We have a universe on our hands!
We have LIFE on our
hands ¡K Where did it all come from?
Well, that's a good question, be humble as you listen to
the answers. We have life on
our hands! We're not just living on a universe made up of mud,
sky, stone and planets. But in this mix there is a thing
called life, miniature life, microscopic life, and human
life, where human beings have the capacity to think, argue,
debate, and make judgments and decisions. And when you bring
all of life down to its beginning, it starts in a realm
called "spirit." Ultimately it is spirit. Out
of spirit comes life. It is true for humans. Yes, we have
a world on our hands! We have life on our hands! We have
a lot of mysteries on our hands, and we are living
in an arena called "process." Life is a process
and that is where evolution comes in. There is no doubt
about that because you can see evolution in how a mixture
of breeds can produce variations of live creatures. It can
be evolution or devolution.
Evolution is a process. That is the way it was planned to
be, but don't ever turn the process of evolution into a
philosophy. Many of the extremists in the evolutionary camp
lose their appreciable intelligence when they become dogmatic.
Captured by an intellectual arrogance they lose their humility.
Even as those in the extreme right in creationism lose my
respect when they take miniature issues and turn them into
a majority. You and I can't deny the process of evolution,
but don't ever turn the process into a philosophy to try
to create an excuse for atheism. Likewise, believers can
be accused of creating a religion as a philosophy to defend
their faith. Yes! We live in a world and there is life all
around us. We live in the midst of evolution and
The Bible was recorded over a couple of thousand years ago,
and it is an amazing thing how the Bible has never been
proven wrong. I remember in a class at Hope College, when
we were discussing evolution, the professor said, "It
is amazing how the Bible really unfolds creation in Genesis
and it is the same process that evolution is telling how
the world came to be. If the Bible was a man-made book and
not a God-made book, here is how Genesis would read:
'God made a man and a woman. They were number one, the most
important of all creation. Then God wanted them to have
food to eat, so God created plants, fish and birds.'
The process would all start with the man and woman. That's
human nature, but the human being is the last thing that
God created in Genesis 1, not the first thing. Yes, it is
a miracle that over two thousand years ago the creation
account recorded in the Bible and science gives the same
Atheism has spread the past fifty years, primarily through
Anthony Flew, the world's most prominent philosopher from
England. It is an amazing story how he became the king of
atheism, and how he influenced the hearts of the universities
in this country and abroad. At the peek of his profession,
25 percent of the scientists were becoming atheists. But
now today, closer to 80 percent of the scientists are becoming
believers in Something. For many of them it is God, and
for many it is Jesus. Flew has joined the believers, that
is amazing. Science is bringing back faith in God!
The Human Being is Designed
to Have Faith
The more I study the human being, the more I realize there
was Something that created us. We are the only creature
designed to have faith and designed to be creative.
Now the amazing thing is where did creativity start? In
the Garden of Eden, wherever that was. Who started creativity?
It was the Creator God, and He created a creature, unlike
any other four footed, two footed, or flying creature, called
the human being, with an instinctive, incurable addiction
to a God out there. Like the salmon goes out of the river
into the vast ocean, then at the right time, it manages
to find the right stream to go back to where it was an egg,
and there it bears fruit of its eggs and dies. There are
theories, but no one knows how a salmon does that. It is
built in nature, and the more
we study nature, the easier it is,
if we are humble, to believe in a Creator.
Is There a God?
So where does this lead? It leads to the inevitable ability
of asking, is there a God? I remember reading about Simonides, that great philosopher,
who centuries ago, was at that time called the wisest man
in the world. And young people came to him to ask one question,
"Simonides, what is God?" He had never been asked
that question before and he said, "Give me a day to
think about it, then come back." So they came back
the next day and they said. "Simonides, what is God?"
He said, "Give me a week to think about it." And
they came back in a week and they said "Now, Simonides
tell us what is God." He said, "I still don¡¦t
know the answer. I need to think about it some more. Come
back in a month." They came back in a month, "Simonides,
what is God?" He said, "I need more time, come
back in a year." So they came back after a year and
again they asked, "What is God." And he said,
"I am no further along in answering that question than
I was the first day you asked me." This means, of course,
that we ultimately depend upon revelation when it comes
to spiritual knowledge.
When something is invisible and there is no tangible way
of examining it through a microscope, a telescope, through
chemistry, or mathematics, we come back to dealing with
life¡¦s mysteries with a thing called faith. e HeH
That's what life is all about
¡K facts, mysteries and finally faith.
That's reality. It is not mythology.
I remember reading about an Arab who lived in a tent in
the desert. He was known to be a believer in God and they
came to him one day and said, "Why do you believe in
God?" He said, "Because He walked outside my tent."
"What? How do you know He walked outside your tent?"
"Well, He has walked inside my life too." "How
do you know it is God?" He said, "How do I know
it was God and not a camel? I walked outside my tent. I
looked at the footprints; I can see the footprints of God
all around me all my life."
I say to you today, I see the footprints of God in nature.
I see the footprints of God in you. You were born to be
creative, and I see the footprints of God in Jesus Christ.
There is a beautiful scene in the Glory of Creation production
being held here in the Crystal Cathedral this summer. The
story opens with a little boy in a boat, with his grandpa,
and attention is called to the stars, and the little boy
asks, "Where do they come from, Grandpa?" There
is a point in the story when Adam and Eve have eaten the
apple and the beauty of creation collapses. After the fall,
all of the light and sound and beauty of this place turns
to deadness. It is shocking. The little boy sees what happened
and says to grandpa, "Grandpa," speaking of Adam
and Eve, "Grandpa, why did they throw it all away?
I wouldn¡¦t have thrown it away ¡K what made
them do it?" Then he looks up to what is known as the
Presence, by this time you know it is God, and the little
boy says, "God, why did You let them do it? If I were
You, I wouldn¡¦t have let them do it." And
the voice comes back and says, "Probably you would,
if you love them as much as I do!" That is very profound.
There is a God. He loves us, even enough to give us the
freedom not to believe. And you are a child of God. You
are a human being designed for faith. That is proof that
there was a Mastermind at the beginning ¡K and He became
a Savior called Jesus. Hallelujah.
Let¡¦s pray: Dear God, Thank You for the Bible. Thank
You for Jesus Christ. Thank You for our faith. Thank You
for the growth that is happening in our mind and in our
spirit. Keep us close to You, Lord, that we can be the creative
people You want us to be. Amen.