Bible, Creationism, Evolution, & Intelligent Design

There’s nothing wrong with the Bible. It is God-breathed. All of it. Its purpose is to lead us to Christ. There issomething wrong with the way biblical literalists have been interpreting the Bible. It’s primarily an American issue. Most of the Christian world sees no conflict between evolution and Bible. 

The purpose of the creation stories in Genesis is to teach us the nature of humanity and God’s purpose for us in God’s world. The first shows us a cosmic God – majestic creator above all, over all. The second shows us an intimate God walking in loving fellowship with the humans God created with his own hands out of soil. They’re both true. 

The creation narratives were never meant to scientifically explain how the natural world came to be. Reading them as such entirely misses the point. God meant for us to have sacred myth as well as sacred history. (I mean “myth” in the sense of a big story that communicates universal truth, not “myth” as is “not true.”) Read properly, the Bible doesn’t contradict thoroughly established science. 

I heard Henry Morris, John Whitcomb, and Ken Ham tell audiences that if the earth is not less than 10,000 years old and was not created fully formed in six 24-hour days, then the Bible is false, unreliable, and you cannot believe anything in it.[1]

Sadly, I’ve seen many young people take them at their word. Having been raised in fundamentalist homes and churches where they were taught young earth creationism (YEC), they take a college course in biology where they discover the whole YEC thing to be false, so they throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water.

It turns out that YEC is easily debunked from a wide variety of scientific disciplines. All the stuff at the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter turns out to be nonsense on the order of believing the earth is flat.[2]

In addition to YEC, there’s Intelligent Design. Now, there’s Intelligent Design and there’s intelligent design. 

One can understand why there’s confusion. All the Christians I know believe in intelligent design, if by (lower case) “intelligent design” we mean God is the creator of the natural world. God is intelligent, so the mind behind all of creation is intelligent. God has a purpose in creation. Creation is headed somewhere.

As an amateur naturalist, I look at the wonders of nature and take note of the intricacies, beauty, and astonishing adaptations and variety. I consider the fine-tuned constants of the universe and the beauty of the mathematics that describes them, and I cannot help but come to the conclusion that God exists, God is wonderfully creative, a lover of variety and beauty, and has been the guiding hand of unfolding creation. The idea that it all happened just by chance seems so unlikely as to be absurd. That’s intelligent design (lower case). 

Intelligent Design (capitalized; abbreviated ID) is a formal effort to prove God exists by looking at nature. ID is a pseudoscientific[3] hypothesis associated with the Discovery Institute, a conservative Christian think-tank. 

ID asserts that there must be a God who created nature because some things are irreducibly complex; they cannot be explained any other way. Various examples are given of complexities in nature. William Dembski adds what he calls “specified complexity” –  the fact that complex patterns can be found in living things indicates some kind of intelligent guidance in their formation.

While I would agree that amazing complexity is evidence for a creator, it is not the proof ID maintains it is. I cannot prove the existence of God. I can give you very strong evidence, but there is always the remote possibility of alternative explanations. And, even if ID could prove the existence of a creator, that would tell us nothing about the nature of that creator. 

Every time ID comes up with something that seems so complex that it cannot be explained evolutionarily, scientists offer very plausible evolutionary explanations. ID is really just another “God of the gaps” theory. Whatever we do not understand we attribute to God. Then, as knowledge advances, one by one, all the gaps get filled in.

Evolution is not a “theory,” as in something that may or may not be true. It is a scientific theory like gravity – a mechanism of life supported independently by a vast number of different scientific fields all coming to the same conclusion. Biology, botany, molecular biology, paleontology, genetics, zoology, anthropology, geology, and many other disciplines, independently conclude that life on earth evolved over time due to natural selection. The burgeoning field of genetics is the nail in the coffin of ID and YEC. 

The universe came into being about 14 billion years ago. The earth is around 4½ billion years old. Ancestors of humans populated the earth somewhere between 5 and 7 million years ago. Modern humans first appeared in Africa about 200,000 years ago. We are all related to them. 

Rather than shake my faith, that enhances it. Creation and Creator are so much more glorious and wondrous than I could have imagined. Each day with each new insight is a delight. A better understanding of the mechanisms of nature only increases our sense of awe. We’ve nothing to fear.

[1] I’m struck by the fact none of those men are (or were) scientists. I’m also struck by the fact that atheists like Richard Dawkins make exactly the same argument. Morris, Whitcomb and Ham make the argument to reject science. Dawkins uses the same argument to reject belief in God. All of them are reading the Bible incorrectly. All of them are reading the Bible on the level of primary Sunday school class.

[2] For an intelligent discussion on how faith in Christ integrates with science (and vice-versa) check out BioLogos @

[3] It is pseudoscientific because it begins with the conclusion. It starts with the assumption God exists, then tries to work backwards to prove it. Science does the opposite – it begins with evidence, then draws tentative conclusions. 

About Dr. Larry Taylor

Radical Anabaptist, Jesus Freak, Red Letter Christian, sailor, thinker, spiritual director, life coach, pastor, teacher, chaplain, counselor, writer, husband, father, grandfather, dog-sitter

Posted on April 20, 2023, in creation. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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