by T.A. McMahon @ thebereancall.org
I’m extremely blessed to have friends who are very knowledgeable about science and whose calling it is to use their knowledge to reach the lost and to help believers stay the biblical course in the spiritual battle between beliefs in creation and evolution.
I’m blessed because science is hardly in my comfort zone, and my friends are always there for me with explanations that I can understand (no small feat), so I’m thankful for their long-suffering in helping me to that end. I want to use what the Bible says about creation in contrast to evolution just as they do, but I need an approach that is just as solid as theirs but obviously not as deep. I prefer to swim without the fear of drowning. For those who are reading this and have the creation vs. evolution debate well in hand, you still may want to share it with folks or family members who are like me.
There are two things regarding creation witnessing that are foremost on my mind.
- First, I want to be confident in my knowledge of what God’s Word declares about creation
- Second, I want to be confident in communicating the necessity of supernaturalism as the only basis for bringing about the universe and everything in it.
Beginning with what the Scriptures reveal about creation, here are some major points:
1) God created everything (Genesis 1:1).
2) He created everything out of nothing (Hebrews 11:3).
3) Everything was perfect at the time of creation (Genesis 1:31).
4) Jesus, who is both God and man, created all things (John 1:3), and in Him all things consist and are held together (Colossians 1:17).
5) Man’s sin corrupted God’s perfect creation (Romans 8:20-22).
6) Mankind’s sin separated humanity from God yet not from the awareness of God as their Creator (Romans 1:19-20).
Those points are among a host of others supported by many scriptures, and they reveal a Creator who is outside of His creation and infinite in His intelligence and power.
There are two principal beliefs as to how the universe was formed: naturalism and supernaturalism.
Supernaturalism, as noted above, has a Creator/Designer who is not part of creation and who brought everything into existence.
Naturalism, aka evolutionism, is the belief that everything that exists came about without anyone or anything initiating its formation or guiding its development, which took place slowly and naturally over eons.
One of the common false ideas among many people, including Bible-believing Christians, is that those who reject evolution are rejecting science. That makes addressing creation vs. evolution a very worthwhile endeavor. It’s not a matter of defending a Christian’s intelligence but rather challenging the myth that evolution is science. It’s been said that it helps to cut down the trees behind which false beliefs are doing their deceitful work. What are some of those erroneous beliefs?
Is the study of evolution a scientific endeavor? No. A scientific endeavor involves observation, measurement, experiment, and the formulation and testing of a concluding hypothesis. Evolution can’t go there.
What then is the study of evolution? It’s a philosophy, a way of thinking about the universe and how it was formed. Although posing as a scientific study, it is in fact scientism, a speculative ideology (read “religion”) that cannot be verified or falsified by true science.
Why then bother to bring the creation vs. evolution discussion into witnessing opportunities? Here’s a very significant reason: it’s a great way to start talking about God.
A good friend of mine, who is one of my heroes when it comes to sharing the gospel, has taught me that “witnessing is not about presentation but rather ‘conversation,’” and conversations usually provide openings to asking questions and getting responses. Questions keep the conversation rolling. Consider this typical example: “Do you believe in evolution?” “Of course I do.” “I’m asking about the belief that you evolved from less complex kinds of animals over billions of years. Is that what you believe?” “Yeah.” “What’s the main thing that causes you to believe in it?” “Hey…it’s a scientific fact!” “Seriously?” As you might expect, that conversation could get interesting. But what could give it “legs,” meaning it might go in a worthwhile direction (i.e., toward the gospel), is to have plenty of other follow-up questions that are based upon reason, logic, common sense, a bit of science savvy, and certainly biblical truth.
One of the things I love about asking questions is that it usually avoids an immediate defensiveness on the part of those being questioned. Few like to have answers forced upon them, especially when they have no particular interest in or have limited knowledge of the subject. What’s hoped for is that the conversation and the questions will lay the groundwork and motivation for a person seeking answers. Here are some questions regarding people’s belief in evolution (naturalism) that may get them rethinking what they have supposed:
(Q= question, R= response, A= answer, C= comment).
Q: “I’ve been told that there’s no God, and that everything came about by an incredibly long process of nature. Does that sound right to you?” R: “Yeah…that’s probably correct.” My response could be: “Can you think of anything that’s really complex that came into existence on its own?” Or it could be, “So you believe living things evolved from nonliving things. Do you know or have you ever heard of any examples of that?”
Q: “What do you think of the belief that everything that exists came from nothing?” R: “That makes no sense. Things have always existed.” My response: “Well, there’s a law of physics that says the universe is running down, so it must have had a beginning. But before the beginning, what do you think there was?” His R and Q: “Nothing, I guess. But don’t Christians believe God made everything out of nothing?” My R: “Yes.” His Q: “How is that possible? Isn’t God subject to the same physical law you referred to? So, he must have had a beginning.” My R: “No. Not if He exists outside His creation and isn’t subject to the laws He created. If that’s the case, which the Bible claims, He has always existed.”
Some contend that God made everything out of Himself and therefore everything is part of God, meaning everything is God. That is the belief of Hinduism and Buddhism known as pantheism and panentheism and is popularized as an impersonal Force, e.g., Star Wars. Hinduism and Buddhism teach early forms of naturalism/evolutionism that propose the existence and development of everything without personal design and superintendence. If everything is God, then God also comprises all the evil that exists. That’s the dark side of the Force, not the God of biblical Christianity, who is perfectly good and holy.
Q: “Do you think that humans evolved from something less than human?” R: “It’s hard to believe, but that’s what all the evidence points to.” Q: “So it’s from slime to invertebrates to bony fish to creeping/slithering land things to apes to ‘Lucy’ to you and me?” R: “That’s what I’ve been taught. Although I think we’ve lost ground when it comes to our sense of morality.” Q: “Can you think of any animal that’s a clear transition or link between two different kinds of animals?” R: “I’ve been told there are, but I don’t remember what they are.” Q: “Did you know that there are literally millions of fossils of creatures that supposedly lived in prehistoric times and later, yet there are less than a handful of those that are promoted as ‘transitional fossils,’ all of which are questionable at best? Shouldn’t there be millions of examples of intermediate or transitional fossils?”
Q: “What do you know of the Big Bang Theory…other than the television comedy show?” R: “Supposedly it’s the way the universe began.” Q: “Why do you say ‘supposedly?’” R: “I’m an engineer and I have trouble believing that what I recognize as incredible design in nature and the way we go about building things…I can’t see all of that having started with an immeasurable explosion. I like the TV show, but I don’t buy the so-called scientific theory.” Q: “Are you a Christian?” R: “Not really. I bailed out on organized religion.” Q: “Why was that?” R: “I was a Catholic and got tired of being told what to believe and especially the customary reason given for it: ‘Because the Church says so.’” Q: “Did you stop believing in God?” R: “Probably not. I just don’t go there anymore.” Q: As an engineer, would it be your best guess that God is the Designer of the universe?” R: “It would be more than a guess. My math is pretty good, and the astounding complexities I see in everything—from plants to animals to the human body—render the idea that they evolved naturally a bad guess. As far as probability goes, it’s a farce. It could never happen by chance, in my view.” Q: “Did you know that God said in the Bible, ‘Come let us reason together’? I really enjoy talking with you because you seem like a very reasonable guy.” R: “Where does it say in the Bible God wants to reason with us? I like that.” A: “Isaiah:1:18. Let me show it to you so you can read it for yourself.”
We never know where a conversation will take us when we go about trying to share the gospel. Sometimes we hit a brick wall and that’s the end of it. So we move on, maintaining a pleasant attitude as we look for our next opportunity to point them to their Creator and Savior. Even in those times when we are abruptly rejected regarding what we share, seeds that may lead to conviction have been planted. Whether or not they take root and bear fruit is up to the person. The process of creation witnessing, with its conversations, questions, and answers, is to be carried out with complete dependence upon the Holy Spirit. Our part is simply to obey the Lord’s leading and be thankful for the opportunities He provides.
The conversation, questions, and answers I’ve supplied are just samples of what the interaction could be like. Here are a few more:
Q: “Do you think that all living things evolved?” R: “From what I understand about evolution, that’s the process, and it includes everything.”
Q: “What about some things that can’t work if they had to evolve?” R: “Give me an example.” A & Q: “Your eyes. Their complexity is mind blowing. The number and speed of the functions they carry out are far beyond our most advanced supercomputers (which, by the way, were designed). Yet the eye itself could not function unless every incredibly intricate part was in place. Forget the idea of a potential eye hanging in there for millions of years waiting for what it needs to work.” R: “I hear what you’re saying.” C: “Speaking of hearing, it’s the same situation regarding your ears. Consider their astounding complexity! If ears relied upon random mutation-driven developments progressing from simple to complex over long periods of time in order to function, we’d all be deaf. All the multitude of astoundingly complex components of eyes and ears must be in place at once or neither body part will work.”
Q: “No doubt you’ve heard the question, ‘What came first, the chicken or the egg?’ Did you ever wonder who came first, man or woman?” R: “Never thought about it. I’m aware that Christians believe man was created first, but I don’t know about that.” Q: “Are you thinking they evolved?” R: “Yeah. Q: So which one evolved from the other?” R: “Does it make any difference?” My R: “Probably not…as long as the male or female can evolve the necessary opposite sexual body parts to enable impregnation and child birth.” Q: “How can that happen?” R: “Evolutionists admit that they don’t have a clue.”
All the questions above were ones I made up with the hope that I might get a conversation going with someone I meet. I have some idea of the response I’ll get, but I never really know. So I trust the Lord to give me an answer to the person’s response, or a follow-up question. As the title of this article indicates, this witnessing approach majors on things related to creation and evolution. One of the goals, in addition to steering the talk in the direction of biblical truth, particularly regarding our Creator Jesus and the gospel, is to get people to think about some ideas they have that are actually bogus. What they believe about evolution is a denial of their Creator, and therefore it’s a great subject to address, especially because of all the myths about evolution. Additionally, a science degree is rarely necessary because the myths have more to do with irrationality and a lack of common sense than knowing an atomic number on the periodic table.
As I hope you can see, this is not a “by-the-numbers” witnessing method devised by T. A. It’s an approach that involves the Holy Spirit helping a believer to put together lots of questions on different subjects that will get a conversation going and then directing it as He leads. All of us are well practiced in conversation, so that shouldn’t be a problem.
Another question I like is a point blank: “Do you believe in God?” To a “yes” answer I might follow up with “Tell me what you believe and where you got those beliefs.” Or “Do you think it’s possible to have a personal relationship with God?” Or “What do you think about Jesus?”
Or, if you know or are in the presence of someone who uses the Lord’s name in vain (more out of habit than intending anything mean-spirited by it), here’s a question you might consider asking: “You keep referring to Jesus. Sounds like you know Him, and I was wondering what you could tell me about Him!” That could be an interesting conversation.
Does that seem a little too bold for you? Remember, boldness is necessary according to the Scriptures. Why? Because the critical issue is where a person will spend eternity. The Apostle Paul declared this prayer for himself—as well as for us:
“And for me, [praying] that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians:6:19-20).
My prayer is that our Creator God will give us all an increasing desire and heart to witness of the love He has for all His created beings.