The Orgin of Mankind –Evolution of Creation
by Chi-Yu King
What is the origin of mankind? Most of us find this a difficult question to answer. Was man created by God as presented in the Bible or is man a step in evolution as proposed by Darwin (1859) and others? These questions have been hotly debated for over a century, but many participants in the debate have been inadequately educated in either science or the Bible.
The Evolution Theory
Evolution is a theory; however, it is often taught as a scientific truth or fact regarding the origin of species. The evolution theory does not provide adequate answers to a number of questions about the differences between humans and other animals. For example, why do humans worship God or engage in similar religious activities when animals don’t? Why do humans wear clothes regardless of weather conditions while no other animals do even when they are very cold? Humans are also superior in language, civilization, science, and technology. Throughout the known history of several thousand years, humans have made tremendous progress in these areas, while other animals remain unchanged.
The evolution theory does not answer the question of “first cause” which is the ultimate origin of everything. No scientific or other theory adequately addresses “first cause.” The evolution theory suggests human ancestors evolved from some lower level animals progressively over a long period of time. It does not explain adequately where the first living animal or cell originated. The arguments that it evolved from certain organic materials which in turn evolved from certain inorganic materials all suffer from lack of scientific evidence. Even if one accepts such arguments, one may still ask: Where did all the inorganic materials come from?
To answer the question of the ultimate origin of everything, one needs to under-stand the Big-Bang theory of astronomy. According to this theory, billions of years ago, the universe began with a big bang or explosion. This theory does not answer adequately such questions as: What was there before the big bang? Why was there such a big bang? Why is the universe so orderly after the big bang (unlike the messy aftermath of a big explosion ordinarily seen)? Who ordained the various natural laws such as gravitation?
Basically, the problem with evolution theory is that it is based upon two unproven presuppositions of atheism and materialism. By assuming there is no God (atheism) and no creator, one is forced to accept the concept of evolution of one species from another. For example, if one assumes (ridiculously) there is no manufacturer of robots, then to explain the origin of all kinds of robots one is forced to accept the assertion that newer and more sophisticated robots evolved from older, simpler ones. Since the existence of God is neither scientifically proven nor disproven, we need to consider both possibilities in an unbiased manner.
We should treat atheism as a presumption, or another kind of religion, not as scientific truth. The same is true with materialism which denies the existence of non-material substances such as spirit and soul. On the presumption of materialism, the evolution theory compares only the physical parts of human and animal beings, not their spirit or soul. The situation is somewhat like dealing with only the hardware of computers without considering the software which controls the hardware. In any scientific investigation, if one considers only partial evidence, one has a high risk of being wrong.
The Biblical Creation Viewpoint
Many people believe the Bible says that human ancestors and the whole universe were created about 6,000 years ago. Actually, this date is not stated in the Bible but was estimated by Bishop Ussher (1581-1656) of Ireland based on certain genealogies given in the Bible. However, Bishop Ussher did not realize the words “begot” and “son” in the original languages of the Bible, Hebrew and Greek, may be used for not only father-son but also for ancestor-descendent relationships. For example, Jesus is called the son of David and son of Abraham (John 1:1), even though they are separated by many generations. Thus Ussher’s estimation of 6,000 years may be significantly shorter than the length of actual human history. In other words, the Bible does not preclude the possibility that the creation process described in Chapter 1 of Genesis was done at a significantly earlier time.
Another important and commonly ignored point mentioned in the Bible is that God created not just one world, but multiple worlds: “...through whom (the Son) He made the worlds” (Hebrews 1:2). The word “worlds” in the original Greek language implies worlds that are different in time (on the same earth), not in space (on different planets). This point is clearly stated in 2 Peter 3:5-7: “...the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and earth which now exist are kept in store by the same word...” The destruction of previous world(s) may explain extinction(s) of species millions of years ago, as evidenced by fossils. Also the Bible mentions how God created the material worlds, namely, out of something invisible by speaking His word: “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3).
How God can create the material worlds out of nothing by merely speaking remained mysterious for thousands of years until Einstein’s discovery of mass-energy convertibility in his Special Relativity Theory. Because God’s word is powerful or full of energy (unlike man’s word) and is also living and full of intelligence (Hebrews 4:12; Jeremiah 10:12; Proverbs 3:19), it is reasonable that He could create the orderly worlds full of living beings by merely speaking.
A third biblical point ignored by many people, is that God not only created things out of nothing, but also made and formed things out of something already in existence. For example, the Bible used all of the above three verbs in the case of man: “Everyone who is called by my name, whom I have created for my glory; I have formed him, yes I have made him” (Isaiah 43:7). Man can make and form things, but cannot create things out of nothing in the biblical sense. With theses points clarified, we may now try to better understand the creation process described in chapter 1 of Genesis, which was written about 3,400 years ago. In Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” the verb “created” is used. This may be a statement about the beginning of the universe which is not inconsistent with the “Big Bang” theory currently supported by most astronomers. The Bible does not preclude the possibility that the big bang occurred many billion years ago since no time frame is mentioned. It explains uch occurrences better than the big-bang theory because it tells us who did this (God) and how. Psalm 33:6 and 9 says, “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.... For He spoke and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.” John 1:1 and 3 tells us, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ...All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” Thus this great and orderly universe did not come by chance, but by God’s design and creation, manifesting God’s great power and intelligence. Note also the word “heavens” is appropriately plural, but the word “earth” is singular. This usage anticipates later discoveries that the heavens consist of not only the firmament (the atmosphere; see Genesis 1:8), but also the moon, sun, and stars, which are much farther away, as we now know from science.
In the first half of Genesis 1:2 we read, “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep.” The Bible may be describing an environmental condition on the earth (in a previous world) billions of years after the creation and just prior to God’s creating the present world. At that time, not only has the surface of the earth covered with water, but so was the atmosphere with (vapor, fog, and cloud), so the sunlight could not penetrate through. Thus, the earth’s surface was in darkness. Why did the earth deteriorate in this manner? This may be due to judgment/destruction brought about by the fall of some spiritual creature, namely Satan, who had been put in charge of that world but who later sinned against God, as hinted in Isaiah 14:12-17 and Ezekiel 28:11-19. A similar description is used in the Bible for a future judgment/destruction (Jeremiah 4:23). The previous destruction may have affected other creatures (e.g., dinosaurs) causing their extinction; and many fossils may be their remains. Since no time frame is mentioned in Genesis 1:2, the Bible does not preclude the possibility that such fossils are millions of years old.
The creation, making, and shaping of the present world by the triune God during a six-day period (Exodus 20:11) is then described in more detail in the following verses. Genesis 1:2 describes it as a preparation, “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” This sentence may possibly also define the sphere of God’s work on the present world, namely the earth and its atmosphere where the waters existed. On the first day God let light be seen on the earth’s surface (Genesis 1:3, describing from the to-be-created human’s point of view). Note the Bible has not used the word “create” here. Thus the light is from the same sun created at the beginning, as mentioned in verse 1. What God did was probably reduce the amount of water in the atmosphere so that the atmosphere became translucent, much like a cloudy day at present. Note also that God saw the light to be good (1:4), not the darkness, which has the connotation of sin and evil in the Bible. With the appearance of light as well as darkness, it became possible (again from a human point of view) to distinguish night and day in a 24-hour cycle. There is no need to extend this cycle into thousand of years in order to explain the scientifically estimated antiquity of many things such as the fossils, because there was a previous world (or worlds) to take care of that.
The Bible then describes in Genesis 1:6-8 how God on the second day, by speaking, made (not created) the air (firmament). He did so by separating the waters above the air from the waters below. Here we see the atmosphere had been full of waters as interpreted above. The statement “And God called the firmament Heaven” (written about 3,400 years ago) is far ahead of the scientific discovery that the blue sky and white/dark clouds we see are just the atmosphere. Note the word “Heaven” used here is appropriately singular (unlike verse 1), not including heavenly bodies above the atmosphere. Note also, in spite of the air’s importance, God did not praise the air, as He commonly did with things He made/created on the other five days. Perhaps this omission was intended as a hint that the atmosphere was (and still is) where the spiritual hosts of wickedness were (and are) residing (Ephesians 2:2; 6:12).
Verses 9-13 in Genesis 1 continue to describe what God did on the third day, namely, letting the dry land rise above the surface water and letting various plants grow from the ground in preparation of a habitable place for human and other land animals He was going to create/make later. Genesis 1:14-19 gives a description of how God made the sun, the moon, and the stars on the fourth day for the purposes of time keeping and illumination. Note the verb used here is “made,” not “created.” Thus the sun, moon, and stars were the same ones created at the beginning of creation (verse 1). God perhaps modified these heavenly bodies, or their light paths to the earth’s surface, on the fourth day. One of the modification possibilities is that God continued to decrease the moisture in the atmosphere so that not only the light from these bodies might pass through the atmosphere but also so that the bodies themselves might become visible from the ground (i.e., cloudy days became sunny). If understood this way, the Bible does not preclude the possibility of the multi-billion-year age of the universe estimated astronomically. Also, since time keeping was possible, the fourth day and every other day in this chapter should be a 24-hr day as in the present.
Verses 20-23 describe how on the fifth day God created (a verb used only the second time in the chapter) the animals in water and air according to their kind. This creation includes the action of forming out the ground as well (see 2:19). Of course, it does not preclude the possibility that similar creatures had existed in water and air in the previous world/worlds. On the first half (probably night time) of the sixth day, God let the earth bring forth the land animals, each according to its kind (vv. 24-25), as in the previous cases of plants and animals in water and air. The statement “each according to its kind” does not preclude the possibility of some physiological changes (or so-called micro-evolution) in time within each kind (Psalm 102:26). An obvious example of such a change is the different human races derived from the same origin (Acts 17:26), namely Adam via Noah. Thus the Bible explains automatically why inter-racial breeding and blood transfusion (of the same blood type) are feasible.
On the remaining half day (probably day time), the triune God held a meeting before creating humans, defining their qualifications (in God’s image and according to God’s likeness) and purpose (to have dominion over the earth and other creatures on earth); and so He created the human ancestors, Adam and Eve (vv. 26-31). God’s creation of humans also involved the action of making and forming, as stated in Isaiah 43:7. For Adam this is also stated in slightly more detail in verse 2:7: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.” Since the human body (the hardware) was formed from the same materials (the dust of the ground) as other land animals by the same God, it is not surprising that they bear similarities. However, the human beings were given something not given to other animals, namely, the breath of life, which is the spirit. This is why only human beings can worship and communicate with God, for God is spirit (John 4:24). Adam was created/made/formed to have three parts: spirit, soul, and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 4:12). God’s intention was probably for man to communicate with God by his spirit, and through his soul (including mind, emotion, and will) he could command his body to carry out God’s assignment. In contrast, other animals have souls but no spirits and thus cannot communicate with God.
Concerning the previously mentioned question about clothing, the Bible has also given a reasonable explanation. Human ancestors originally did not wear clothes either (Genesis 2:25). They began to wear clothes only after they sinned against God by disobeying God’s command not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil; they donned clothes in order to cover up their shame (Genesis 3:7).
To those who ask “Where is God from?” the Bible provided the answer about 3,400 years ago when God states He is “I am” in Exodus 3:14 and John 8:24, 28. This means He is self-originated and always exists throughout eternity. In other words, He is the source, the first cause, of everything.
The creation process described in the Bible, if properly understood, gives a better explanation than the theory of evolution and other scientific theories on the subjects of human origin and first cause. Unlike many ancient legends, it does not contradict any scientific evidence whether archeological, astronomical, or geological. This consistency is amazing because the biblical account was written about 3,400 years ago. It is one of many indications that the Scripture is given by inspiration of God (2 Timothy 3:16), the creator and ultimate maker of everything.