5 Things Christians Should Remember on Darwin Day
Today, two hundred and eight years ago, the naturalist Charles Darwin was born. In recent years there’s been a push to celebrate his life and work by commemorating his birthday as Darwin Day. There has even been a push to celebrate Darwin in the church. The Clergy Letter Project, led by atheist Michael Zimmerman, promotes Evolution Weekend, a celebration of the supposed harmony between religion (by which they mean any religion but not those who stand on the authority of God’s Word) and science (by which they mean evolution). Because Darwin Day, February 12, falls on a Sunday this year, both days are celebrated at the same time in 2017.
So how should Christians view Darwin Day and Evolution Weekend? Let’s remember a few key things.
- Darwin had the right ideas—but he took them way too far. What Darwin saw was natural selection, an observable process all around us. Natural selection, or survival of the fittest to reproduce, removes weak and less fit organisms from the environment, allowing those that are more fit to reproduce and pass along their genes to the next generation. When Darwin observed finches with different sized beaks while on the Galapagos, he was seeing natural selection in action. But he took these ideas too far. He thought that small changes within a kind could add up to big changes between kinds. But there is no known mechanism that can change one kind of creature into another kind. Natural selection can’t do this because it only acts on existing genetic material. It can’t add anything that wasn’t already there!
- God created each kind with a tremendous amount of genetic variability. This allows the same kind of organism to fill various and differing biological and environmental niches. Think of lions hunting on the safari, tigers stalking through the jungle, and cougars prowling around snowy mountain ranges. The incredible variability God created into each kind helps preserve the kind as the environment changes. Without that genetic variability, kinds would not be able to speciate and would quickly go extinct.
- “Kind” is approximately on the same level as “family” in our modern classification scheme. So God created the cat kind, the dog kind, the bear kind, the equid (horse) kind, and on it goes. He didn’t create individual species. Those are the result of speciation since the Flood. But, just like we read in Scripture, organisms only reproduce according to their kinds.
- Evolutionary ideas are incompatible with Scripture. Any attempt to put millions of years or evolution into the Bible undermines God’s Word. For example, evolution is a supposed process of millions of years of death, extinction, and killing. If this took place before Adam’s sin then death was part of creation before sin (Genesis 2:17). And yet Scripture says that death is the penalty for sin—it’s because of sin that we have death (Romans 5:12, 1 Corinthians 15:22). Evolutionary ideas directly contradict Scripture.
- You aren’t rejecting science by rejecting evolution. Evolution is a naturalistic interpretation imposed on the evidence. You see, you can’t directly test, observe, or repeat the past. So what you believe about the past determines your interpretation of the evidence. If you start with the idea of millions of years, you are going to reach an entirely different conclusion than if you start with the eyewitness account recorded in God’s Word.
This Darwin Day, don’t celebrate Darwin. Instead, take time to thank the Creator for the incredible variety He designed into DNA and this wonderful world that He has made.
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