Hot Issues in the Evolution/Creation Controversy - Part I

April 7, 2024 • Dr. Kathy Wood

In today’s episode, we’ll finish up with a history of the controversy, even looking at how Texas plays a part. Then, onto the “hot issues” like how old is the earth? And what “flavors” of creationism are there? And finally, lots of different organisms are really very similar – what is that all about?


So far, we have gone over some of the terminology dealing with evolutionary theory and we have also taken a quick look at a large part of the history of the evolution/creation controversy. So, in this podcast we will finish up the history and then jump into some of the “hot issues” surrounding this controversy. But history first!

As I mentioned in the previous podcast, creationists have been unsuccessfully arguing since the 1980s for equal opportunity to teach creationism in public schools along with evolution. We looked at several court cases to illustrate this. Let’s continue with this line of thought.

In 2019, there were 5 anti-evolution bills introduced in the United States, mostly to protect teachers who wanted to add information about creationism as they taught evolutionary theory, in the interests of “academic freedom”. The main argument that these bills have faced is that in teaching alternative theories to evolution, it presents these theories as equally scientifically valid even though the scientific community as a whole does not agree with them.

It is argued by the scientific community that this anti-evolution and pro-creationist sentiment could have a huge negative impact on students and our educational system as a whole. According to the pro-evolutionist argument, 1st of all because it is unconstitutional to teach creationism and secondly because it may let students reject science and the scientific method in favor of keeping their pre-existing beliefs without questioning those beliefs at all. As the world becomes more scientifically oriented, a larger number of students would be unprepared to compete.

Now let’s take a quick look at Texas. What we do in Texas sometimes affects the entire United States, believe it or not. In 2013, the Texas Board of Education approved a biology textbook presenting evolution as the only explanation for development of life on earth. This was followed in 2017 by the elimination of any language that openly questioned evolution in the science curriculum of Texas schools. Since public schools are funded by the state, it was decided that much care had to be taken to prevent infringing on the 1st Amendment which deals with establishing religion within a government entity.

Well, why does that matter, except in Texas? Here’s the answer – Texas purchases more high school science textbooks than any other state. That means that whatever science standards are approved by the Texas Board of Education will be in the textbooks ordered by the state and this to a great extent determines what textbooks are used throughout the United States.

I think we have had enough history for now!

Now, let’s shift over to some of the hot issues surrounding this controversy. Let me say from the beginning that we could actually spend hours on the “hot issues”. If you simply Google the evolution/creation controversy, you can immediately see that lots of people have lots to say on both sides of the argument. We don’t have time to deal with all of that but, as I mentioned in the last podcast, we will touch on the biggest areas of disagreement – the origin and age of the earth, the origin of life on the earth, and the origin of humans as we continue. So here we go!

Exactly how old is the earth? Evolutionary theory states that organisms originated/developed about 4.5 billion years ago and that humans are a relatively “new creation” which evolved from previous, lesser organisms and that we are still evolving into something even better. Creationists, on the other hand, base their position on what the Bible says about God creating the earth and all life, and specifically, humans. However, creationists do not all agree on how long it took God to create the earth and life – we will look at some differences in a minute. Nor do they agree on HOW He did it. They do, however, believe that the Bible clearly indicates that we are God’s final creation. In other words, humans are not evolving into something else.

So, let’s look at the different “kinds” of creationism that are out there. We won’t get into all the different types of creationism out there but let’s look at a few of them. The Young Earth creationists and Gap creationists state that God created humanity and that humans did not evolve from earlier primates. (The primates include monkeys, apes, and humans, among a few other animals.) They believe that humans were specially created by God, not by evolution. The main difference between Young Earth and Gap creationism is that the Young Earth creationists say that the earth is less than 10,000 years old and is probably actually around 6000 years old while the Gap creationists believe that the earth really is billions of years old – that whatever science says about it is true. The Young Earth creationists base their belief on a literal reading of the book of Genesis in the Bible which says that all life was created in 6 days. They also look at the genealogical records recorded in the Bible – these records show how long individuals lived and if you add up all the times, it approximates 6000 years, although if the records are not complete, there may be a few thousand years more to reckon with.

Progressive creationists say that humans were specially created by God, but that He based their creation on the anatomy of evolving primates. Intelligent Design creationists say that there was divine or special intervention in the creation of humans and the rest of life on earth because life is too complex to have happened randomly by natural selection. Those holding the theistic evolution viewpoint believe that God “oversaw” creation but strictly used normal evolution to carry out the creative process. Theistic evolutionists differ from strict evolutionists primarily in that they believe God managed the evolution – that the appearance of life on earth was not random in any way.

So what are the main pieces of evidence cited by evolutionists as supporting the theory of evolution? First, similarities between different organisms, especially within their DNA, then the fossil records, the distribution of species geographically, and recorded changes in species. We should also add that in some cases, direct observation, especially in organisms that have short life spans, is also evidence used to support the theory of evolution.

Let’s look at the similarities between different organisms. When scientists began to classify living organisms into different taxonomic groups, the groupings primarily depended on similarities in the anatomy of organisms and, especially in the anatomy of the embryos of those organisms. It was thought that if 2 embryos looked pretty much alike, they probably had a common ancestor.

Since we are able now to look at the actual sequences of genes in different organisms and then compare those sequences to each other, it did not take long to figure out that the compared gene sequences were remarkably similar. The explanation for this by evolutionists is the idea of “common descent”. Common descent means that creatures that have similar genes in their DNA must have evolved from a common ancestor. So, according to evolutionists, if genes in different species are similar in their DNA sequence, that means that there was a common ancestor whose genes changed a little bit so that we ended up with different species. Other than the theistic evolutionists, most creationists do not agree with the evolutionary theory idea of “common descent”. Instead, they say that common genes only mean that the different species had a common designer, which was God.

Since we are talking about DNA right now, this is the perfect place to talk about mutations that can occur in DNA. These mutations are changes in the DNA sequence that can be inherited by the offspring of those animals or plants. Geneticists have long realized that most mutations are deleterious – i.e., they hurt that species – but some mutations are actually helpful to the species. For example, bacteria commonly pick up mutations and even other genes from other species of bacteria that allow them to be resistant to our antibiotics. Obviously, this is a positive mutation as far as the bacteria are concerned!

Along these same lines, creationists consider the process of evolution to be a random process. Evolutionists disagree with this. Indeed, mutations in DNA and in genes may occur randomly but once they have occurred, natural selection is not at all random. For example, if an organism gets a new characteristic because of the mutation, and this characteristic helps them survive a little better and reproduce, that particular characteristic will tend to increase in the population of that organism. Of course, the reverse is also true. That is what natural selection or “survival of the fittest” is and it is not random.

This is probably a good place to bring up another common disagreement between creationists and evolutionists – the subject of macro evolution versus micro evolution. But we have run out of time! Macro evolution and microevolution really introduce the 2nd area of evidence for evolutionary theory anyway – the fossil records. Let’s save that for the next segment, where we will also talk about something called biogeography and those tricky vestigial organs, like the appendix. See you next time!

What is Faith?

June 2, 2024 • Dr. Kathy Wood

The way we define “faith” is very different from what the Bible says it is. In fact, biblical faith changes what you do and how you do it… And it is visible to those around you. We’ll look at what faith REALLY is in this podcast.


May 26, 2024 • Dr. Kathy Wood

Many of us say a blessing before we eat and some of us actually ask God to bless us and other people. But what are we asking for? Is a blessing just some vague set of words before a meal or toward a person? No! FULL TRANSCRIPT: One of my favorite Psalms in the Bible is Psalm 103. Here is how it starts: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.” The verses after that list some of the things that our God does – some of the things that we should bless God for. Those verses talk about not forgetting all that He has done for us and, since I am prone to forget things, I figure it is a good idea to go over and over and over those things. As I lay in bed thinking about getting up every morning, it is not unusual, if you could read my mind, to hear these verses flow through my thoughts. Even in the New Testament of the Bible, there are many references to blessing God. One of them is in Luke 24:53. The disciples have just seen Jesus, after His resurrection from the dead, ascend into heaven. The disciples go back to Jerusalem rejoicing and verse 53 says “they were continually in the temple blessing God”. They were so excited that this was all they could do! So, what does this word “bless” actually mean? The Hebrew word is BERAKAH. It means to increase – to increase joy or peacefulness or goodness if it is used toward men. If it is used toward God, it means an expression of praise or thanks. In Psalm 103, it means we do not hold anything back in our praise and worship of Him – our entire being is praising Him. When it is used to describe how God blesses people, it means “to endow with power for success.” The Greek word is EULOGEO. It is where we get our English word “eulogy”. It means to praise someone or, if God is doing the blessing, it means to cause a person to prosper or to make them happy. Blessing God: Question – Why should we bless God? Answer – Because we are commanded to bless Him. We are commanded to praise Him, worship Him, exalt Him. As we see the overwhelming beauty of his greatness, how could we not burst out in blessing Him? Question – How can we bless Someone who lacks nothing? How can we bless God? Answer – God does not need us to begin with and He does not need anything from us. But He chose us before we ever even knew Him. So, when we bless God we are honoring Him for all that he has done, for His control over all things, for His greatness. That is always appropriate. And it must be a constant part of our relationship with Him. And it must consume our very soul – this is very sobering because most of us are consumed by everything else but this. Ask yourself this question – if God is who He says He is and if I should be consumed by praise and worship of Him, why am I worried about anything? Blessing other people: Numbers 6:22-27 “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, “In this way you shall bless the sons of Israel. You are to say to them: The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you, the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” In these verses, you see that the “blessing” is by God toward his people. If we go back to the definition above, it means that God is asked to bless or increase the security of His people, His favor on His people, His grace toward His people, His peace toward His people. What a wonderful blessing! Question – So, how can we bless other people? Answer – A follow-up question to this one is “how does God bless a person”? If we imitate what God does to bless someone, we are making a good start in blessing other people. No, we do not have the power or wisdom to bless people like God does. But there are some ways that we could imitate Him. For example, maybe you see someone who is sad – God does comfort people when they are sad or troubled so could you comfort that person? Maybe you see someone who has physical needs – God provides what we need so could you share some of what God has given you to help that person? So, think about all the ways that God blesses you and ask Him how you could do the same for other people. He knows exactly what they need and you may be the one He has given the ability to meet that need and bless that person. Question – Why should we bless other people? OR How does blessing another person affect you? Answer – Look at this verse out of the book of Proverbs. Proverbs 11:25 says “the one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.” So God helps and blesses those who bless other people. And He blesses them “abundantly”, even more than the blessing that they have given to others. Question – So, how do blessings work? Answer – This is a good question. How can just saying a blessing for somebody else make a difference in their life? Aren’t these just “words”? No! When we offer words of blessing to someone, we are actually praying – talking to God – and asking Him to give them favor. God is really the source of all blessing. Sometimes I really don’t know what another person needs but I do know that that person needs God’s favor. So I ask Him to bless them in any way that He sovereignly knows that they need. So, speaking of God really being the one who does the blessing, let’s briefly look at… Some other verses that talk about God blessing people or, putting this a different way, how a person can be blessed: Deuteronomy 30:16-20 “I [Moses] command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. 17 But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter [https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=deuteronomy%2030&version=nasb1995#fen-nasb1995-5727v]and possess it. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your [https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=deuteronomy%2030&version=nasb1995#fen-nasb1995-5728w]descendants, 20 by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for [https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=deuteronomy%2030&version=nasb1995#fen-nasb1995-5729x]this is your life and the length of your days,” Question – So, how can a person be blessed by God? What did He say? Answer – By loving God, by obeying God, and by clinging to Him. This next verse is similar. Jeremiah 17:7 “Blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.” God says He will bless those who trust Him. Question – What is this verse really saying? Answer – That we can expect – expect – God to bless us if we choose to trust Him with everything. God’s blessing is up to Him. He knows what form the blessing needs to take and He can be counted on to do what is perfectly right toward you in every case. That is why He becomes that person’s hope and confidence. Here is another similar one – Matthew 11:6 “And blessed is any person who does not take offense at Me.” – Jesus said this in response to some questions about John the Baptist. John had sent some of his disciples to Jesus to ask Jesus if He was really the one they were looking for, the Messiah. This verse is essentially saying that if a person believes that Jesus is who He says He is, that person is blessed. And finally, this next verse in Acts 3:26 “God raised up His Servant for you 1st, and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.” This verse talks about another way God blesses people – He works in their hearts to turn them away from evil so that they can turn to Him and be saved. This topic on blessing is a little different for me because defining a blessing is difficult, as far as I am concerned. When I ask God to bless someone, a lot of the time I don’t know exactly what I am asking! I just know that God knows what that person needs and I am asking Him to carry out what He already knows that person needs. And then when I think about blessing God, what an awesome opportunity I have to exalt the greatest Person in all creation and outside of creation. If you think about it, it is actually a great gift God has given us to be allowed to bless Him. He doesn’t need my blessing. He is complete without it. But He has granted us – me – the privilege of blessing Him. Wow.

Hot Issues in the Evolution/Creation Controversy - Part 3

April 21, 2024 • Dr. Kathy Wood

In our final episode on evolution, we ask, exactly how did life begin on the earth? Did it crawl out of a primordial soup? Did God really create all the plants and animals – and even humans? Or did humans evolve from animals called primates? And finally, isn’t it possible to believe in both evolution and creation and avoid the controversy altogether? FULL TRANSCRIPT: Today we will actually touch on several additional questions that arise in the evolution/creation controversy plus we will look at the origins of life and the universe as a whole. Let’s talk about life first. Evolutionists believe in the spontaneous origin of life, although it is unknown how that might have occurred. In fact, the probability of life arising by chance on earth over 5 billion years ago was calculated by 2 evolutionists (Sir Fred Hoyle and Dr. Chandra Wickramasinghe) as being one chance out of 1 followed by 40,000 zeros, or essentially 0. Both of these individuals now say that any life in the universe had to be created. They are not biblical creationists but are atheists, and they believe life had to be created – somehow. Most evolutionists do not believe there is a God but many of them do believe there is a God. In fact, in a round table discussion on PBS a few years ago, the comment was made that “science has nothing to say one way or the other about the existence of God”. The most generally held evolutionist belief about the origin of life says that life arose on the early Earth by a series of progressive chemical reactions. That is how it is put in the Britannica encyclopedia. These progressive chemical reactions are unknown and may have been highly improbable chemical events. Well, what do the science textbooks say about all this? Most of them report on an experiment in 1952 set up by Dr. Harold Urey and a graduate student named Stanley Miller. Their theory was that life began in something called a primordial soup – a primordial soup made up of ammonia, methane, and water, among other things and zapped with an electric current as if it had been struck by lightning. When they looked at the molecules that came out of this experiment, they found amino acids. Amino acids make up all of our proteins. They thought that perhaps these were the beginning molecules that would later come together to form something that was living. Since then, scientists have decided that Earth’s early atmosphere may not have been exactly like the Urey-Miller experiment assumed but they believe that some kind of primordial soup was a precursor to life. Creationists on the other hand, propose that the Bible is a credible source of how life and the universe originated and we will get into that in a moment. First, though, let’s do some physics! Creationists bring up the 2nd law of thermodynamics to explain why the evolutionist concept of how life began can’t be true. The 2nd law of thermodynamics assumes that things become more and more chaotic or disordered over time. If the 2nd law is true, those primordial soup molecules should go from order to disorder and that is what we see in nature. Evolutionary theory, on the other hand, is essentially saying that these beginning molecules become more and more ordered until they were so complex that life somehow occurred. They suggest that the universe itself started in a state of chaos because of a Big Bang. This Big Bang Theory proposes that billions of years ago all energy and all matter somehow was crammed into a small space. It suddenly exploded and expanded at a large speed – the Big Bang. From this, everything in the universe somehow evolved. From this chaos, everything in the universe became less and less chaotic. That is not what the 2nd law of thermodynamics says. Creationists therefore say that life could not have started that way. Evolutionists, however, counter that argument by saying that the 2nd law of thermodynamics is big enough to handle that apparent problem. If part of the universe is becoming more and more chaotic and disordered, other parts could become more and more ordered at the same time. A very good example of this is the snowflake. Snowflake crystals are highly ordered and form naturally. This is a physics argument and it is a good one. So, how did humans come about? Evolutionists believe that humans evolved from ape-like beasts which had evolved from lower forms of life – evolution. Creationists on the other hand point back to the Bible which declares that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit were each personally involved in creation, including the creation of humans. This is first mentioned in the book of Genesis in the Bible which describes how God created woman by transforming a rib of Adam, the 1st man, into Eve, the 1st woman. According to Genesis, Adam was immediately made in the image of God and Eve was made Adam – they were both created fully formed. We find this confirmed in the New Testament in 1st Corinthians 11:8 which talks about “the man does not originate from the woman, but the woman is from the man”. Jesus also confirmed this in Matthew 19:4 when he quoted Genesis 1 as a historical authority. Since Jesus accepted the early chapters of Genesis as literal, the Christian who is in evolutionist essentially finds himself in disagreement with Jesus. More recently, theistic evolution has grown in popularity because of its acceptance by some of the leading evangelical pastors and theologians. Theistic evolution proposes that Genesis 1 does not refer to 6 normal days of creation; and that the flood described in Genesis was not a worldwide flood. They also say that God used evolutionary processes to create everything that has ever lived. Therefore, another question that must be answered by theistic evolutionists is how can one decide which portions of the Bible should be taken literally and which parts should be considered impossible and unscientific, or perhaps just parables? What about the raising of Lazarus from the dead? What about the changing of water into wine? What about the virgin birth of Jesus Christ? All of these involved divine creation and none of them can be explained biologically. Some creationists have come up with a different take on this, saying that yes, God created Adam and Eve directly but that there were people outside the Garden of Eden who God created in a different way, i.e., by evolution. They say that those people ended up intermingling with the descendants of Adam and Eve. Currently, this is a fringe idea. Creationists argue that evolution of man from a primate does not include a fall from an initially perfect man, such as we find in Genesis. If there was no fall, there would also be no need of a Savior from sin. Another thing to consider is that “death” entered the picture when Adam and Eve sinned. Prior to that, apparently all life was immortal according to Genesis 2:17. In Romans 6:23, we read that “the wages of sin is death”. So death was not originally part of the plan. According to the Bible, creation was cursed after Adam’s sin when death entered the world. And without death, evolution is not possible. Evolution depends on death occurring. So, we have finally reached the end of our discussion of the controversy between creationism and evolution. Honestly, we could have continued looking at this argument for several more podcasts but I really just wanted you to be aware of the main points that are argued. When all is said and done, both evolutionists and creationists depend on faith that their viewpoint is the correct one. Evolutionists have faith in science and its ability, they say, to explain life and origins. Creationists have faith in what God has said in the Bible about life and origins. Neither group can go back in time as far as to actually prove what they believe. So, why does it even matter? Even in the 1920s, some religious fundamentalists charged that teaching evolution in the schools would destroy faith in God and faith in the Bible. They also argued that there was a danger to morality and ethical standards because students would be taught that humans are only advanced animals, no more than that. If the evolutionary concept of survival of the fittest is followed, this would promote stepping on others to get what you wanted – stepping on others to survive – and that is not what the Bible teaches. So, in conclusion, as a Christian, I believe in the inerrancy of the Bible. I accept what it says even if I can’t explain all of it as a scientist. As a scientist, I am okay with that because there is a God who ultimately is in control of all that we see. He can intervene in our world at any time. I have no idea all that happened during the creation of the world and the universe and life as we know it. I do, however, believe that a God as powerful as our God is can do anything He wants to at any time. We have a choice to believe what the Bible says or to come up with an explanation outside of what we read in the Bible. It’s really kind of simple.