Cloud, Henry and John Townsend. Boundaries in Dating: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Relationships
Chapman, Gary. The 5 Love Languages Singles Edition: The Secret That Will Revolutionize Your Relationships
*Hiestand, Gerald, and Jay S. Thomas. Sex, Dating, and Relationships: A Fresh Approach.
Maxson, J. Robin and Garry Friesen. “I Do” or “Do I?” Are You Ready To Change Your Relationship Status?
Maxson, J. Robin and Garry Friesen. Singleness, Marriage, and the Will of God.
*Pokluda, J.P. and Kevin McConaghy. Outdated: Find Love That Lasts When Dating Has Changed.
*Pokluda, J.P. and Kevin McConaghy. Welcome to Adulting: Navigating Faith, Friendship, Finances, and the Future.
*Pokluda, J.P. Welcome to Adulting Survival Guide: 42 Days to Navigate Life.
Rineheart, Stacy T., and Paula Rinehart. Choices: Finding God’s Way in Dating, Sex, Marriage, and Singleness.
*Phillips, Richard D., and Sharon L. Holding Hands, Holding Hearts: Recovering a Biblical View of Christian Dating.
Priolo, Lou. Danger Signs of an Unhealthy Dating Relationship.
*Segal, Marshall. Not Yet Married: The Pursuit of Joy in Singleness and Dating.
Smith, William P. Starting Over: How Not to Screw Up Your Next Relationship.
Smith, William P. Who Should I Date?: Relationship Advice for the Real World.
*Strachan, Owen. Whole in Christ: A Biblical Approach to Singleness.
*Stuart, Ben. Single, Dating, Engaged, Married: Navigating Life and Love in the Modern Age.
*Sweet, Jenilyn. Singleness: Living Faithfully (31-Day Devotionals for Life).
BEFORE GETTING ENGAGED/MARRIED
*Baker, Ernie. Marry Wisely, Marry Well.
Burns, Jim & Fields, Doug. Getting Ready for Marriage: A Practical Road Map for Your Journey Together.
Chapman, Gary. Things I Wish I’d Known Before We God Married.
Green, Rob. Tying the Knot: A Premarital Guide to a Strong and Lasting Marriage.
*Harley, Jr. Willard F. I Promise You: Preparing For A Marriage That Will Last a Lifetime.
Mack, Wayne A. Preparing for Marriage God’s Way: A Step-By-Step Guide for Marriage Success Before and After the Wedding.
McKinley, Mike. Engagement: Preparing for Marriage (31-Day Devotionals for Life).
Parrott, Les & Leslie. Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts: Seven Questions To Ask Before and After You Marry.
Piper, John. Preparing for Marriage: Help for Christian Couples.
Roberts, Wes & Wright, H. Norman. Before You Say “I Do.”
Smalley, Greg and Erin. Before You Plan Your Wedding…Plan Your Marriage.
Smalley, Greg and Erin. Ready to Wed: 12 Ways to Start a Marriage You’ll Love.
Smith, William P. Should We Get Married?: How to Evaluate Your Relationship.
Thomas, Gary. 9 Must Have Conversations For a Doubt-Free Wedding Day.
Thomas, Gary. Preparing Your Heart for Marriage: Devotions for Engaged Couples.
*Thomas, Gary. The Sacred Search: What if It’s Not about Who You Marry, but Why?
*Wright, H. Norman. 101 Questions to ask Before You Get Engaged.
*Wright, H. Norman. Before You Say “I Do”: A Marriage Preparation Guide for Couples.
*Wright, H. Norman. Before You Say “I Do” Devotional: Building a Spiritual Foundation for Your Life Together.
*Wright, H. Norman. Starting Out Together: A Devotional for Dating or Engaged Couples.
*Ash, Christopher. Married For God: Making Your Marriage the Best It Can Be.
Begg, Alistair. Lasting Love. How to Avoid Marital Failure.
Chan, Francis and Lisa. You And Me Forever: Marriage In Light of Eternity.
Chapell, Bryan. Each For The Other: Marriage As It’s Meant To Be.
Chapman, Gary. Happily Ever After: Six Secrets to a Successful Marriage.
*Chapman, Gary. The 4 Seasons of Marriage: Secrets to a Lasting Marriage.
Chester, Tim. Gospel-Centered Marriage: Becoming the Couple God Wants You to Be.
Crabb, Larry. The Marriage Builder. Creating Oneness To Transform Your Marriage.
*Farley, William P. Marriage In Paradise: How to Have a Genesis two Marriage in a Genesis three World.
*Curt Hamner, John Trent, et al. Marriage: Its Foundation, Theology, and Mission in a Changing World.
*Girgis, Sherif, Ryan T. Anderson, Robert P. George, eds. What Is Marriage: Man and Woman: A Defense.
*Ingram, Chip. Marriage That Works: God’s Way of Becoming Spiritual Soul Mates, Best Friends, and Passionate Lovers.
*Keller, Timothy and Kathy. The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God.
Kostenberger, Andreas J. & Jones David W. God, Marriage, and Family. Rebuilding The Biblical Foundation.
*LaPierre, Scott. Your Marriage God’s Way: A Biblical Guide to a Christ-Centered Relationship.
Lewis, Robert & Hendricks, William. Rocking The Roles: Building a Win-Win Marriage.
Mead, Peter. Lost in Wonder: A Biblical Introduction to God’s Great Marriage.
*Ortlund, Ray. Marriage and the Mystery of the Gospel.
Piper, John. This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence.
Rainey, Dennis & Barbara. Starting Your Marriage Right: What You Need To Know In The Early Years To Make It Last a Lifetime.
Rainey, Dennis & Barbara. Staying Close: Stopping The Natural Drift Toward Isolation in Marriage.
*Savage, Timothy B. No Ordinary Marriage: Together For God’s Glory.
Smalley, Erin. Reconnected: Moving from Roommates to Soulmates in Marriage (Focus on the Family)
Smalley, Gary. The DNA of Relationships: Discover How You Are designed for Satisfying Relationships.
Smalley, Gary & Trent, John. Love is a Decision: Proven Techniques to Keep Your Marriage Alive and Lively.
*Smalley, Gary and Shawn Stoever. The Wholehearted Marriage: Fully Engaging Your Most Important Relationship.
Smith, Winston T. Marriage Matters: Extraordinary Change Through Ordinary Moments.
*Sproul, R.C. The Intimate Marriage: A Practical Guide To Building A Great Marriage.
*Swindoll, Charles R. Marriage From Surviving to Thriving.
Thomas, Gary. A Lifelong Love: How to Have Lasting Intimacy, friendship, and Purpose in Your Marriage.
Thomas, Gary. Cherish: The One Word That Changes Everything For Your Marriage.
Thomas, Gary. Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?
Towns, Ruth and Elmer. How To Build a Lasting Marriage: Lessons From Biblical Couples.
*Tripp, Paul David. Marriage: 6 Gospel Commitments Every Couple Needs to Make.
Wright, H. Norman. After You Say “I Do.”
Wright, H. Norman. 101 Ways To Build a Stronger, More Exciting Marriage.
Young, Ed. The 10 Commandments of Marriage: The Do’s and Don’s for a Lifelong Covenant.
HISTORICAL MODELS OF CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE
Callahan, Patti. Becoming Mrs. Lewis.
Curtis, Carolyn and Mary Pomroy Key, eds. Women and C.S. Lewis: What his life and literature reveal for today’s culture.
DeRusha, Michelle. Katharina and Martin Luther: The Radical Marriage of a Runaway Nun and a Renegade Monk.
Gerstner, Edna. Jonathan and Sarah Edwards: An Uncommon Union.
Lane, Rachel. Francis & Edith Schaeffer: Taking on the World (Trail blazers Series).
Lewis, C.S. A Grief Observed.
*Mack, Wayne A. and Carol. Sweethearts For a Lifetime.
Parkhurst, Louis Gifford. Francis & Edith Schaeffer.
Rhodes Jr., Ray. Yours, Till Heaven: The Untold Love Story of Charles and Susie Spurgeon.
*Shaeffer, Edith. The Tapestry: The Life and Times of Francis and Edith Schaeffer.
Welman, Sam. Francis & Edith Schaeffer.
LEARNING TO MEET ONE ANOTHER’S NEEDS
*Eggerichs, Emerson. Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires, The Respect He Desperately Needs.
*Harley, Jr. Willard F. He Wins, She Wins: Learning The Art of Marital Negotiation; His Needs Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage; Love Busters: Protect Your Marriage by Replacing Love-Busting Patterns with Love-Building Habits.
MEN AND WOMEN: ENJOYING THE DIFFERENCES
Burke, H. Dale. Different by Design: God’s Master Plan For Harmony Between Men and Women in Marriage.
Crabb, Larry. Men and Women: Enjoying The Difference.
*Farrel, Bill and Pam. Men Are Like Waffles Women Are Like Spaghetti: Understanding and Delighting in Your Differences.
*Farrel, Bill and Pam. Why Men and Women Act The Way They Do.
Leman, Kevin. Have a New Husband by Friday: How to Change His Attitude, Behavior & Communication in 5 Days.
MacArthur, John. Divine Design: God’s Complementary Roles For Men and Women.
Peacock, Gavin & Strachan, Owen. The Grand Design: Male and Female He Made Them.
Smalley, Gary. For Better or for Best: A Valuable Guide to Knowing, Understanding, and Loving Your Husband.
Smalley, Gary. If Only He Knew: A Valuable Guide to Knowing, Understanding, and Loving Your Wife.
Strauch, Alexander. Men and Women: Equal Yet Different.
*Strachan, Owen and Jonathan Parnell. Designed for Joy: How the Gospel Impacts Men and Women, Identity and Practice.
Bechtle, Mike. How to Communicate with Confidence.
Brown, Steve. How to Talk So People Will Listen.
*Chapman, Gary. Now You’re Speaking My Language: Honest Communication and Deeper Intimacy for a Stronger Marriage.
*Eggerichs, Emerson. Cracking The Communication Code With Your Mate: The Secret of Speaking Your Mate’s Language.
Petersen, James C. Why Don’t We Listen Better?: Communicating & Connecting in Relationships
*Tripp, Paul David. War of Words: Getting to the Heart of Your Communication Struggles.
*Wright, H. Norman. Communication: Key to Your Marriage – The Secret To True Happiness.
Chapman, Gary. Everybody Wins: The Chapman Guide to Solving Conflicts without Arguing (Chapman Guides).
Chapman, Gary. Home Improvements: The Chapman Guide to Negotiating Change with Your Spouse (Chapman Guides).
Chapman, Gary. The 5 Apology Languages: The Secret to Healthy Relationships.
*Chapman, Gary & Thomas, Jennifer. When Sorry Isn’t Enough: Making Things Right With Those You Love.
*Harvey, Dave. When Sinners Say “I Do”: The Power of the Gospel for Marriage.
*Hoppe, Steve. Marriage Conflict: Talking as Teammates (31-Day Devotionals for Life).
*Kendall, R.T. Total Forgiveness.
*Lutzer, Erwin W. When You Have Been Wronged: Moving From Bitterness To Forgiveness.
*Priolo, Lou. Resolving Conflict: How to Make, Disturb, and Keep Peace.
*Sande, Ken. The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict.
*Scott, Stuart. Communication and Conflict Resolution: A Biblical Perspective.
Smalley, Greg. Fight Your Way to a Better Marriage: How Healthy Conflict Can Take You to Deeper Levels of Intimacy.
Smalley, Greg. Reconnected: Moving from Roommates to Soulmates in Marriage.
COURTSHIP AFTER MARRIAGE
Begg, Alistair. Lasting Love: How To Avoid Marital Failure.
Buzzard, Justin. Date Your Wife: A Husband’s Guide.
Harley, Jr. Willard F. Fall In Love, Stay In Love.
*Mack, Wayne A. Sweethearts for a Lifetime: Making the Most of Your Marriage (Strength for Life).
*Smalley, Greg and Erin Smalley. Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage: 12 Secrets for a Lifelong Romance.
*Smalley, Gary. Making Love Last Forever.
*Smalley, Gary and Shawn Stoever. The Wholehearted Marriage: Fully Engaging Your Most Important Relationship.
*Ziglar, Zig. Courtship After Marriage: Romance Can Last A Lifetime.
Chapman, Gary. The One Year Love Language Minute Devotional: A 365-Day Devotional for Christian Couples.
Chapman, Gary. The Love as a Way of Life Devotional: A Ninety-Day Adventure That Makes Love a Daily Habit.
Dobson, James C. Night Light: A Devotional for Couples.
Harley, Willard F. and Joyce S. Joyce. Draw Close: A Devotional for Couples.
Keller, Timothy and Kathy Keller. The Meaning of Marriage: A Couple’s Devotional: A Year of Daily Devotions.
Kendrick, Stephen and Alex. The Love Dare Day by Day: A Year of Devotions for Couples.
Rainey, Dennis and Barbara Rainey. Moments Together for Couples: 365 Daily Devotions for Drawing Near to God & One Another.
Thomas, Gary. Devotions for a Sacred Marriage: A Year of Weekly Devotions for Couples.
*Wright, H. Norman. After You Say “I Do” Devotional: Meditations for Every Couple.
DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE
*Adams, Jay E. Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the Bible: A Fresh Look at What Scripture Teaches.
*Grudem Wayne. What the Bible Says About Divorce and Remarriage.
*Newheiser, Jim. Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage: Critical Questions and Answers.
*Alcorn, Randy. Managing God’s Money: A Biblical Guide.
*Alcorn, Randy. Money, Possessions, and Eternity: A Comprehensive Guide to What the Bible Says about Financial Stewardship, Generosity, Materialism, Retirement, Financial Planning, Gambling, Debt, and More.
*Alcorn, Randy. The Law of Rewards: Giving what you can’t keep to gain what you can’t lose.
*Alcorn, Randy. The Treasure Principle, Revised and Updated: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving.
Blue, Ron. Master Your Money: A Step-By-Step Plan For Experiencing Contentment.
Blue, Ron & Burkett, Larry. Your Money After The Big 5-0. Wealth For The Second Half of Life.
*Dayton, Howard. Marriage and Money God’s Way.
*Dayton, Howard. Your Money Counts: The Biblical Guide to Earning, Spending, Saving, Investing, Giving, and Getting Out of Debt
Keller, Timothy. Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters.
*Lowe, Cherie. Slaying the Debt Dragon: How One Family Conquered Their Money Monster and Found an Inspired Happily Ever After.
SERIES #’S 3-6: October 9, 16, 23, & November 6, 2022 – Pastor David Craig
Josef Tson, a Romanian Baptist pastor imprisoned for his faith under the communist regime, said: “I came to the conclusion that there are two factors which destroyed Christianity in Western Europe. One was the theory of evolution, the other, liberal theology … Liberal theology is just evolution applied to the Bible and our faith.” ~ Quoted in 15 Reasons to Take Genesis as History by Don Batten & Jonathan Sarfati
Michael Denton, author of a fascinating book titled Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, wrote: “The voyage on The Beagle [Darwin’s ship on which he set sail from England in 1831] was a journey of awesome significance. Its object was to survey Patagonia; its result was to shake the foundations of western thought. The Origin of the Species [which followed] has been referred to as “one of the most important books ever written” [it is because it seeks to shake the foundation of the most important book ever written – The Bible]. As far as Christianity was concerned, the advent of the theory of evolution and the elimination of traditional teleological thinking was catastrophic.”
Thomas Huxley, probably the most famous proponent of evolution who ever lived, stated, “It is clear that the doctrine of evolution is directly antagonistic to that of Creation. . . . Evolution, if consistently accepted, makes it impossible to believe the Bible.”
William Provine of Cornell University stated in a debate, “If Darwinism is true, he said, then there are five inescapable conclusions: there’s no evidence for God there’s no life after death there’s no absolute foundation for right and wrong there’s no ultimate meaning for life people don’t really have free will.”
“It is well known that Karl Marx asked Darwin to write the introduction to Das Kapital, since he felt that Darwin had provided a scientific foundation for communism. Throughout this century, all over the world, those who pushed the communist conspiracy also pushed an evolutionary, imperialistic, naturalistic view of life, endeavoring to crowd the Creator right out of the cosmos.” ~ Quoted in Why I Believe by D. James Kennedy
Oxford evolutionist Richard Dawkins said: “The more you understand the significance of evolution, the more you are pushed away from an agnostic position and towards atheism.” ~ Quoted in The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God by Lee Strobel
“Many layers of error have been built on the faulty foundation of evolutionism. Humanism is the natural result. If God is not central in all our thinking, then man must be. Atheism is humanism’s twin brother, and consistent evolutionists cannot logically believe in the personal God of the Bible, the God who is the Creator of all life. Abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia are logical behaviors for those who have so easily disposed of the image of God in the eternal soul of man. The concept of a resurrected body and eternal life is also a casualty of this evil philosophy. The average person neither knows nor cares much about the error of evolution, and yet his or her life is constantly being influenced by it. Pornography, adultery, divorce, homosexuality, premarital sex, the destruction of the nuclear family—all are weeds that have grown from Satan’s big lie about the universe. We are now on the verge of adopting full-fledged animalism in human practice—promiscuity, vandalism, hedonism, even incipient cannibalism. Even the Holocaust is “explained” by evolution. Hitler’s extermination of the Jews grew out of his desire to speed up the evolutionary process.” ~ David Jeremiah in Henry Morris, The Long War Against God
Some Key Problems With Darwinian/Naturalisitc Evolution
Darwinian evolution is based on a hopelessly illogical premise, the concept of spontaneous generation, or life arising from non-living matter.
If Darwinian evolution were true we should literally find millions of transitional forms in the fossil record, but the missing links are still missing.
Darwinists claim that natural selection is evidence of macroevolution. However, natural selection, which is basic science, simply demonstrates change within species or microevolution.
Critiquing Darwinism does not make a person anti-science. We all share the same scientific evidence. The question is, what theory or interpretive framework best explains the evidence? (Ron Carlson, Christian Ministries International)
Synopsis of 6 Big Problems with Evolution:
(1) Scientists today generally agree that the universe had a beginning. This implies the existence of a Beginner or Creator (Hebrews 3:4, “For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.”).
(2) The universe is so perfectly fine-tuned for life on earth, it must have come from the hands of an intelligent Designer ([God] Romans 1:20 & Psalm 19:1, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse….The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork”).
(3) If evolution were true, the fossil records would reveal progressively complex evolutionary forms with transitions. However, no transitional links (with species forming into different species) have been discovered in the fossil records.
(4) Evolution assumes a long series of positive and upward mutations. In almost all known cases, however, mutations are not beneficial but are harmful to living beings. This is a huge problem for evolution.
(5) The Second Law of thermodynamics, which has never been contradicted in observable nature, says that in an isolated system (like our universe), the natural course of things is degenerate. The universe is running down, not evolving upward. In a closed, isolated system, the amount of useable energy decreases. That is, matter and energy deteriorate gradually over time. Also, things tend to move from order to disorder, not the reverse.
(6) Evolutionists often make false claims. Some have claimed that scientific evidence confirms that evolution is true. They generally appeal to the fact that mutations do occur within species (microevolution). But an incredible leap of logic is required to say that mutations within species prove that mutations can yield entirely new species (macroevolution). Two dogs cannot produce a cat! (Ron Rhodes, 5-Minute Apologetics for Today)
Sir Arthur Keith said: “Evolution is unproved and unprovable. We believe it because the only alternative is special creation, which is unthinkable.”
“Essentially, mankind has only two choices. Either we have evolved out of the slime and can be explained strictly in the materialistic sense, meaning that we are made of nothing but the material, or we have been made on a heavenly pattern.” ~ Douglas F. Kelly, Creation & Change: Genesis 1:1-2.4 in the Light of Changing Scientific Paradigms
“It is absurd for the evolutionists to complain that it’s unthinkable for an admittedly unthinkable God to make everything out of nothing and then pretend it is more thinkable that nothing should turn itself into anything.” ~ C.K. Chesterton
How Did the Universe Come to Be? The opening line of Genesis puts it succinctly: “In the beginning God created the heavens and earth” (1:1). The Bible teaches that through an act of God the temporal creation of the universe came from nothing (ex nihilo).
Christianity teaches that God is the Originating Cause (Eph. 3:9) who created the space-time universe and is also the Sustaining Cause that keeps everything together (Col. 1:17). Moses declared, “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but He rested on the seventh day” (Exodus 20:11).
According to Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716), a German philosopher and mathematician, everything that exists has a cause for its existence. We know the universe exists and didn’t get here on its own. God is the necessary being who produces external causes that don’t exist necessarily because they are contingent on something greater than their own existence.
But there are two other options: (1) Naturalism teaches that nothing created the universe—it just came to be with no real explanation. (2) Pantheism teaches that God and the universe are one and eternally the same. The problem with naturalism is that it holds to a contradictory claim that nothing created something created itself. But this is fundamentally irrational. Pantheism, on the other hand, is fundamentally flawed because it identifies the universe as eternal, when the Second Law of Thermodynamics proves that wrong.
To know there is a God who created the universe and controls all things ought to give you great comfort. Evolutionists attempt to rule out a Creator, but thankfully as a Christian, you know God as a personal Creator, and we are made in His image. (See Genesis 1-2; Job 26:10; Isaiah 40:22; John 1:3; Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3).
Is Evolution a Viable Option? Although macroevolution is the dominant scientific theory taught in schools and upheld in academia, the majority of the public still holds to a belief in creation. But how is this possible? How is it that the majority of people still don’t buy into the explanation of evolution? We will provide three essential flaws to the theory of evolution, but first, here’s evolution in a nutshell:
Evolution (common ancestry) is simply defined as a gradual development of simple life forms into more complex life forms brought about by natural processes. Thus, for evolution to be a viable option, it must be able to explain (1) the origin of the universe, (2) the origin of first life, and (3) the origin of new life forms.
the origin of the universe: According to cosmic evolution, the universe just popped into existence. Though evolutionists now admit the universe had a beginning, they deny and designed cause or purpose behind the existence of the universe. Thus, evolution offers no real explanation for the existence of an incredibly big and complex universe.
the origin of first life: Biological evolutionists teach that a primordial soup (simple organic chemicals) produced the first life a few billion years ago as the earth was shaped, formed, and cooled down. But the earth had to be incredibly fine-tuned from the start in order for the necessary and specific conditions to be balanced precisely to produce life. Some evolutionists even speculate that life arose on another planet and was transported here. But this is simply speculation; there is no real evidence for it. Further, if life arose elsewhere, the same problem exists, namely, that non life does not produce life.
(3) the origin of new life forms: Evolution teaches that certain genetic mutations occurred among species that eventually caused them to transition into completely new species with all new genetic information. This is known as macroevolution. The evolutionist bases this idea on observing slight changes or modifications in species within their environment (microevolution). Yet, macroevolution is a huge leap from the slight modifications that we witness and has absolutely no evidence to support it. What we do observe and can verify is that there is a single common ancestor of humankind (Adam and Eve). Humans beget humans and dogs beget dogs (Gen. 1:21-24). Thus, evolutionists make unwarranted claims that have never been proven that different species emanated from a single cell, or common ancestry.
“The positive evidence for Darwinism is confined to small-scale evolutionary changes like insects developing insecticide resistance…Evidence like that for insecticide resistance confirms the Darwinian selection mechanism for small-scale changes, but hardly warrants the grand extrapolation that Darwinists want. It is a huge leap going from insects developing insecticide resistance via the Darwinian mechanism of natural selection and random variation to the very emergence of insects in the first place by the same mechanism.” ~ William Dembski
“Natural selection may be able to explain survival of a species, but it cannot explain the arrival of a species.” ~ Norman L. Geisler
Most revealing is that Darwin himself admitted, in his book Origin of Species (written in 1859), to the lack of evidence for “intermediate links” in the fossil record. The fossil evidence (as a whole) is even greater than in Darwin’s day, and yet it still does not show evidence of macroevolution. What the fossil record does show, however, are fully formed and fully functional species. This confirms the obvious: transitional forms cannot survive with missing or evolving parts, especially considering survival of the fittest.
“Just because something is unseen doesn’t mean it’s not real. There are many unseen realities that scientists use every day, such as the laws of logic, the laws of mathematics, the laws of nature, their minds, and so forth. And scientists infer from the effects they do see to causes they don’t see. John Lennox observes, ‘Postulating an unobserved Designer is no more unscientific than postulating unobserved macroevolutionary steps.” ~ Frank Turek
Someone may ask, “What about Archaeopteryx?” Isn’t this a great example of a transitional species from a feathered dinosaur to modern birds? The problem with Archaeopteryx is that it’s not a transitional life form that evolved from reptile to bird. Rather, Archaeopteryx appears in the fossil record as a fully developed bird. Thus, Archaeopteryx is not a missing link between birds and reptiles. It’s a bird.
In the end, what the evidence points to is a designer who created a good design and applied it to various other species to gain the best results.
When talking to evolutionists, make sure not to assume what they believe, and don’t allow them to make up evidence in support of evolution. Some great questions to ask evolutionists are:
What do you mean by evolution?
If there is no God, why is there something rather than nothing?
Where did the first life come from?
Doesn’t there have to be preexisting life for life to exist?
What caused nonliving chemicals to produce life?
How did non intelligent matter produce intelligent life?
See Genesis 1-2; 5:1-3; Psalms 8; 33; Isaiah 42:5-9; Acts 17:26; Romans 1:20-27; 2 Peter 3:3-6.
Did God use Evolution as His method of creation? Under the banner of ‘theistic evolution,’ a growing number of Christians maintain that God used evolution as his method for creation. It is one thing to believe in evolution; it is quite another thing to blame God for it.
First, the biblical account of creation specifically states that God created living creatures according to their own “kinds” (Genesis 1:24-25). As confirmed by science, the DNA for a fetus is not the DNA for a frog, and the DNA for a frog is not the DNA for a fish. Rather, the DNA of a fetus, frog, or fish is uniquely programmed for reproduction after its own kind. Thus, while Scripture and science allow for microevolution (transitions within “the kinds”), they do not allow for macroevolution (amoebas evolving into areas or apes evolving into humans).
Furthermore, evolution is the cruelest, most inefficient system for creation imaginable. Perhaps Nobel Prize-winning evolutionist Jacques Monod put it best: “The struggle for life and elimination of the weakest is a horrible process, against which our whole modern ethic revolts.” Indeed, says Monod, “I am surprised that a Christian would defend the idea that this is the process which God more or less set up in order to have evolution.”
Finally, theistic evolution is a contradiction in terms—like the phrase flaming snowflakes. God can no more direct an undirected process than he can create a square circle. Yet this is precisely what theistic evolution presupposes. Evolutionism is fighting for its very life. Rather than prop it up with theories such as theistic evolution, thinking people everywhere must be on the vanguard of demonstrating its demise.
“From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.” ~ Acts 17:26-27
Is it Possible for a Protein Molecule to Come into Existence by Chance? Evolutionary theory concerning how the first organized form of primitive life evolved hardly corresponds to reality.
First, there is not the slightest evidence for an evolutionary sequence among the unimaginably varied cells existing on our planet.
Furthermore, no living system can rightly be called primitive with respect to any other. Consider, for example, that life at bare minimum demands no fewer than 250 different kinds of protein molecules.
Finally, giving the evolutionary process every possible concession, the probability of arranging a simple protein molecule by chance is estimated to be one chance in 10 (that’s a 1 followed by 161 zeros). For a frame of reference, consider the fact that there are only 10 (that’s a 1 followed by 80 zeros) atoms in the entire known universe.
If in time a protein molecule were eventually formed by chance, forming a second one would be infinitely more difficult. As such, the science of statistical probability demonstrates that forming a protein molecule by random processes is not only improbable, it is impossible—and forming a cell or a chimp, beyond illustration. “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” ~ Psalm 14:1
Sir Fred Hoyle, one of the world’s leading astronomers and mathematicians, said before the British Academy of Science: “The probability of life arising by chance is the same probability as throwing a six on a dice five million consecutive times.”
The Fossil Record: Historically, the most convincing evidence for evolution is the fossil record. Evolutionists claim that the fossil record displays a gradual evolution of animal and plant life from primitive forms to complex forms with transitional phases between major classes (e.g., between fish and amphibians, amphibians and reptiles, reptiles and birds, and so on).
But this scenario has no support. There is no evidence that complex life forms evolve from primitive life forms because no such transitional species between any of these groups of animals have ever been found in the tons of fossil-bearing rock recovered over the past one hundred thirty years. Textbook drawings of transitional species are simply artists’ conceptions of what they think such animals would look like if they did exist. All the major groups of animals are distinct from one another throughout the fossil record, and their particular characteristics are fully formed and functional when they first appear. For example, when feathers and wings first show up, they are fully formed feathers and wings. No part-leg/part-wing or part-scale/ part-feather fossils have ever been found. What use would a part-leg/ part-wing have anyway? According to evolution, for any trait to be passed along, it must have survival value. Certainly a part-leg/part-wing would have no survival value to either a reptile or a bird. In fact, it would likely be a detriment.
On the other hand, the creationist model explains the absence of transitional species. The Bible teaches that God created living creatures “after their kind” (Gen. 1:24). This can be interpreted to mean that God created all the original kinds of animals with specific “gene pools” that contained all of the genetic potential needed for each type of animal to produce diverse varieties within its own kind. For example, the canine family probably arose from an original created kind. From the first dog, all the various wild and domestic dogs on earth developed. But this is not evolution in the sense that modern canines evolved from some pre-dog ancestor. Rather, the original created dog-kind developed, through adaption to diverse environmental conditions, into the numerous forms of dogs we see today. This process is called microevolution, which is not one species evolving from a more primitive species but a created kind fulfilling its full genetic potential within the limits of its original gene pool. Both extinct and modern canines have always been just dogs. In the fossil record, there has never been a half dog/half cat or half dog/half some other animal. There has always been just dogs.
Natural selection within created gene pools accounts for every change seen in every kind of animal on earth, extinct or modern. All the illustrations given by evolutionists to prove evolution are in reality no more than adaptions within specific gene pools. Science has never seen in nature or observed in a laboratory one species of animal evolve into another. When cockroaches become resistant to a pesticide, it does not represent the evolution of a new species of cockroach. Rather it illustrates natural selection within the cockroach gene pool, allowing insects already resistant to a particular pesticide because of their existing genetic makeup to become dominant within a population of cockroaches. But the new breed of resistant cockroaches are still cockroaches.
“The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils.” ~ Stephen Jay Gould
Professor Louis T. More, one of the most vocal evolutionists: “The more one studies paleontology [the fossil record], the more certain one becomes that evolution is based on faith alone.”
“We have never observed evolution in the fossil record, and we have never observed evolution in the natural world. Evolution is a theory that exists only in the imaginations of evolutionists.” ~ Ron Carlson, Fast Facts on False Teachings
Mutations: A second important argument used to support evolution focuses on mutations. Evolutionists argue that the mechanism by which one species evolves into another is through genetic mutations. The idea goes something like this. Through a genetic foul-up, a species of animal is born with a new trait that aids its survival. For instance, an animal is born with a deformed ear that actually allows that animal to hear an approaching predator better than others of his species. Because this characteristic is beneficial, that particular animal survives to pass on the trait to its offspring, which in turn benefit from the same trait and pass it on to their offspring. Eventually, after millions of years and countless generations, the animals with the more efficient hearing dominate the species, and what was once a deformity is now part of the genetic makeup of all the animals within that particular species. Evolutionists teach that with vast amounts of time, thousands of these tiny mutations can eventually give rise to an entirely new species of animal. Thus accidental mutations plus long time spans plus natural selection (“survival of the fittest”) result in the continual emergence of new species of animals.
The flaw in this theory is twofold. First, in practically every known case, a mutation is not beneficial but harmful to an animal and usually kills it. A deformity lessens the survival potential of an animal—it does not strengthen it. And even if there are “good” mutations, the tremendous number of bad mutations would overwhelm the fewer number of good ones. What one would expect to see, if mutations were passed along to future generations, is a tendency for a species to degenerate and eventually become extinct, not evolve upward to a new or better species.
The second flaw in the mutation theory is that the time needed for a primitive animal to evolve into a higher animal through random mutational changes is mathematically impossible. The problem lies in the fact that there must be a series of both related mutations and subsequent mutations that are complementary to one another. A new trait does not evolve in one generation. For a deer to evolve greater speed requires not only that it slowly, over countless generations, develops more powerful legs but that corresponding mutations in other areas of its body must also take place at the same time. To run faster, more efficient circulation, heart, lungs, and so on are needed. Creationist Dr. Gary Parker explains that the chances of getting three related mutations in a row is one in a billion trillion (1021). To illustrate the odds of this, he states that “the ocean isn’t big enough to hold enough bacteria to make it likely for you to find a bacterium with three simultaneous or sequential related mutations.” Moreover, the time that would be needed for enough mutations to occur to evolve even a simple organism is many billions of years longer than what evolutionists themselves believe the age of the earth to be.
A similar problem exists with regard to the probability of life accidentally coming into existence from non-life through chemical processes in the earth’s alleged primordial soup. With the discovery of the genetic code, we now know that the amount of information coded in the organization of a simple living cell is so vast that its accidental formation by random processes is beyond possibility. According to Sir Fred Hoyle, an eminent mathematician and astronomer, if the earth is 4.6 billion years old, as most evolutionists believe, the probability of a single living cell originating by random processes would be one chance in 1040,000 (ten with forty thousand zeros behind it). In other words, the probability is so small that it is not even considered as a viable option by most scientists familiar with information theory and probability studies. Today, thanks to “super computers,” it is firmly established that chance, long time spans, and mutations cannot account for the origin of life nor confirm the evolution of even a simple organism. As Hoyle puts it, “The chance that higher life forms might have emerged in this way is comparable with the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junkyard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein.”
The Age of the Earth: The third ingredient vital to the evolution recipe is an old earth. Although the age of the earth is not a factor in the creationist model of origins (remember, even if the earth is 5 billion years old, it is still not old enough for even simple organisms to evolve), time is of the utmost importance on the evolution model.
Evolutionists generally agree that the age of the earth is between 4.5 and 5 billion years old. The most common dating methods used by science to substantiate this age are one of several radiometric systems. These methods measure geologic time according to the rate of disintegration of radioactive elements. They are based on the assumption that decay processes have remained fairly stable throughout geologic history.
Today, much data is available that questions the accuracy of radiometric dating systems, and there are numerous other dating methods that suggest a young earth. In fact, over sixty chronometers date the earth as young (in geologic time, a young earth would be tens of thousands to hundreds of millions of years old rather than billions of years old). Dating methods that point to a geologically young earth include the decay of the earth’s magnetic field, the accumulation of meteoritic dust on the earth’s crust, the amount of helium in the atmosphere, the influx of sediment into the oceans via rivers, and the influx of specific chemicals into the oceans. In all of these cases, if the earth was billions of years old, the amount of decay or accumulation would be much greater than they are today.
“In many ways the age of the earth is an even more foundational issue for Christians than that of evolution. For if the earth is only thousands of years old, as the Bible indicates, then there’s not nearly enough time for evolution to have happened.” ~ Ken Ham, Pocket Guide to the Best Evidences
Thermodynamics: The first and second laws of thermodynamics are foundational to all of science and have never been contradicted in observable nature. The first law, also called the “law of conservation of mass-energy,” states that matter and energy are neither being created nor destroyed. In other words, matter and energy do not have within themselves the ability to create. This implies that they must have been created. The first law of thermodynamics points away from evolution to a creator.
The second law, also called the “law of increasing entropy,” states that entropy (which is the measurement of disorganization) always increases in an isolated system (a system which does not have an external influence that can sustain or increase its available energy, such as the universe). Now, what does this mean? Simply put, it means that the natural course of anything is to degenerate. An old automobile in a junkyard eventually rusts away. An animal is born and eventually grows old and dies. A star burns out and vanishes. In short, the universe is running down. But if the universe is running down, it must have had a beginning. It is not eternal. This implies a creator. It also contradicts evolution which depicts life moving upward rather than slowly degenerating.
The Anthropic Principle: One of the most compelling evidences supporting creationism involves the anthropic principle, although it is sometimes used as an argument supporting evolution. The anthropic principle observes that the earth is fashioned so precisely that life as we know it could not exist if the earth were even minutely different. Evolutionists acknowledge this and then argue that, although the universe is incredibly complex and wonderfully ordered, we should not be surprised that life came into existence through random process. Why? Because the very fact that we exist demonstrates that evolution occurred. In other words, in an infinite universe, the diverse circumstances needed for life to occur were bound to fall into place sooner or later—even if only once—no matter how unlikely it may be.
The fundamental problem with this argument should be obvious. It is merely a philosophical statement that relies on circular reasoning. It assumes that evolution accounts for the origin of life and then states, because life exists, we have proof that evolution is true. To counter this, we can offer our own philosophical statement. Robert Newman does this well: “If such a being as the God of the Bible exists, then an apparently designed universe such as ours would be a likely result rather than such a surprise as we have in an accidental universe.”
Hence, we are right back to arguing which model, creation or evolution, best fits the available evidence. And here is where the creationists can use the anthropic principle to their advantage. The value of the anthropic principle, as a support for creation, lies in its recognition that life can exist only within very narrow margins. For example, if the earth was located closer or farther from the sun, life could not exist due to excessive heat or cold. If the chemical composition of the atmosphere varied only slightly, the air would be poisonous to life. If the sea-to-land-mass ratio, depth of the oceans, and the earth’s cloud cover were different, the earth’s ability to store and release heat would change dramatically. All such events could result in the absence of life on earth. Rather than all of these variables being the result of accidental processes (luck), it appears much more probable that the earth was specifically designed to sustain life. And if it was designed, there must be a Designer—God.
Actually, this concept can be carried a step further. According to the evolutionary scenario, when the earth was formed, it did not initially possess the right chemical balance for life to exist. A hardening ball of gases would hardly support life. For the earth to reach a stage in which it could support life, some form of inorganic (nonliving) evolution would have had to occur. This would be necessary in order to achieve the right combination of ingredients from which organic molecules could emerge. Even if we can envision organic evolution (the evolution of living plants and animals), it takes a colorful imagination to accept the premise that nonliving elements such as gases and minerals evolved to a point where they could support life. I’m convinced that evolutionists demand we believe in the absurd.
Sir Cecil Wakeley, whose credentials are rather impressive—K.B.E., C.B., LL.D., M.CH., Doctor of Science, F.R.C.S., past president of Royal College of Surgeons of Great Britain—said, “Scripture is quite definite that God created the world, and I for one believe that to be a fact, not fiction. There is no evidence, scientific or otherwise, to support the theory of evolution.”
Applying Scientific Evidence (Creationism vs. Evolutionism)
No transitional fossils
Not expected because God created “Kinds.”
Needed for evolution to work but missing in the fossil record.
Most mutations are “bad” and destroy organisms. The earth is not old enough for “good” mutations to account for evolution.
Without an abundance of good mutations, there is no way to account for evolutionary change.
Age of earth
Creation model fits with both an old and young earth.
Old earth is necessary for evolution.
Demonstrates the universe had a beginning (created) and is running down (will end).
Violates the evolutionary assumptions that the universe is eternal and uncaused.
Explains the order and design in the universe as the product of an intelligent Creator. God created the earth specifically to sustain life.
Evolution requires that the ingredients necessary to support life are the product of random processes.
Atheism: The atheist often criticizes the believer by remarking, “How can you believe in creation when there is no God?” To say there is no God is to say one has enough knowledge to conclude there is no God. But an atheist can never have sufficient knowledge to be certain there is no God. He would have to be omniscient, for if there is something outside his area of knowledge, that something could include God. An atheist would have to be everywhere in and out of the universe all at one time; for if there is anywhere he cannot be, God could be there.
No atheist can claim total knowledge; therefore, atheism is self-refuting. Knowing everything and being everywhere is to be like God. Since no one can prove God does not exist, the question becomes irrelevant and so does atheism. Thus, creation cannot be ruled out as a potential alternative.
Origin of God: The Bible makes no attempt to prove the existence of God, nor to describe His origin. It simply says, “God has spoken; God has acted.” The first chapter of Genesis uses the word “God” 32 times, it is the most God-centered chapter in the Bible.
“The idea of creation is inconceivable without God.” (Wemher Von Braun, Vice President, Fairchild industries, German-town, Maryland)
Alexander I. Solzhenitsyn, winner of the 1970 Nobel Prize for Literature gave an address in London in which he endeavored to explain why so much evil had befallen his people, the Soviets: “Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened…
Since then I have spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”
The Atheistic Faith: Atheistic evolutionists believe:
* No supernatural power exists.
* All creation is the product of chance.
* Living matter comes from dead matter.
* intelligence and conscience appeared without sponsorship.
* Matter is self-creative, self-determinate and indestructible.
* Nothing produced something.
* Intelligence, design, conscience, and personality are free from any external influence.
* Life follows a deterministic law.
It boils down to choosing to have faith in accidental miracles or created miracles—God or man.
“… In the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, ‘Where is this coming he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.…’ But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness” (2 Peter 3:4 NIV).
Evolution is an animistic religion requiring completely uncritical faith, offering an absurd life and absolute death as rewards for belief. The evolutionist says he does not believe in God because he cannot believe the supernatural miracles which violate or deviate from the known laws of nature. However, the theory of evolution violates every known law for its existence. The atheistic faith is more incredible than Christian faith in light of the evidences.
Is Evolution Scientific? No matter how one looks at it, the theory of evolution must trace back to a point at which inanimate matter became a living form. Here is the absurd story of evolution:
in the primordial past …
which no longer exist …
Unknown life forms
which are not to be found …
but could, through …
Unknown reproduction methods
spawn new life …
in an …
Unknown atmospheric composition …
in an …
Unknown oceanic soup complex …
at an …
Unknown time and place.
*Composed by Dr. Henry Morris, the above reveals evolution does not constitute a bona fide scientific theory. Evolution is 20th century mythology.
The Odds for Evolution: One of the best known evolutionists, Julian Huxley, surmised that the probability of natural selection leading to higher forms to be one chance in a number so large, it would occupy 1500 pages of print. Yet he made the following statement, which shows the amazing depth of his anti-God religious zeal:
“No one would bet on anything so improbable happening … and yet it happened” (Huxley, Evolution in Action, 1953).
In his book, The Creation EvolutionControversy, R. L. Wysong makes a forceful expression from a technical standpoint.
“Evolution requires plenty of faith: a faith in proteins that defy chance formation; a faith in the formation of DNA codes which if generated spontaneously would spell only pandemonium; a faith in a primitive environment that in reality would fiendishly devour any chemical precursor to life; a faith in (origin of life) experiments that prove nothing but the need for intelligence in the beginning; a faith in a primitive ocean that would not thicken but would hopelessly dilute chemicals; a faith in natural laws including the laws of thermodynamics and biogenesis that actually deny the possibility for the spontaneous generation of life; a faith in future scientific revelations which when realized always seem to present more dilemmas to the evolutionists; faith in probabilities that reasonably tell two stories—one denying evolution, the other confirming the creator; faith in transformations that remain fixed; faith in mutations and natural selection that add to a double negative for evolution; faith in fossils which embarrassingly show fixity through time, regular absence of transitional forms and striking testimony to a worldwide water deluge; a faith in time which proves to only promote degradation in the absence of mind; and faith in reductionism that ends up reducing the materialist’s arguments to zero and forcing the need to invoke a supernatural creator.”
Battle Between Two Religions: The controversy over creation and evolution is really a battle between two religions. One must choose the chance, randomness, no-God evolutionary philosophy which provides the basis for the religion of humanism in which ‘anything goes’; homosexuality, nudity, abortion, incest, etc., cannot be regarded as evil, for evil does not exist. Or one must choose the absolutes of the Creator God who made everything, and therefore has the authority to dictate what is right or wrong for His creation. The choice, then, is between the religion of Christianity with the basis of its Gospel in a literal creation, or the religion of humanism with its basis in evolution.
Sir Julian Huxley, one of the world’s leading evolutionists, head of UNESCO, descendant of Thomas Huxley—“Darwin’s bulldog”—said on a talk show, “I suppose the reason we leaped at The Origin of Species was because the idea of God interfered with our sexual mores.””
What Scientists Think of Evolution:
•Ultimately the Darwinian theory of evolution is no more nor less than the great cosmogenic myth of the twentieth century.—Michael Denton, molecular biologist and medical doctor
• It is becoming increasingly apparent that evolutionism is not even a good scientific theory.—Dr. Willem J. Ouweneel, Research Associate in Developmental Genetics, Ultrech, Netherlands
• What I have learned in the past ten years of review of recent scientific knowledge of cellular morphology and physiology, the code of life (DNA), and the lack of supporting evidence for evolution in the light of recent scientific evidence is a shocking rebuttal to the theory of evolution.—Dr. Isaac Manly of Harvard Medical School
Arthur Field has pointed out, evolution is based “upon belief in the reality of the unseen; belief in the fossils that cannot be produced, belief in embryological evidence that does not exist, belief in the breeding experiments that refuse to come off.”
• The human fossil record is strongly supportive of the concept of Special Creation. On the other hand, the fossil evidence is so contrary to human evolution as to effectively falsify the idea that humans evolved.—Professor Marvin L. Lubenow, in his book Bones of Contention
Professor D. M. S. Watson, a famous evolutionist, made the remarkable observation that evolution itself is a theory universally accepted, “not because it has been observed to occur or can be proved by logically coherent evidence to be true, but because the only alternative—special creation—is clearly incredible.”
• For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.—Robert Jastrow, Ph.D. Chief of the Theoretical Division of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (1958–61) and Founder/Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute; Professor of Geophysics at Columbia University; Professor of Space Studies—Earth Sciences at Dartmouth College, in his book God and the Astronomers
• Can all of life be fit into Darwin’s theory of evolution?… If you search the scientific literature on evolution, and if you focus your search on the question of how molecular machines—the basis of life—developed, you find an eerie and complete silence. The complexity of life’s foundation has paralyzed science’s attempt to account for it.… I do not think [Darwin’s mechanism] explains molecular life.—Michael Behe, Associate Professor of Biochemistry at Lehigh University
(NOTES adapted from Dr. James Boice, GENESIS, VOL.1)
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.~ Genesis 1:1–2
When Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1859, he received more abuse than perhaps any modern scientist. To be sure, even Einstein originally objected to Slipher’s discovery of an expanding universe. He wrote, “This circumstance irritates me.” Others also objected. But none of these heaped personal abuse on Slipher. Darwin, by contrast, was greeted with: “Rotten fabric of speculation. … Utterly false. … Deep in the mire of folly [and] … I laughed till my sides were sore.”2 The remarkable thing, however, is that the theory that became the laughing stock and then eventually the battleground of the second half of the nineteenth century has now become widely accepted, not only by scientists but also by a wide variety of people from most walks of life.
Let us say at the beginning that a final answer as to how the universe came into being may not be attainable now. We may exclude some possibilities, both as Christians and as scientists. As Christians we may exclude even more. But this still falls short of a full answer to the “how.” Indeed, even taking the explanations of origins in the order proposed above does not necessarily imply that the latter positions are better than the earlier ones. They are taken in this order simply because they have appeared in this order historically.
The Evolutionary Theory
We begin by noting that in spite of the association of evolution with the name of Charles Darwin, evolution itself is nothing new. It existed among the ancient Greeks, for example. Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Epicurus, and Lucretius were all evolutionists. So also was Aristotle (384–322 b.c.), who believed in a complete gradation in nature accompanied by a perfecting principle. This was imagined to have caused gradation from the imperfect to the perfect. Man, of course, stood at the highest point of the ascent.
Again, there were evolutionists in more modern times before Darwin. Some early precursors were Francis Bacon (1561–1626), René Descartes (1596–1650), and Immanuel Kant (1724–1804). The first biologist to make a contribution to evolutionary thought was George Louis Leclerc de Buffon (1707–1788), the French naturalist. Another was Erasmus Darwin (1731–1802), the grandfather of Charles Darwin. The first fairly complete theory of evolution was by Chevalier de Lamarck (1744–1829), who became a professor in zoology at the Museum of Natural History in Paris and later popularized his views in Philosophie Zoologique.
It was Charles Darwin, however, who rightly captured the world’s attention. His theory was developed to a degree that none of the others were and, perhaps even more importantly, it was supported by an impressive array of observations collected initially on the world-encircling tour of the HMS Beagle from 1831 to 1836. Darwin’s theory may be arranged in these postulates and conclusions.
Postulate number one: variation. There are variations within individuals of the same species.
Postulate number two: overproduction. In most cases, more individuals are born to a species than can possibly survive to maturity.
Conclusion number one: struggle for existence. In order to survive individuals must compete with other members of the same species.
Postulate number three: survival of the fittest. In a competitive environment only those individuals best fitted to survive will survive.
Postulate number four: inheritance of favorable characteristics. Fit individuals pass their “good” characteristics to their descendants.
Final conclusion: New species arise by the continued survival and reproduction of the individuals best suited to their particular environment.
What has happened to this theory in the one hundred or so years since the publication of Darwin’s Origin? For the most part it is still held, though much work has been done in the one area that presents a flaw in the argument. As anyone can see, the chief mechanism of evolution according to Darwin’s theory is “natural selection,” the impersonal preference given to a certain variation in a species permitting one individual rather than another to survive. This is supposed to explain how the variety of forms we know came about. But this is precisely what it does not do. Natural selection may explain how certain individuals have more offspring than others and therefore survive, or survive and have offspring while other less favored individuals do not. But it does not tell us how there came to be the various organisms or “good” characteristics of organisms in the first place.
Thomas Bethell, editor of the Washington Monthly, has written of this problem in an article for Harper’s Magazine. He observes, “There is, then, no ‘selection’ by nature at all. Nor does nature ‘act’ as it so often is said to do in biology books. One organism may indeed be ‘fitter’ than another from an evolutionary point of view, but the only event that determines this fitness is death (or infertility). This, of course, is not something which helps create the organism, but is something that terminates it.”
To deal with this problem evolutionists have come to speak of mutations as the primary source of variations. This was proposed first by a Dutch botanist, Hugo de Vries, in a work entitled Species and Varieties: Their Origin by Mutation (1905). It has since been suggested that mutations are caused by cosmic radiations, the latter being perhaps far more intense than in modern times.
The Fossil Record
What are we to say of Darwin’s theory? We must begin by noting that there is no question on the part of any informed thinker or writer that there are varieties within a given species. This is simply to say that all individuals are not alike. Some are tall, some short. Some are strong, others weak, and so on. The question is whether these acknowledged variations are sufficient to account for the development of entirely different species and, second, whether such development has in fact occurred. (The possibility of the development of species in this manner does not prove that this is the way it happened.)
At this point we have to turn to the evidence for evolution, and when we do we must acknowledge that the only true historical evidence is the evidence of fossils. There are other things that might be seen as supporting evolution: the possibility of classifying organisms from the simple to the more complex, similarities of structure in “related” species, the existence of vestigial organs (that is, organs like the human appendix for which no present function is known), similar blood types between some species. But these are all circumstantial arguments, and in some cases they are also ambiguous. The only truly historical evidence—evidence that evolution has actually occurred—is fossils.
The fossil remains may be evidence of evolution, but what is not adequately said today is that they do not prove evolution and are in fact highly questionable when applied to evolutionary theory. Let us begin with positive statements. First, although very fragmentary, the fossils do lend themselves to a historical sequence in which the more simple forms of life may be dated earlier (because found in older rock) and more complex forms of life may be dated later. Thus, although the very ancient dates given may be wrong, it does seem that algae, protozoa, and sponges came first. After that are fish, reptiles, and amphibians, then the land animals, including the dinosaurs. Finally, there are the animals we know today, and then man. Another positive statement is that some species have become extinct, the dinosaurs being the most notable example. The combination of these two sets of observations suggests that new forms of life develop and that others become extinct—according to Darwin.
But it is not that simple. There are problems in fitting the fossil record into an evolutionary system. Moreover, these are so great as to bring the entire theory into question.
For example, if evolution is true, what we should expect to find in the fossil record is finely graded and generally continuous development from the simplest forms to the higher forms. Although this is often claimed for the fossil record, it is not what is in fact found when we study it closely. Certainly there are simpler forms in (presumably) earlier rocks. Higher forms (like man) come relatively late. But there are no gradual developments. On the contrary, the major groups appear suddenly, and there is little or no evidence of transition. Everett C. Olson, a well-known evolutionist, mentions this difficulty: “More important, however, are the data revealed by the fossil record. There are great spatial and temporal gaps, sudden appearances of new major groups, equally sudden appearances of old, including very rapid extinctions of groups that had flourished for long periods of time. There were mass extinctions marked by equally simultaneous death of several apparently little associated groups of organisms. At the time the record first is seen with any real clarity [in Cambrian rock strata], the differentiation of phyla is virtually complete. As far as major groups are concerned, we see little clear evidence of time succession in differentiation with the simpler first and the more complex later.”
It may be argued at this point—indeed, it is argued by evolutionists—that the fossil record is simply incomplete, that if fossils for every prior form of life existed, such gaps would be filled. But in a hundred years of study the tendency has not been this way, and it is hard to convince oneself today that this will yet happen. It is not just a question of several missing links. There are hundreds of missing links. Moreover, the grouping of major species in certain past periods of earth’s history works strongly against this argument. Christians can argue, even if they cannot fully prove, that special creation is a far better explanation.
A second major problem with the use of fossils to support evolution is the subjective nature of arranging fossil histories. It might be argued by one who has seen the difficulty just mentioned that there is nevertheless evidence for development within one of the ancient time periods, even if not from one to the other. The supposed development of the horse from the Eocene period to modern times is an oft-cited example. During 60 million or so years the horse is supposed to have increased in size, lengthened its limbs, reduced and then eventually discarded toes, and become a grazer. Many museums have skeletons or pictures that are supposed to represent this development. But the fossils do not prove this development. They may suggest it, and the development they suggest may in fact be right. But there is still no evidence that one supposed form of the horse gave place to another. In actuality the skeletons may have come from similar but otherwise unrelated animals. Moreover, even if the fossils of these horselike animals prove a development, it is still not an example of the development of new species but only of a change within a species.
Another area of difficulty for evolution is the mechanism used to explain the emergence of significant variations in the species, chiefly mutations (sudden unexpected changes brought about by otherwise unexplained alterations in the organism’s genes). This was the solution to the problem of “newness” proposed by Hugo de Vries. De Vries did his work with the evening primrose, a weed that he found in a potato field. He bred this plant over a period of several generations in the course of which he noticed a number of abrupt changes that he called mutations. He concluded that these were developments of such magnitude that the process itself could explain the emergence of new species.
Unfortunately, the new “species” of de Vries were not new species but simply varieties within the same species. Moreover, they were not produced by mutations in the sense of that word today but rather by breeding out recessive characteristics. In other words, de Vries produced nothing that was not in the plant originally.
De Vries’s failure does not entirely discredit the theory, however, for mutations do occur and can be passed down from generation to generation. The question is whether these mutations are sufficient to account for new species. Are they? Many evolutionists would say yes at this point. But it is important to note that no one has as yet demonstrated this to be so. In fact, there is important evidence to the contrary. Walter Lammerts is a rose breeder from southern California and the author of the books Why Not Creation? and Scientific Studies in Creation. He tells of attempts to breed roses with more petals or less petals, using every imaginable technique including radiation. He acknowledges that it is possible to use radiation to create roses with a significant increase in petals. But here is the point: there is a limit beyond which the increase in petals apparently will not go. If a rose has forty-four petals, for example, it may be reduced to thirty-two or increased to fifty-six. But that is all. Moreover, if the hybrid rose is left to mix with others from that point on, it does not retain its new characteristics but soon loses them. In fact, all the hybrid roses we have would soon turn to wild roses if left to them-selves—because they are bred from the wild roses originally. And if that in itself is not enough to cast doubt on the theory, there is the fact that the “improved” roses did not attain their improved form naturally but rather through the concentrated and prolonged efforts of Lammerts and other breeders. In other words, even in so limited a matter as this there is need for a design and a designer, a planner and a plan.
The Crucial Areas
An essay such as this can only begin to suggest a few of the problems the theory of evolution poses. But even in such a short study, concentrating on the basic scientific evidence for and against evolution, we can hardly pass over the far greater and (from the point of view of the Christian) unsolvable problems that exist where the crucial points of evolution are concerned. There are four of them.
First, even were we to grant the truthfulness of the evolutionary system as currently put forth, we still have the problem of the origin of the matter from which the later forms sprang. Evolution implies matter by the very meaning of the word, for in order for something to evolve there must be something there in the first place to evolve, and that first something cannot evolve but rather must be either eternally present or created. Since the eternity of matter is today increasingly untenable, as we saw in a previous study, we must have God as Creator. And this obviously nudges us toward the Christian position, whatever our opinions of a greater or lesser degree of evolutionary development may be.
Second, there is the form of matter. We may speak of “mere” matter as if it were a simple irreducible entity, but we do not actually know of any such “simple” matter and cannot in fact even conceive of it. Everything we know, however simple, already has a form—generally a highly complex form. Even hydrogen, the basic building block of everything according to astrophysics, is not simple. It has a proton, neutron, and electron, all operating according to fixed laws. Where did this fixed form and laws come from? They did not evolve. They are in matter to start with.
Third, there is the emergence of life. This is a complex problem, and much has been done to develop laboratory models according to which life could have arisen on earth during the early ages of the planet. The most acceptable model is a three-stage process involving: 1) the origin of bio-organics (amino acids, sugars) from inorganic compounds (hydrogen, water, ammonia, carbon dioxide, methane); 2) the origin of biopolymers (large molecules such as proteins) from the bio-organics; and finally 3) the origin of primordial life (simple plant or algaelike cells) from the biopolymers. But this is an extremely complex process, even assuming that this is how life came about, and therefore has an extremely low level of probability. True, scientists have achieved the first two of these stages in carefully controlled laboratory experiments. But the crucial third stage is elusive. And even in the second stage, the polymers seem to deteriorate faster than they would normally be created in anything approaching a natural environment. Again, it is not a matter of a single event of low probability. It is a matter of a long series of events, each with a very small probability, so that, as one writer says, “for all practical purposes the probability of this series of events may safely be regarded as zero.”
Two scientists, who nevertheless believe in the spontaneous generation of life, write, “The macromolecule-to-cell transition is a jump of fantastic dimensions, which lies beyond the range of testable hypothesis. In this area, all is conjecture. The available facts do not provide a basis for postulating that cells arose on this planet.”
The fourth of the truly great problems for an atheistic theory of evolution is the emergence of personality in man, or to be more specific, the emergence of the soul, spirit, or God-consciousness. What caused non-man to become man? One writer asks, “Where did the soul of man come from? Why is it that the highest and best animals are unable to pray? They are unable to communicate in a rational way. They are unable to do the things that man is able to do. The lowest type of man upon the face of the earth is far higher than the highest of the animals, because he has the capacity to worship God and can be brought to be a child of God, able to live in the glory of God through Jesus Christ, and that is true of none of the animals.” This writer concludes, “I am not ashamed to say that I believe in the first chapter of Genesis, but I should be ashamed to say that I held to any form of evolution.”
“Another reason, we believe, why evolution continues to be taught in spite of the contrary evidence is the educational mindset that grips our schools today. Our schools have essentially “ruled out the answer before they asked the question.” They have said, “There is no God! Now let’s ask the question: What is the origin of life?” The reason they never find the answer is because they ruled it out before they asked the question! It is highly unscientific and anti-intellectual to rule out answers before you ask questions…The tragedy is that evolution is a nineteenth-century philosophy that has been destroyed by twentieth-century science. Yet the lie continues to be perpetuated, not on scientific grounds, but because it is what morally justifies our immoral society today.” ~ Ron Carlson, Fast Facts on False Teachings
Dr. Phillip E. Johnson, Professor of Law at the University of California at Berkeley, has written a book exposing the falsehood of evolution entitled Darwin on Trial. He was speaking at a conference when he was asked this question, Why Is Evolution Still Taught when it is such a weak theory of origins?”. His reply was very interesting coming from someone within the academic community: Most professors continue to teach evolution in the universities out of fear. This fear is that of not being tenured, of not getting research grants, of not being published, and of not being accepted by their peers. So to be accepted, to be published, to be granted research money, and to be tenured by their university, they must follow the party line, which is evolution. This is how the academic game is played!”
I conclude with this question. Why is it, if the theory of evolution is as weak as it seems to be, that it has the popular appeal acknowledged at the beginning of this chapter? Why is it that evolution is today’s dominant view and not one of the other views mentioned? I think there are four answers, three of which I want to put in the form of statements and one of which I want to put in the form of a question.
The statements are these. First, according to evolution, everything—absolutely everything—is knowable, and this has obvious appeal. Everything comes from something else, and we can trace the developments back. It is a closed system. There is no need for anything outside. Above all, there is no need for God who by the very definition of that word is One who is unknowable and who does not need to give an account of himself. Second, according to evolution, there is one explanation for everything. Everything evolves: matter, life, ideas, even religion. We can project this framework from our own small world throughout the universe. Third, and this is perhaps the chief reason, if creation of the world by God is eliminated (as many clearly wish to do), evolution is the only other option.
On the basis of those three statements I now ask my question: Is it not possible, then, that in the last analysis the appeal of evolution is in its elimination of God and its exaltation of man? In this system man does not merely become the highest point of creation, which Christians would themselves willingly affirm. He becomes the god of creation. Consequently, to challenge evolution is to blaspheme against man, and blasphemy against man is the sin for which there is now no pardon. Algernon Charles Swinburne gives expression to this spirit in his Hymn of Man.
But God, if a God there be, is the
Substance of men which is Man.
Thou art smitten, thou God, thou art smitten;
Thy death is upon thee, O Lord.
And the love-song of earth as thou diest
Resounds through the wind of her wings—
Glory to Man in the highest!
For Man is the master of things.
Is man the master? If he is, then he can go his way and devise any theory of origins he chooses. But if he is not—if there is a God—then he is the creation of this God and owes this God allegiance.
“I now believe that the universe was brought into existence by an infinite Intelligence. I believe that this universe’s intricate laws manifest what scientists have called the Mind of God. I believe that life and reproduction originate in a divine Source. Why do I believe this, given that I expounded and defended atheism for more than a half century? The short answer is this: this is the world picture, as I see it, that has emerged from modern science…Although I was once sharply critical of the argument to design, I have since come to see that, when correctly formatted, this argument constitutes a persuasive case for the existence of God. ~ Antony Flew, There is a God (Kindle:1087)
“If we don’t know that there is such a person as God, we don’t know the first thing (the most important thing) about ourselves, each other and our world. This is because… the most important truths about us and them, is that we have been created by the Lord, and utterly depend upon Him for our continued existence.” ~ Alvin Plantinga in Warranted Christian Belief
“Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded…We are cruel to ourselves if we try to live in this world without knowing about the God whose world it is and who runs it.” ~ J.I. Packer
“God exists by His own power. He alone is self-existent. Aseity, meaning “self-existence,” is the characteristic that separates Him from all other things. God is the only one who can say, ‘I am who I am…The grand difference between a human being and a Supreme Being is precisely this: Apart from God I cannot exist; apart from me God does exist. God does not need me in order for Him to be. I do need God in order for me to be. This is the difference between what we call a self-existent being and a dependent being…In Him we have our being. It is because of His self-existence that we can exist at all. You and I exist in His power and by His power. We are because He is.~ R.C. Sproul, Enjoying God, pp. 29, 32, 39.
Evolution (Naturalistic & Theistic) Critiqued
Ashton, John. Evolution Impossible: 12 Reasons Why Evolution Cannot Explain the Origin of Life on Earth.
Baugh, Carl E. Why Do Men Believe Evolution Against All Odds?
Behe, Michael J. A Mousetrap for Darwin: Michael J. Behe Answers His Critics.
*Behe, Michael J. Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution.
Behe, Michael J. The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism.
Behe, Michael J. Darwin Devolves: The New Science About DNA That Challenges Evolution.
Bergman, Jerry. Censoring the Darwin Skeptics: How Belief in Evolution Is Enforced by Eliminating Dissidents (Volume 3, Second Edition).
Bergman, Jerry. Evolution’s Blunders, Frauds and Forgeries.
Bergman, Jerry. Fossil Forensics: Separating Fact From Fantasy in Paleontology.
Bergman, Jerry. Hitler and the Nazi Darwinian Worldview: How the Nazi Eugenic Crusade for a Superior Race Caused the Greatest Holocaust in World History.
Bergman, Jerry. How Darwinism Corrodes Morality: Darwinism, Immorality, Abortion and the Sexual Revolution.
Bergman, Jerry. Silencing the Darwin Skeptics: The War Against Theists (Volume 2).
Bergman, Jerry. Slaughter of the Dissidents: The Shocking Truth About Killing Careers of Darwin Daughters (Volume 1, Second Edition).
Bergman, Jerry. The Dark Side of Darwin: A Critical Analysis of an Icon of Science.
Bergman, Jerry. The Darwin Effect: Its Influence On Nazism, Eugenics, Racism, Cammunism, Capitalism, & Sexism.
Bergman, Jerry. The Last Pillars of Darwinian Evolution Falsified: Further Evidence Proving Darwinian Evolution Wrong.
Bergman, Jerry. The Three Pillars of Evolution Demolished: Why Darwin Was Wrong.
Bergman, Jerry. Useless Organs: The Rise And Fall Of A Central Claim Of Evolution.
Berlinski, David. The Deniable Darwin.
*Bethell, Tom. Darwin’s House Of Cards: A Journalists Odyssey Through The Darwin Debates.
*Carlson, Ron and Ed Decker. “Evolution The Incredible Theory” in Fast Facts on False Teaching.
Carter, Robert, ed. Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels: 9 Ph.D. Scientists Explain Evolutions Fatal Flaws—In Areas Claimed To Be Its Greatest Strengths.
Comfort, Ray. Intelligent Design Vs. Evolution: Letters to an Atheist.
Comfort, Ray. Nothing Created Everything: The Scientific Impossibility of Atheistic Evolution.
*Denton, Michael. Evolution: A Theory In Crises.
Denton, Michael. Evolution: Still A Theory In Crises.
Gale, Barry G. Evolution Without Evidence: Charles Darwin and The Origin of the Species.
Gallop, Roger G. Evolution: The Greatest Deception In Modern History.
*Gish, Duane T. Evolution: The Fossils Still Say No!
*Gish, Duane T. Letter To A Theistic Evolutionist: Sincerely your brother in Christ.
Gitt, Werner. Did God Use Evolution?
*Grudem, Wayne, ed. A Biblical Case Against Theistic Evolution: Is It Compatible with the Bible?
Ham, Ken, and Bodie Hodge, eds. Glass House: Shattering the Myth of Evolution.
Ham, Ken. The Lie: Evolution (Revised & Expanded Edition).
Hanegraaf, Hank. The FARCE of Evolution.
Javor, George. Evidences for Creation: Natural Mysteries Evolution Cannot Explain.
*Jeanson, Nathaniel T. Replacing Darwin: The New Origin of Species.
*Johnson, Phillip E. Darwin on Trial.
*Johnson, Phillip E. Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds.
*Johnson, Phillip E. Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law Education.
*Kethley, Kenneth D., and Mark F. Rooker. 40 Questions About Creation and Evolution.
Kinson, John M. God & Evolution: How An Atheist Scientist Changed His Mind.
Meyer, Stephen C. Paul A Nelson, et al. Explore Evolution: The Arguments For and Against Neo-Darwinism.
Moore, David T. Five Lies Of The Century (Evolution is an established scientific fact).
Morrison John. Evolution’s Final Days: The Mounting Evidence Disproving Evolution.
*Rhodes, Ron. The 10 Things You Should Know About the Creation vs. Evolution Debate.
Richards, Jay, editor. God And Evolution.
Richards, Lawrence O. It Couldn’t Just Happen: Fascinating Facts About God’s World.
Ross, Hugh. What Darwin Didn’t Know.
Sarfati, Jonathan. Refuting Evolution.
Sarfati, Jonathan. The Greatest Hoax on Earth? Refuting Dawkins on Evolution.
Simmons, M.D. Geoffrey. What Darwin Didn’t Know: A Doctor Dissects the Theory of Evolution.
Sivanesan, Nirushan. Objections to Evolution.
Spetner, Lee M. Not by Chance! Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution.
Spetner, Lee M. The Evolution Revolution: Why Thinking People Are Rethinking the Theory of Evolution.
Thomas, Neil. Taking Leave Of Darwin: A Longtime Agnostic Discovers the Case for Design.
Woodward, Thomas. Doubts About Darwin.
Naturalism/Materialism/ & Scientism Critiqued
Berlinski, David. The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions.
Copan, Paul and Charles Taliaferro, eds. The Naturalness of Belief: New Essays on Theism’s Rationality.
*Crain, Natasha. Faithfully Different: Regaining Biblical Clarity in a Secular Culture.
Dembski, William A., and Jonathan Wells. How To Be An Intellectually Fulfilled Atheist (or not).
Gange, Robert. Godless Folly: Scientific Observations That Refute Materialism.
Gordon, Bruce and William Dembski. The Nature of Nature: Examining the Role of Naturalism in Science.
Hunter, Cornelius G. Science’s Blind Spot: The Unseen Religion of Scientific Naturalism.
*Johnson, Phillip E. Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law Education
Johnson, Phillip E. The Wedge of Truth: Splitting The Foundations of Naturalism.
Lennox, John. Can Science Explain Everything?
Lennox, John. God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?
*Meyer, Stephen C. Return of the God Hypothesis: Three Scientific Discoveries That Reveal the Mind Behind the Universe.
*Moreland, J.P. Christianity and the Nature of Science.
*Moreland, J.P. Scientism and Secularism: Learning to Respond to a Dangerous Ideology.
Nagel, Thomas. Mind And Cosmos: Why The Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False.
Plantinga, Alvin. Where The Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, & Naturalism.
Shepardson, Andrew J. Who’s Afraid of the Unmoved Mover?: Postmodernism and Natural Theology.
Stokes, Mitch. How To Be An Atheist: Why Skeptics Aren’t Skeptical Enough.
Turek, Frank. Stealing from God: Why Atheists Need God to Make Their Case.
Williams, Richard N. and Daniel N. Robinson, eds. Scientism: The New Orthodoxy.
West, John G. editor. The Magician’s Twin: C.S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society.
A Good Overview of R.C. Sproul’s Theological Passions
By David P. Craig
This is the third biographical book I’ve read on one of my theological heroes: R.C. Sproul. The other two being by his son, Growing Up (with) R.C.: Truths I have learned about Grace, Redemption, and the Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul jr.; and R.C. Sproul: A Life by Stephen J. Nichols. R.C. is arguably (in my opinion, most definitely) the greatest and most influential evangelical theologian of the closing of the twentieth century and the first two decades of the twenty-first century. I am hopeful that more biographies will be forthcoming – that especially address some topics I will delineate below.
I like, the author, have been following R.C.’s teachings and have read all of his books, been to three Ligonier conferences, and have been heavily influenced by Dr. Sproul in my own life and ministry as a Senior Pastor. Many people have had their foot in the door to R.C.’s influence via reading his classic book the Holiness of God or through the Video series by the same title. In my opinion this book was the most important theological book written in the twentieth century, and will continue to be read until the return of Jesus Christ.
What Pickowicz does in this brief biography is really highlight the key points of Sproul’s life: his childhood in Pittsburgh; his conversion to Christ in college; his scholarly pursuits as a philosopher and theologian; and then hones in on his key ministries (Ligonier Study Center, Ligonier Ministries, and Senior Pastor of Saint Andrews Church) and worldwide theological influence through his speaking and writing.
The most interesting insight to me was how the controversies Sproul was involved with were reflections of the same controversies in the reformation during the 1500’s. As a template for what Pickowicz writes in the book early on he writes, “Once I began research for this book, it occurred to me that R.C.’s five decades of ministry loosely reflected the five solas of the Reformation. In the early 1970s R.C. led the Evangelical charge for the inerrancy and authority of the Bible (sola Scriptura). In the 1980s he labored for the rediscovery of the holiness and sovereignty of God, with his contribution Chosen by God firmly articulating the heart of sola gratia. In the 1990s he was quite literally contending for sola fide, as he was forced to stand against his own friends in opposing the Evangelicals and Catholics Together movement. The fourth decade of his public ministry brought him into pastoral ministry—the shepherding of Christ’s church. For years he had defended the Protestant view of salvation against the errors of Roman Catholicism, which propagates salvation through celebrating Mass; R.C. was emphatic that the sole source of our salvation and central focus of church worship was Christ alone (solus Christus). Finally, in the last decade of R.C.’ s life, Ligonier Ministries broadened their worldwide reach as R.C. began to explore other expressions of ministry such as founding a Bible college, releasing two albums of original hymns, publishing children’s books, and more—his attempt to do all things for the glory of God—soli Deogloria.”
The author does a good job of summarizing the theological emphasis of Sproul’s teaching and writing. He emphasizes the sola’s and their importance for Sproul, and for evangelicalism in the twenty-first century. Thus far the works listed above by Nichols, Sproul jr., and the current offering have a lot of material that can be gleaned through Sproul’s writings, videos, sermons, and lectures.
I hope someone who was close to him (maybe Vesta, his wife, or Sinclair Ferguson, Steven Lawson, John MacArthur, or Burk Parsons, hint, hint) will write a more personal biography that will examine some of these issues: (1) How did he spend his time? Sproul was prolific (the author writes that Sproul estimated he lectured, taught, and gave close to 30,000 speeches/sermons). I’d like to know how he did his lecture, sermon, and video preparation. There is some insight into this, but I’d like to see more. So far, not one has really talked about “how” he did what he did. Everyone has talked about the content, but how did he put it together. (2) How about his prayer life? When did he pray? Did he have any methods of prayer? (3) He loved sports – the Steelers and Pirates; and was at one time a scratch golfer. I’d like to know how he spent his free time. Did he take days off? I know he didn’t like to fly, but how about vacations and how did he integrate work with free time? (4) So far the three biographies above make R.C. sound super human and almost sinless. Not that I want “dirt.” But I’m glad that the Bible includes weaknesses as well as strengths of all of the saints. I’d like to know more about his struggles and how God helped him through those struggles. (5) He was an accomplished pianist and enjoyed the arts – I’d like to hear more about his side interests and how this influenced his love for God and giving glory to God in all things – including golf and playing the piano. (6) How did he balance life and work with family? He seems to be a wonderful husband, father, and grand father, but how did he do it? How did he make time for his family in the midst of so many demands? I could go on and on.
I hope and pray that someone will be able to write a respectful and yet more intimate biography of Sproul. Maybe we will never get that. But I hope we will. Like many who love R.C. as a theological mentor I hope that someone will “take up and write” what we don’t know and can’t find from his own works. I long for a biography that gets into the soul of Sproul. Since R.C. Sproul never wrote an autobiography, maybe we will have to wait until heaven to ask him ourselves.
I am grateful for the influence of Sproul, and for those like Pickowicz who have taken the time to write about him and his theology. May many more biographies be forthcoming so that we can learn from a man who had a passion for God, truth, the gospel, Jesus, and His Word – for His glory. Thanks to the author for a job well done – R.C. would be pleased that His Lord and Savior was honored, the gospel was proclaimed, and God received glory. I especially recommend this book for those that aren’t as familiar with R.C., as a good introduction to his life, teaching, and worldwide influence for the glory of God.
(1) The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul. I would read this book first because it is a paradigm shifter. It will show you how Great God is and how sinful we are by way of comparison…but it will set you on the right track of learning to be more God-centered than man-centered (which is mankind’s “default” mode).
(2) The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer. This is a short book with 23 chapters on the attributes of God. It shows how we can’t think rightly about ourselves until we think rightly about God. Again – gets the focus off of ourselves and onto God.
(3-4) The Bondage Breaker and Victory Over The Darkness by Neil T. Anderson. These were written by one of my favorite professors in seminary. The first deals with how to overcome negative thoughts, irrational feelings, and habitual sins; and the second book helps you to realize the immense significance of your identity in Christ and NOT having it in anything but Jesu
(5) The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller. Helps you to clearly understand the difference between “religion” and a “relationship” with God through the amazing good news of the gospel.
(6) Christ’s Call to Discipleship by James Montgomery Boice. There are many good books on what it means to follow Christ. This is a good first book to read on the subject. There is nothing more important in life than knowing what it means to be, become, make and multiply disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
(7) Knowing Scripture by R.C. Sproul. Nothing is more important in the Christian life than knowing and applying Scripture. This book is a clear guide to learning how to read and study the Bible.
(8-9) Know Why You Believe and How To Give Away Your Faith by Paul E. Little- These two books by Paul Little are still unsurpassed in helping you to know how to give a reason for your faith by answering the biggest objections to Christianity and to be able to share the gospel with others effectively.
(10) Emotionally Healthy Spirituality and The Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Workbook by Peter Scazzero. This book and the accompanying workbook will be one of the more difficult to work through. It will be challenging work. But if you persevere through both it will be absolutely liberating and life transforming. The subtitle of this book is “It’s impossible to be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature.” That’s so true. This book will help you become a well rounded and balanced Christian – especially after reading all the books above.
*I (David P. Craig) have read over one thousand of books on Christian Doctrine, Living, Commentaries, Biographies, etc. over my 50 years since becoming a Christian at the age of six. It’s impossible to discern the order of, or specific top ten books for any particular Christian. But a lot of new Christians have no idea where to begin. So this list is at least a good start for anyone beginning the journey of being, becoming, making, and multiplying disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ for life.
I have to admit that I have picked up Moby Dick several times over the years and never been able to read it all the way through. One of my New Year’s Resolutions this year was to read Moby Dick from cover to cover no matter what the cost! I can now finally say that I’ve read Moby Dick from cover to cover. Was it worth it? I would say, absolutely yes!
We live in an age of instant gratification and a lack of imagination. Melville’s classic goes against the grain of both of these “modernisms.” Moby Dick is lengthy, verbose, tangential, and yet he manages to wax amazingly and fascinatingly into the realms of human nature, philosophy, science, history, theology, and numerous other realms. It is a journey in reading that I’ve never experienced before.
It helped me immensely to do two things to persevere through the book. (1) I decided to read only one or two chapters a day and not try to rush through it. (2) I read the book along with the Audible reading by Anthony Heald. Heald masterfully read the book and through his interpretations of cadence and accents of the various characters added immensely to the enjoyment of the plot.
Melville’s use of language, change of pace, colorful and imaginative descriptions, and brilliance in his weaving of a myriad of themes makes the book a masterpiece. It took me a few times in my life to get through the entire book, but now that I have made the journey, not only was it worth it, but I will most definitely make this journey again and again. I am looking forward to reading it again. It’s the type of book that has so much depth in its symbolism, so much creativity, so much to ponder, that it bids you to come back and feast again. It’s no wonder it has been dubbed “The Great American Novel.” A well earned and deserved title by Melville. Its ilk will never likely be written again. I will forever treasure Moby Dick.
Take up Moby Dick and read it slowly, and ponder its truths. It will feed your senses and your soul. I am grateful for this masterpiece of literature. I hope that it will continue to be treasured in a world of quick fixes, fast food, and fads. Melville’s book is a delightful respite for the tranquility of the soul – especially as he touches on the meaning of life. I found it to draw me closer to my own sinfulness and the transcendent holiness and justice of God. What an amazing journey. All I can say is “Thank You” Mr. Melville for writing this treasure, and if you have never read it – take it up and read it. If you have already read it, take it up again and go deeper into its truths and delights.
It seems that every time a writer picks up a pen or turns on his word processor to compose a literary work of fiction, deep in his bosom resides the hope that somehow he will create the Great American Novel. Too late. That feat has already been accomplished and is as far out of reach for new novelists as is Joe DiMaggio’s fifty-six-game hitting streak or Pete Rose’s record of cumulative career hits for a rookie baseball player. The Great American Novel was written more than a hundred and fifty years ago by Herman Melville. This novel, the one that has been unsurpassed by any other, is Moby Dick.
My personal copy of Moby Dick is a leather-bound collector’s edition produced by Easton Press under the rubric “The Hundred Greatest Books Ever Written.”
Note that the claim here is not that Moby Dick is one of the hundred greatest books written in English, but rather that it is one of the hundred greatest books written in any language. Its greatness may be seen not in its sometimes cumbersome literary structure or its excursions into technicalia about the nature and function of whales (cetology). No, its greatness is found in its unparalleled theological symbolism. This symbolism is sprinkled abundantly throughout the novel, particularly in the identities of certain individuals who are assigned biblical names. Among the characters are Ahab, Ishmael, and Elijah, and the names Jeroboam and Rachel (“who was seeking her lost children”) are given to two of the ships in the story.
In a personal letter to Nathaniel Hawthorne upon completing this novel, Melville said, “I have written an evil book.” What is it about the book that Melville considered evil? I think the answer to that question lies in the meaning of the central symbolic character of the novel, Moby Dick, the great white whale. Melville experts and scholars come to different conclusions about the meaning of the great white whale. Many see this brutish animal as evil because it had inflicted great personal damage on Ahab in an earlier encounter. Ahab lost his leg, which was replaced by the bone of a lesser whale. Some argue that Moby Dick is Melville’s symbol of the incarnation of evil itself. Certainly this is the view of the whale held by Captain Ahab himself. Ahab is driven by a monomaniacal hatred for this creature, this brute that left him permanently damaged both in body and soul. He cries out, “He heaps me,” indicating the depth of the hatred and fury he feels toward this beast. Some have accepted Ahab’s view that the whale is a monstrous evil as that of Melville himself.
Other scholars have been convinced that the whale is not a symbol of evil but the symbol of God Himself. In this interpretation, Ahab’s pursuit of the whale is not a righteous pursuit of God but natural man’s futile attempt in his hatred of God to destroy the omnipotent deity. I favor this second view. It was the view held by one of my college professors—one of the five leading Melville scholars in the world at the time I studied under him. My senior philosophy research paper in college was titled “The Existential Implications of Melville’s Moby Dick.” In that paper, which I cannot reproduce in this brief article, I tried to set forth the theological structure of the narrative.
I believe that the greatest chapter ever written in the English language is the chapter of Moby Dick titled “The Whiteness of the Whale.” Here we gain an insight into the profound symbolism that Melville employs in his novel. He explores how whiteness is used in history, in religion, and in nature. The terms he uses to describe the appearance of whiteness in these areas include elusive, ghastly, and transcendent horror, as well as sweet, honorable, and pure. All of these are descriptive terms that are symbolized in one way or another by the presence of whiteness. In this chapter Melville writes,
But not yet have we solved the incantation of this whiteness, and learned why it appeals with such power to the soul; and more strange and far more portentous—why, as we have seen, it is at once the most meaning symbol of spiritual things, nay, the very veil of the Christian’s Deity; and yet should be as it is, the intensifying agent in things the most appalling to mankind. Is it that by its indefiniteness it shadows forth the heartless voids and immensities of the universe, and thus stabs us from behind with the thought of annihilation, when beholding the white depths of the milky way? Or is it, that as in essence whiteness is not so much a colour as the visible absence of colour; and at the same time the concrete of all colours; is it for these reasons that there is such a dumb blankness, full of meaning, in a wide landscape of snows—a colourless, all-colour of atheism from which we shrink?
He then concludes the chapter with these words: “And of all these things, the albino whale was the symbol. Wonder ye then at the fiery hunt?”
If the whale embodies everything that is symbolized by whiteness—that which is terrifying; that which is pure; that which is excellent; that which is horrible and ghastly; that which is mysterious and incomprehensible—does he not embody those traits that are found in the fullness of the perfections in the being of God Himself?
Who can survive the pursuit of such a being if the pursuit is driven by hostility? Only those who have experienced the sweetness of reconciling grace can look at the overwhelming power, sovereignty, and immutability of a transcendent God and find there peace rather than a drive for vengeance. Read Moby Dick, and then read it again.
*Article adapted from Table Talk, August 1, 2011 (ligonier.org.)
This short book by “The Bible Answer Man” packs a wallop. One of the things I like about most of Hank’s books is that he uses acronyms to help you remember the key points he is making in his writing. This is especially helpful for evangelism and apologetics so that if you read his materials you can recall the main points with those you are communicating with.
In this book Hanegraaf uses several acronyms to help one articulate the problems with evolution. One such acronym is F.A.C.E. Using FACE: F for Fossil record; A for Ape-Men; C for Chance; and E for Empirical science. The author quotes extensively from scientists, science facts, and creation scientists as well to demonstrate the lack of evidence for the religion of Evolution.
For anyone looking for a quick guide to understanding key problems with evolution; this is a good place to start. Some books on this subject are very technical and difficult to follow. Hanegraaf’s book is not dumbed down, it is articulate, but also clear, simple, and concise in its presentation. I recommend this book for anyone who wants to know what science really teaches, what facts and fictions are believed by scientists, and what passes for real science and how science and the Scriptures are compatible.
The way McCracken opens his book grips you from the outset. He writes, “Our world has more and more information, but less and less wisdom. More data; less clarity. More stimulation; less synthesis. More distraction; less stillness. More pontificating; less pondering. More opinion; less research. More speaking; less listening. More to look at; less to see. More amusements; less joy. There is more, but we are less. And we feel it.”
I really enjoyed reading this book because it spoke to the negative and positive realities of living in the “information age.” In the first three chapters the author deals with the data, statistics, and illustrates the downside of our information age and the technologies that have become so integral to our lives. However, he also shows that though we have more information, it has not brought us peace, but more stress. Information has not brought us more unity, but disunity. It has not made us more whole, but more fragmented. He doesn’t take a negative turn, but draws on how we can be wise in a fools paradise.
At least seventy percent of the book is how to use the God-given tools we have been endowed with by our Creator to learn what is true, and apply this knowledge wisely. Thus, having less stress, and more peace; be less hurried, and take time to “smell the roses;” and how to make effective use of our time, including a proper and productive use of technology.
The key analogy used throughout the book is a simple one; and because of its simplicity it’s extremely memorable and effective. He uses the example of the food pyramid that was developed to balance our physical health. In the author’s usage the Pyramid takes on a similar strategy with examples of resources that our Maker has entrusted to us that if we implement strategically and intentionally we can become more wise. The sources he gives in succeeding chapters (from most important to least important) are as follows: (1) The Bible; (2) The Church; (3) Books; (4) Nature; (5) Beauty; (6) The Internet and Technology.
He makes a clear and logical case for the fact that most people in our culture (including Christians) have their Pyramid of priorities upside down. We use the most unsound source (technology) as the place we get most of our information (which may or may not be true) and let that dictate our beliefs and actions. Whereas the Bible — God’s revealed truth, and the other areas of truth — The Church, books, nature, and beauty — tend to take a back seat.
McCracken is to be commended for writing a short, clear, cogent, and practical book for how to live wisely by pursuing all truth in God’s general and special revelation. Those who read it will indeed benefit from its wisdom and if applied will also be more at peace, happy, efficient, and effective in their influence for good in a world that desperately needs God’s common and saving grace.
Anyone who takes their Christian walk seriously recognizes that these are indeed difficult times we are living in. It is very easy to throw in the towel and capitulate to the modern relativistic thinking of our day. In this timely and relevant book Dr. Steele is short on problems and long on solutions. Reaching back to the ancient wisdom of the likes of biblical characters like King David, Daniel, and the Apostle Paul, and historical examples such as John Calvin, Martin Luther and Charles Spurgeon, Steele gives ample biblical principles and demonstrates how these men were able to stand firm in their times.
The strength of this book is in the biblical foundations to know and apply that are delineated from the beginning to the end. It is thoroughly God-centered, Christ-Centered, and Gospel-centered. It will help fortify you with the reasons, motives, and resources you need to stand firm in the truth and its applications in the midst of the relativistic sea in which we find ourselves in the 21st century. I can’t recommend this book highly enough as a solid resource to equip, encourage, and exhort you toward following Jesus with all of your mind, soul, and strength.
*”The Great American Novel: Moby Dick and Unparalleled Theological Symbolism” by Jason Duesing
Of all the great books, why read and reflect on Moby-Dick?
Nathaniel Philbrick gives one compelling answer: “Reading Moby-Dick, we are in the presence of a writer who spent several impressionable years on a whaleship, internalized everything he saw, and several or so years later, after internalizing Shakespeare, Hawthorne, the Bible, and much more, found the voice and the method that enabled him to broadcast his youthful experiences into the future” (Nathaniel Philbrick, Why Read Moby-Dick? [Penguin Books, 2013], 70).
Herman Melville’s ‘broadcast’ is worthy of reading and reflection, not only for its content and characters, but also for its construction. It is The. Great. American. Novel. For the Christian reader, it is also valuable for what R. C. Sproul identified as its “unparalleled theological symbolism” (R. C. Sproul, “The Unholy Pursuit of God in Moby-Dick,” Tabletalk, August 1, 2011).
In my own reading of Moby-Dick, I attempt to read it for what it is, a work of art. In this short reflection, therefore, I ask and answer three questions I’ve developed, to help me as a Christian, guide my observation of works of art, whether in painted, composed, or written forms—and regardless if the art was specifically created to illuminate truth revealed in the Bible or truth revealed in creation (See Jason G. Duesing, “The Christian, Art, and Rediscovering John the Baptist,” For the Church, October 10, 2019).
How Does Moby-Dick Glorify God?
To read Moby-Dick is to encounter many new areas of knowledge that appear tangential or skippable. There are chapters that cover biology, geography, nautical intricacies, and more information about whales and the use of whales in the 19th century than you might imagine.
It is said, if you want to learn about 19th century sewer systems, read Les Misérables; if you want to know all there is to know about whales, read Moby-Dick (For more introduction to the reading of Moby-Dick see Nathaniel Philbrick, Why Read Moby-Dick?; R. C. Sproul, “The Unholy Pursuit of God in Moby-Dick”; James Hamilton, “Tenants, Traps, Teaching, and the Meaning of Melville’s ‘Moby-Dick,’” For His Renown, June 14, 2011; Connor Grubaugh, “James and Melville, Two American Minds,” First Things, February 2, 2018).
Yet, while in the middle of reading, it may seem tangential, the details all serve a purpose—Melville is driving you toward a final battle with the White Whale, and one cannot appreciate the magnitude of that battle, in full, without first going on his instructional journey.
Likewise, a comparison can be made to how we read the Bible, especially the Old Testament. To read the Bible is to encounter many new areas of knowledge that might appear tangential or skippable. There are chapters on genealogy, indices of laws, detailed descriptions of movements of people, lengthy poetry and prophecy—instructions we may not fully understand.
Yet, when “reading through the Bible,” while some parts may seem tangential, they do serve an ultimate purpose. God, through his authors, is driving you toward his Christ—and one cannot appreciate the magnitude of his life, death, and resurrection, in full, without first going on this instructional journey.
The reading of the Great American Novel glorifies God as it reminds the believer of The. Greatest. Story. and reminds regularly that something greater than Melville speaks, rules, and reigns.
What is Good, True, and Beautiful About this Work?
Melville’s experience and knowledge of the world about which he writes points to much that is good, true, and beautiful. Whether it is the depiction of the relationship between friends and shipmates, the telling of the intricacies of biology and the effects of the fall on creation, or the sublime portrait of a beautiful sea, Moby-Dick resonates because it echoes much of what the reader knows is good, true, and beautiful.
Consider even the trivial description Melville gives of Nantucket chowder served on the eve of Ishmael’s departure:
“It was made of small juicy clams, scarcely bigger than hazel nuts, mixed with pounded ship biscuit, and salted pork cut up into little flakes; the whole enriched with butter, and plentifully seasoned with pepper and salt …. [W]e despatched it with great expedition” (Moby-Dick, Chapter 15).
The reader can resonate (and salivate) with the author’s care for presenting one of the main character’s last meals on land as a good and beautiful thing.
Further, there is the concluding example of the chief mate, Starbuck, who functions as a voice of conscience for the crew and in contrast to the deranged captain. Even after voicing opposition and a desire to abandon the fool’s errand of chasing the White Whale, Starbuck loyally serves. Near the tragic end, after the famous cry is made of “There she blows!—there she blows!” (Moby-Dick, Chapter 133) and a three day chase ensues, Starbuck murmurs to himself reflecting on his choices, “I misdoubt me that I disobey by God in obeying [Ahab]!” This leads to one last moment of courage as Starbuck pleads, “Oh! Ahab, not too late is it, even now, the third day to desist. See! Moby Dick seeks thee not. It is thou, thou, that madly seekest him!” (Moby-Dick, Chapter 135).
Starbuck’s lent hand is not returned and all is soon lost, but even in the telling, Melville’s story allows the Christian to see the truth of the gracious presence of the human conscience that leaves no one with an excuse (Rom 2:15).
*The article above is adapted from Jason Duesing’s article, “The Great American Novel: Moby-Dick and Unparalleled Theological Symbolism.” Jason Duesing serves as the academic Provost and Associate Professor of Historical Theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He came to MBTS after serving for more than a decade on the administrative leadership team and faculty at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Duesing earned his Ph.D. in Historical Theology and Baptist Studies from Southwestern Seminary in 2008. He is the author of several books including Mere Hope, Henry Jessey, First Freedom, and Seven Summits in Church History. Duesing’s entire article can be read in the May 8, 2020 issue of Credo Magazine (credomag.com).