Recently, I watched a documentary about young-earth creationism. For the uninitiated, young-earth creationists believe a literal reading of Genesis: creation took six days, and the earth is less than 10,000 years old. This is worlds apart from the common belief that life today resulted from billions of years of natural processes.
I am far from an expert about creation theory. Years ago, I looked into evolutionist and creationist views but concluded I lacked the scientific background to evaluate the arguments. After praying, I decided Hebrews 11:3 was good enough for me: “By faith we understand that the universe was created by God’s command….” The exact processes of creation would remain a mystery.
The documentary discusses the same evidence from geology, biology, astronomy, and other sciences that some would say prove evolution. But young-earth creationists give alternative explanations for the evidence. Many of their explanations seem plausible and raise questions about the evolutionist view.
After the documentary, I spent time reading evolutionist critiques of creationist views. Something I often see in academic writing is the conflation of assumptions and facts. For example, some scholars say prophecy is impossible. Since the book of Daniel foretells historical events, these scholars conclude Daniel was written after the history it claims to predict. To say that prophecy is impossible is a huge assumption but isn’t seen as an assumption. It’s seen as fact. Because of that, the assumption isn’t even owned, examined or questioned.
The evolutionist critiques I read contained multiple instances of conflating facts with assumptions. But there were also challenges to creationist views I couldn’t dismiss out of hand. As I continued to read, I began to feel that neither evolutionists nor creationists could *prove* their point of view, at least not beyond a shadow of a doubt. Ultimately, each side takes its view on faith.
As I marinated in these thoughts, something else came to mind: The fundamental flaw of today’s thinking isn’t adopting certain views (i.e. evolution). It is thinking that it’s possible to have a worldview that is 100% proven, that requires no faith.
Today’s person is intellectually two-faced: he lives by faith but claims to live based on what is proven.
When I aired these thoughts with my wife, she pointed out that Christians accept faith but get caught up in trying to prove what they believe. We fall prey to the same error as non-Christians but in a different way. I think she’s right. We forget we’re not in a fight of proof but a fight of faith.
I don’t deny that there’s value in looking at the evidence to see what it suggests. I was recently blessed to watch a movie on Netflix called “The Case for Christ.” The movie documents the conversion of award winning journalist, Lee Strobel. He was an atheist and skeptic who came to faith after an exhaustive investigation into the validity of Christ’s resurrection. God can and does use the evidence. But the evidence is like a collapsed bridge. It only gets you part way. Even if it gets you most of the way, there’s a gap. Whether that gap is inches or miles, you have to take a step—or leap—of faith.
That said, I doubt we truly start with the evidence. Most often, people believe something, then gather evidence for their belief. Hebrews 11:3, which I quoted earlier, suggests this: “By faith we understand…” Jesus also said, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40). Faith precedes understanding; it precedes seeing.
So it comes down to faith. Faith needn’t be blind. As I said, understanding and seeing follow believing. But this makes what we believe all important. Our faith informs our knowledge, our worldview, and ultimately our behavior. It is crucial that when we step or leap it isn’t to our deaths!