Creation or evolution?
Do you believe that God created all things? If so, you’re not alone; many young people (and adults) share your view. But others say that life and the universe evolved—without the help of a “Supreme Being.”
Did you know? People on both sides of the debate are often quick to state what they believe without really knowing why they believe it.
Some people believe in creation simply because that’s what they’ve been taught at church.
Many people believe in evolution simply because that’s what they’ve been taught at school.
This series of articles will help you to reinforce and explain your belief in creation. First, though, you need to ask yourself an even more basic question:
Why do I believe in God?
Why is that question important? Because the Bible encourages you to use your mind, “your power of reason.” (Romans 12:1) That means your belief in God should not be based merely on
emotion (I just feel that there must be a higher power)
the influence of others (I live in a religious community)
pressure (My parents raised me to believe in God—or else)
Instead, you should be personally convinced that God exists and should have sound reasons for your belief.
So, what convinces you that God exists? The worksheet “Why Do I Believe in God?” will build your conviction. You might also find it helpful to consider how other young people have answered that question.
“When I’m in class listening to the teacher explain how our bodies function, there’s no doubt in my mind that God exists. Each part of the body has its own function, down to the smallest detail, and these functions are often carried out without our awareness. The human body truly is mind-boggling!”—Teresa.
“When I see a skyscraper, a cruise ship, or a car, I ask myself, ‘Who built this?’ It takes intelligent people to build a car, for example, because so many small components have to work just right for the whole thing to function. And if cars have to be designed by someone, then so do we humans.”—Richard.
“When you realize that it’s taken the most intelligent human minds hundreds of years to understand even the smallest fraction of the universe, then thinking that it took no intelligence to bring that universe into existence seems completely unreasonable!”—Karen.
“The more I studied science, the less credible evolution seemed. For example, I thought about the mathematical precision in nature and the uniqueness of humans, including our need to know who we are, where we came from, and where we are going. Evolution aims to explain all these things in terms associated with animals, but it has never been able to explain why humans are unique. To me, it takes more ‘faith’ to believe in evolution than to believe in a Creator.”—Anthony.
Explaining my belief
What if classmates ridicule you for believing in something you can’t see? What if they say that science has “proved” evolution?
First, be confident in what you believe. Do not be intimidated or ashamed. (Romans 1:16) After all, remember:
You are not alone; many people still believe in God. That includes highly intelligent, professional people. For example, there are scientists who believe there is a God.
When people say that they don’t believe in God, sometimes what they really mean is that they don’t understand God. Rather than offer evidence to support their view, they raise questions such as, “If God exists, why does he allow suffering?” In effect, they turn an intellectual issue into an emotional one.
Humans have a “spiritual need.” (Matthew 5:3) This includes a need to believe in God. So if someone says there is no God, that person—not you—has the responsibility to explain how he or she could reach such a conclusion.—Romans 1:18-20.
Belief in God is entirely reasonable. It conforms to the proven fact that life cannot come into existence by itself. No evidence exists to support the idea that life could spontaneously come from nonliving matter.
What, then, could you say if someone questions your belief in God? Consider a few possibilities.
If someone says: “Only uneducated people believe in God.”
You could respond: “Do you really accept that stereotype? I don’t. In fact, in a survey in which more than 1,600 science professors from various elite universities took part, a third did not claim to be atheist or agnostic.* Would you call those professors unintelligent just because they believe in God?”
If someone says: “If God exists, why is there so much suffering in the world?”
You could respond: “Perhaps what you mean is that you don’t understand how God acts—or in this case, doesn’t seem to act. Is that right? [Allow for response.] I’ve found a satisfying answer to the question about why there is so much suffering. But understanding it takes an examination of several Bible teachings. Would you be interested in learning more?”
The next article in this series will discuss why the theory of evolution does not provide a satisfactory explanation for our existence.
Source: Social Science Research Council, “Religion and Spirituality Among University Scientists,” by Elaine Howard Ecklund, February 5, 2007.