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Evolution; God's Greatest Creation  

Introduction

Creationists frequently disagree with claims of evolution in living organisms that are theoretically possible, especially with the consideration that intelligently designed genetic recombination is the true source of variability driving this process. The peacock’s eye, the peppered moth colors, the giraffe’s neck, or even the bombardier beetle’s discharge could all have evolved; and yet are argued to be created features by the majority of the creation community. Based on classic irreducible complexity, if an organism possesses a feature that would have required multiple anatomical changes to evolve, it must have been created. If mutation were driving evolution that would be true, but the evolution of such things is not the result of random processes. God created code-editing machinery, and the changes they make are able to construct new features that are moderately complex.

The ability of organisms to evolve by design may have been the very reason God was able to curse the creation due to sin and then destroy it completely by flood, and know that life would still survive and flourish. Evolution occurs not through random reactions, but controlled cellular genetic rearrangements. We are being taught an atheistic perspective of evolution as due to mutation, but offspring variability and all the various plant and animal breeds are the result of meiotic recombination. The extraordinary adaptive capability designed into all organisms via a history of naturally-based selection and these cell-performed rearrangements is truly awesome, and has in many cases altered organisms beyond our ability to recognize species as related groups.

It is most important for creationists to study evolution, while remembering their proponents are atheists and not ID theorists. Although they teach a flawed source for genetic variability, a great portion of their theories concerning the potential outcome of natural selections are correct in many cases. Nature selects however, not from population variety created by mutation over millions of years, but from genetic recombinants. A history of genetic recombination and natural selection has been able to create features providing adaptive specializations in a relatively short period of time. Recombination generally alters the characteristics (shapes, sizes, colors) common to any organism. They make things different by making specific genetic adjustment, and we do not yet know what reactions are being performed nor therefore the theoretic limits of evolution.

Generally speaking, if an organism possesses a specific feature which it requires to survive, we are quick to assume it must have been created. Likewise, if the feature possesses even moderate complexity, it is also rapidly inferred that it was of original design rather than evolved. But we are simply quick to make these assumptions because we do not appreciate the power behind genetic recombination. These reactions are not being recognized for what they are by the scientific community because they can not perceive of the intelligent design behind their performance. The variability isolated by breeders in a few hundred years gives us only a glimpse of the evolutionary potential possessed by these animals. God designed machinery which creates this variability specifically to drive the evolution of organisms. Given that is the case, there is no reason to contest many of the basic naturally selected evolution potentials creationists frequently argue.

A study of evolution can give you two things: the ability to challenge evolutionary dogma such as abiogenesis and mutations, but also a better appreciation for God's creation. Truly the ability of organisms to change themselves into a variety of forms may be one of God's greatest creations.

 

Created Kinds and Evolutionary Potential

God essentially created more “kinds” than was really required from an evolutionary perspective in the sense that two unrelated kinds can occupy the same habitat or utilize the same niche; and even potentially grow to look alike. A study of evolution from the creation perspective is hindered by the fact that we can not accurately define the kindship groups. Why? The tremendous evolutionary potential demonstrated by breeders, in combination with the fact that God created sets of kinds with similarities. The differences between many of these “similar kinds” are not so significant that either could not eventually look like the other. (i.e. canines/bears, bovines/deer)

Evidence from breeders has given us only a very minimal range we must apply to natural populations in an attempt to define the kinds. The range demonstrated in every case was from organisms which had already undergone a long history of recombination and strong post flood selection, and therefore the breeds have all been isolated from what was already a variation of a kind. Given our minimum variability range it is quite easy to look at group of these similar kinds and realize that all of them could theoretically evolve from a common ancestor. The order Rodentia for example has less natural variability within than has been isolated by dog breeders, and could theoretically all be one kind, and yet there are probably several kinds present in that group. This essentially implies that there is evolutionary overlap between some of these similar kinds. That being the case; seeming intermediates are expected, even if a kind can probably never truly evolve to being genetically compatible with another.

One of God's created "kind" can probably never become genetically or reproductively compatible with another, but they may be able to evolve physically to the point where placing them with a created group has in many cases become impossible. If you can not place a species with a kindship group then it is at least a physical “intermediate” between two kinds. Although organisms will never successfully mate with a different “kind”, they are able to physically change to look like another, and therefore explain why we should expect reported intermediates.

God created groups of similar kinds with differences that do not outweigh their evolutionary potential. Breeders have demonstrated a tremendous variability range which arguably exceeds the distinctions between kinds in many cases. For example, the differences between the bear/canine/rodent may not be as significant as those that distinguish the Chihuahua from the Great Dane. There are many species which we can not conclusively assign to one of these groups, and could easily belong to either. It is possible that any one of the “similar kinds” could eventually produce a species that we could mistake for another.

Given our still limited knowledge of evolution, it is theoretically possible that a group of these similar kinds could all have evolved from a common ancestor even if God created them as individual kinds. He could have just as easily created a pair that evolved into all the rodents or alternatively many rodent kinds, we don’t know. Likewise he could have created just one kind that evolved into all the carnivores, or many carnivore kinds. In other words, just because God created several similar kinds, doesn't mean they couldn't eventually evolve to produce identical offspring. They may simply have been made to stabilize the creation much like speciation does to a kind.

 

Speciation and the Created Kinds

The boundary being defined in Gen. 1 by "after their kinds" is reproducibility, but that doesn't suggest any limits concerning the evolution of the physical form. The Biblical kinds are simply reproductively incompatible. Why create similar kinds; like several incompatible kinds of rodents, carnivores, or several birds-of-prey. Why do that? You might also ask why create the process of speciation? The answers are the same.

Evolution is the process of specializing through genetic modifications created by cellular recombination and selected by nature. Following a lengthy history of recombination and selection, organisms becomes specialized to a particular habitat or niche, and have a greater chance of surviving the immediate circumstances that induced the selective pressure.

God created animals which were already specialized, but were also still very much generalists in comparison to what they would become through evolution. God created reproductive barriers in the beginning to prevent the created features from being lost; such as the ability to fly if one mated with a creature that was flightless. Likewise speciation serves the same function. Following a lengthy history of recombination, animals become much more specialized; such as the bear which has become the polar, panda, etc. all much more specialized. Speciation, or the development of a subsequent compatibility barrier, prevents these new specializations from also being lost.

Speciation occurs by design. In a sense, when speciation becomes permanent, the organism has been transformed into a new kind. Speciation is initiated most frequently due to simple geographic isolation and most modern species probably became such during post flood migration into an unoccupied world. Following a history of separation many animals will develop physical differences and behaviors which are used to distinguish one another and they will instinctively remain reproductively separate even during co-occupation of the same region. However, independent recombination and selection histories can alter the genomes to the point where they become genetically incompatible because the homologues will be unable to pair and crossover during the first mitotic division following fertilization. In either case, because one occurs through instinct, and the other through created mechanisms, they must then exist by design. Speciation occurs for the same reason God created similar reproductively distinct kinds. He created reproductive barriers at first to protect the created specializations from being lost through interspecies breeding, and speciation likewise creates new barriers to protect anything that would develop through recombination and selection.

 

Classic Evolution

SpeciationA tremendous amount of "classic evolution" has occurred, and we have almost no theoretic basis to limit these mechanisms. Genetic variability is selected naturally which leads to adaptive improvement, and in cooperation with speciation can result in the formation of multiple subpopulations all with unique specializations. Classic evolution explains why the bears all look and live differently, and there is no limitation we can claim to say that all the bears could have evolved from a common ancestor, but a larger group like the carnivore could not.

There are some big flaws in the picture the evolutionist paints due to philosophically derived errors in theory formation. We are being taught evolution from atheists who are erroneously using this adaptive mechanism to support the claim that life's origin was not of intelligent design, and humans are just another animal. Therefore, it is difficult for creationists to even theorize about evolution because there is such a need within us to argue this misinformation. The creationist will theorize about the limits, but rarely the theoretic extent of evolution. However, it is not so difficult to recognize why educated people believe in evolution. First, the amount of real evolution that has been demonstrated in nature or by breeders is truly awesome, and secondly only someone who believes the Bible can accept the global flood interpretation of the fossil record. Either divine foreknowledge and intervention saved modern animals, or the geological column must have accumulated over millions of years.

God created many different kinds of animals and man at the same relative point in time, but the machinery placed into organisms to drive their evolution is not yet characterized. These reactions have demonstrated a potential that exceeds the differences between kinds, and I'm not sure the creation of these "similar kinds" was therefore required evolutionarily in many cases. If we are to defend our position of evolution, we should speculate and determine what we believe is the theoretically extent of evolution. If the world were millions of years old, what could such a history of recombination and selection accomplish? Is there a limit to these reactions that is solid?

 

Biblical "Kinds" Synonymous with Species ?

It is certain given the number of species alive today that a pair of each terrestrial animals could not fit on board the ark, and there were 7 pairs of clean animals taken. It is thought there are between 5 and 50 million species on earth today, with only 1.75 million characterized and named. The relative number of terrestrial species per major taxa are listed below, and this does not include insects and spiders which alone exceed 1 million.

Relative species number by major taxa

  • Amphibia (Amphibians)
    4,184 described species
  • Mammalia (Mammals)
    4,000 described species
  • Reptilia (Reptiles)
    6,300 described species
  • Aves (Birds)
    9,040 described species

Related populations instinctively remain reproductively separate following a period of isolation, and eventually will become genetically incompatible and unable to mate. Speciation does seem to occur on a fairly regular basis, and along with independent selective pressure has caused the Biblical kinds to become a plethora of uniquely specialized communities.

 

Macroevolution and the Creation Perspective

Evolution is a biological process well substantiated by living organisms, but is being used to explain a common ancestry for all life on earth. Classic evolution occurs regardless of the age of the earth or the exact historical perspective involved. What is evolution? Evolution is more than just variations within a species, or the formation of new species. Macro-evolution must also occur for "evolution" to be true generally speaking, or the term to be usable when referring to the history of a kind.

Most all creationists argue against macro-evolution or reject the use of the term, because they believe only micro-evolution occurs. Micro-evolution is the production of variation within a population and the formation of new species. There is a great misunderstanding between the creation and evolution camps due to the rejection of macroevolution by creationists. This confusion is largely due to the use of the geological column as evidence for macro-evolution, and therefore the synonymous use of the term to describe a common ancestry of all organisms on earth.

However, when a young earth creationist is talking about the evolution of a Biblical kind, they are speaking strictly about population biology, and from that perspective macroevolution does also occur. What is macro-evolution? Macroevolution is most commonly used to refer to the development of taxonomic groups above the species level  (genus, family, order etc.) or a branching history as is illustrated below. These higher taxa develop through a repetition of speciation events and microevolution usually separated by long periods of time.

Biblical Kind History

Macroevolution of the Biblical Kinds:
The illustration at left shows the theoretic macroevolution history of any Biblical kind. Following the flood many of the kinds existed as only a single species which now exist as an entire Family.

Evolution occurs through a history of speciation, genetic recombination, and natural. A short history results in adaptive change within a population, however longer term repetition leads to the formation of many groups of species which are related to a common ancestor.

It is a foregone conclusion among most creationists that the mammalian Families are most closely synonymous with the Biblical kind, and yet the evolution of a pair of animals into an entire Family of genera is macroevolution. Within the mammalian families, such as the canine, you have sub-groups of species called genus. There are many species of fox, many species of wolves, and many of coyotes. Microevolution is the small changes which occur within a fox population, and even fox speciation. However, it is macroevolution which is used to define the long term development that eventually produces groups of uniquely canine species. For our purposes; macroevolution is the entire evolutionary history of any kind.

You can not deny macro-evolution outright. We only reject the use of that term in reference to the geological column as a history of the world, or a common ancestry for all organisms. If you were to describe the evolution of any Biblical kind specifically to an evolutionary biologist; they would define that history as macro-evolution. To say without explanation that macro-evolution does not occur is causing us to reject the process that produces taxonomic groups and not the extent to which it occurs due to a misunderstanding of the use of the term. Our argument is principally concerning the extent of evolution, and the universal denial of macroevolution by creationists is casings us to unwittingly reject an established and otherwise acceptable process.

Simpson (below) called the evolutionary inference we would tend to reject as, quantum- or mega-evolution, and in fact many creationists have likewise proposed the use of Mega-evolution when describing the theoretic development of major features or the common ancestry of all organisms.

"Nevertheless there is a difference and many of the major changes cannot be considered as simply caused by longer continuation of the more usual sorts of minor changes. For one thing, there is excellent evidence that evolution involving major changes often occurs with unusual rapidity, although, as we have seen, there is no good evidence that it ever occurs instantaneously. The rate of evolution of the insectivore forelimb into the bat wing, to give just one striking example, must have been many times more rapid than any evolution of the bat wing after it had arisen. The whole record attests that the origin of a distinctly new adaptive type normally occurs at a much higher rate than subsequent progressive adaptation and diversification within that type. The rapidity of such shifts from one adaptive level or equilibrium to another has suggested the name 'quantum evolution," under which I have elsewhere discussed this phenomenon at greater length" (Simpson G.G., "The Meaning of Evolution", 1949, p235)

 

Is the Creation Evolving or De-Evolving?

If an organism is alive and reproducing, it is evolving. With each generation, genetic modifications are made, and they are not degradations of the genome. These reactions are performed by machinery which requires energy input, and was designed for that purpose.

The creation is not de-evolving. You can not compare our world today against that following the flood as anything but an improvement. The recovery of our ecosystem was largely driven by evolution. Pairs of organisms like butterflies now exist as hundreds or event thousands of species, all with new unique specializations. The design to evolve into these countless varieties may have been one of God's greatest creations.

Man is evolving also. Humans exist as many races today because these groups were speciated for a time (reproductively isolated) and evolved into several physically distinct forms due to regionally-specific natural selection. These speciation events were likely driven and solidified by divine intervention at the tower of Babel. Humans, like all organisms, can naturally speciate through migration and geographic isolation, but the language barriers God created certainly had a great affect.

 

The Importance of Speciation

Finches from the GalapagosSimply recognizing the variability that has been recently demonstrated by intentional breeding is not a tremendous step toward admitting evolutionary potential. If you can not accept the occurrence of speciation you will not be able to also recognize where that variability has been at work in nature.

We are just now really beginning to appreciate evolutionary possibilities. The variability expressed during breeding allows these organisms to adapt to specific circumstances in nature, and it is these specializations that are often mistakenly claimed as created features. The variations isolated by breeders could only develop in nature if speciation occurs. If reproductively isolated groups are not formed, the Biblical kinds can only exist naturally in one physical form. Selective pressure from all over the earth would mix together, and every kind would only exist as an unspecialized environmental generalist.

The range demonstrated by breeders must be applied to organisms in nature across species barriers. The domestic dog breeds were all bred out of wolves and progeny. If you assume a strict species barrier, then wolves are only related to other wolves, and therefore none of the variability produced during artificial breeding was ever expressed in nature. Speciation does occur, and much of the variability expressed during breeding is also evident in nature, but only through interspecies examination. The fox, the jackal, hyena, and coyote are all likely related to the wolf and domestic dogs; and there are almost certainly others.

By artificially speciating (inbreeding) the domestic dogs, the breeders have produced countless varieties. A variation which surfaces through recombination is maintained by inbreeding or artificial selection. Without intentionally isolating and inbreeding specific traits, the dogs would also all look the same. Speciation produces the same effect in nature as inbreeding has in domestic animals. Speciation is a regular part of adaptation, and its purpose is to allow independent recombination/selection histories to remains pure and uncontaminated by selection from other regions.

Organisms can only specialize to a habitat of niche if they speciate. Speciation allows the history of selection to be remains regionally specific, and uncontaminated by genes selected in other conditions. Speciation occurs and is a part of the design. Since their creation, the Biblical kinds have undergone macroevolution into many genera of related species, and we should be prepared to readily admit this quantity of change.

 

Macroevolution?

Macroevolution is an evolutionary biology term which is being misused by creationists broadly. Part of the confusion is related to the fact the macro-evolution is frequently claimed as being responsible for a common ancestry for all organisms, and the fossil record is also frequently used as evidence for macroevolution. However, if classic “evolution” has occurred, although only from created kinds onward, then macroevolution is an appropriate term for the creationists to use also when describing creationary evolution. The evolution of a kind is more complex than can be described in the context of microevolution alone, and macroevolution describes a process, not an extent.

Why has the process of “evolution” been given credit to explain a common ancestry of all organisms? Simple: there is a similarity between the nature of the creation and the process of evolution. God created groups of similar organisms (many birds, many bugs, many microbes, many plants, etc, etc, which is exactly what evolution produces. It has produced groups of similar organisms such as a group of fox species, genera of wolves, jackals, and all came from a single pair of canine. Although we know many kinds were created, we still can not define the created kinds because the ability of an organism to evolve into similar groups is tremendous.

Macroevolution of the CanineFollowing their release from the ark, there were some early speciation events and adaptations which gave rise to animals like the original wolf, fox, hyena, etc. After a period of time these new canines further speciated into several new species of wolves, foxes, etc which are more similar to each other than their distant canine relatives. Following more time these species of foxes will speciate again and again,. The differences that develop between speciation events can be so great that these groups of species will not appear related. That is how natural groupings develop. A speciation event followed by time and further speciation creates groups of similar organisms which are still related to a larger group.

Evolution has two primary outcomes depending on how broad your perspective lies (short term or long term). Those two perspectives are defined by the terms micro and macro evolution. One describes the changes within a population; the other describes the general outcome which develops over the entire history of the organism. Originally the canine only existed as a single species. Microevolution describes the adaptive change that occurs in that one little population. Microevolution examines the short-term picture such as why a wolf population becomes a little darker or larger; including speciation events. Macroevolution describes the process which has changed a single species into a higher taxonomic group comprised of many genera of related species. Each pair of animals that was introduced following the flood evolved in this way. Species have evolved through microevolution by adapting specifically to various regions. Also these kinds have macro evolved and now exist as an entire Family with groups of species so different we find it difficult to determine to whom they are related.

Macroevolution describes the development of taxonomic groups above the species level which are created through a series of microevolution events. Evolutionists know macroevolution happens primarily due to the evolution of the Biblical kinds into all these new genera of new species we find today. However, God also created groups of similar organisms at the beginning. He created a group of birds, mammals, reptiles, etc which are more similar to each other than the other groups. Because God and evolution both create groupings, it is difficult to determine which groups are original and which are new. The evolutionary process which creates these natural groupings is being credited for higher taxonomic levels than is appropriate, but macroevolution does occur none the less.

by Chris Ashcraft

 

Evolution From the Creation Perspective

 




Northwest Creation Network

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