Basics of Biblical Biology

Darwin Origin Book

Evolution is wrong, but what do we replace it with?

by Shaun Doyle

Evolution is wrong, but what do we replace it with? Many of us automatically think ‘design, of course!’ And they are partially correct. Design is certainly important, but it’s not the whole story. Design has to do with the origin of various structures in biology, as well as the origin of life itself. Naturalism can’t explain such features, and design is the only alternative. But there are more questions. What happened after life was first made? How long has life been around? What sort of history has it had? This is where we begin to see the real failure of the Intelligent Design movement: in focussing solely on the origins of function in biology it has paid little attention to the history of biology. Evolution tries to explain both—a naturalistic origin and history of life’s diversity. Therefore, design by itself will always be an incomplete answer to evolution.

This is why creation biology is so important. Since it is based on the Bible, it not only provides a coherent origin for life, but also a coherent history that describes how life has changed in various ways. But if we take the Bible as our foundation, how should we think about biology? What should we think about the origin and history of animals, plants, and microbes?

First, the Bible says that God created all things biological during the first week of history—Days 3–6 of Creation Week (Genesis 1:11–13, 20–31). Genesis 1 also says He created life according to kinds. These kinds must remain both recognizable and stable through time because they are a part of God’s revelation of his power and character in creation (Romans 1:20). If the message has no consistency, the message would be lost. Therefore, one kind of creature can’t go changing into something completely different if we’re supposed to be able to see God’s hand in biology. The pattern was set with the first life forms created, plants, which were to produce “seed, each according to its kind” (Genesis 1:11). That is, the seed produced that allows reproduction is according to the kind that produced it (e.g. a mango seed will produce a mango tree). And then other living things are described (nine times) as being created “according to their kinds”. This is the most established principle of biology, that like begets like: cats produce cats, bears produce bears, palms produce palms, and no one has ever observed anything different.

But neither can life be completely static. The Bible says creation was cursed because of sin, which means that the Fall allowed things like predation, disease, and suffering (see The Fall: a cosmic catastrophe). Creation is in bondage to decay (Romans 8:20–21). Moreover, since the Fall there have been some massive environmental changes at different times (e.g. Noah’s Flood, the Ice Age). Life had to be able to adapt to such changes, sometimes rather drastically and quickly, or it would have all died out ages ago (see How life works). We can summarise this with three words—design, variation, and degeneration…