Genesis 1:1, Evolution: Fact, Fiction, Religion, or Just a Theory?

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

//Today, I’m sharing a guest post from a friend. You’ve probably seen Tim’s comments on various threads, and you’ve seen us go head to head, and maybe you’ve figured out we’re the best of friends despite differing beliefs. In my desire to provide fair and equal treatment to a variety of religious beliefs and experiences, then, how could I do better than a guest post from Tim?

I did talk with Tim briefly before posting his article, trying to nail him down on some of the issues the article raises. What, Tim, do you mean by evolution? What is a theory versus a fact? What exactly do you have faith in? The article seemed purposefully oblique, purposefully interpretable in a variety of ways. And that turned out to be just what he wanted: an exercise for your noodle, to make you think for yourself, to build your own paradigm. So, I left it alone.

Tim wanted me to emphasize that he does not have social media accounts. Replies to this article are best posted on my blog, at

Here, then, are Tim Walker’s ramblings about evolution and creation.


Evolution: fact, fiction, religion, or just a theory.

I am going to talk about evolution and some natural processes. Bear with me, it all relates to my paradigm.  We will get started with little things. Keep in mind that how one looks at anything including little things is based on our paradigms. Paradigms are perspectives. What we have faith or belief in sets a perspective up.  Individual perspectives determine how we define evolution, and I am going to work at presenting a perspective. This is one of my paradigms and I hope you appreciate it and maybe understand it.

There are many different things we could say about evolution, and most have already been said. There are many things that are quite interesting and really do relate to how we look at evolution. I have put some of these together for consideration in hopefully a new or at least interesting way. For example stars are a long ways away.  In fact, there are stars that are over one million light years away. It would by definition of the speed of light in a vacuum take light over a million years to reach us from those stars. How does that relate to evolution, you ask? We will get to it after a few other things.

First let us consider some small things. How about dirt? Have you ever considered that trees, flowers, grasses and plants need dirt to grow in? Unless of course you want to talk about hydroponics or aeroponics, but those are outside the scope of this discussion. Any garden needs soil, but what is soil? Soil consists of differing amounts of sand, clay, silt, humus, organic matter on its way to being humus, water, gases, minerals, and a bunch of small to large living organisms. These small things can tell us some very interesting things.

Sand is produced through erosion of rocks. Clay and silt are also produced from erosion of rocks. I would be tempted to say that all of us believe in erosion. Please, remember that belief in erosion. Now let us look at humus. Humus is made up of dead organic matter that has decayed to the point where it is pretty stable.  Some of the best humus is in soil called Terra preta. The organic matter takes years to decay into humus.  This is another natural process that most of us can believe in. How do the gases and water get into the soil?  Precipitation gets both the water and most of the gases into the soil. What about the minerals, how do they get into the soil? The minerals get there through a number of natural processes; some are quite similar to how humus is made. The decay of dead things helps with both humus and mineral availability in the soil. That means you have to have dead things in the soil for those natural processes to work. Those dead things do not always decay; sometimes they just get buried too fast, or one of a number of other ways dead stuff can be preserved. These are other natural processes that most people believe in. These natural processes that create soil are ones that most all of us can believe in.

Anyone want to talk about trees and some other stuff? Trees, as most of us know, have growth rings. There is one ring for each growing season. If there are ten rings the tree is ten years old. Shells have bands that show their age. In a pond you can dig down into the mud deposited on the bottom and again see layers that will correspond with the seasons. These again are other natural processes that most of us accept.

How do these natural processes relate to evolution? Evolution was proposed as an idea many years ago. It is an idea that has been proposed to explain some natural processes that have been observed by a few people.  Many people have fought against acceptance of that idea. For them, it has to be fiction. It is now generally thought of as a theory, but it is not treated as a theory. For some people, accepting evolution would mess with an important paradigm that they have. Of course there are others that fight for it just as hard. There are enough facts supporting it that they have developed a faith in the theory being a fact. For them, to think of evolution as just a theory messes with their paradigm also. This is enough of my rambling about evolution being a fact, theory, or religion. The fact is it messes with some people’s paradigms.

If you have a creator that creates a world, and wants things to live there, it has to work. “Work:” what does that mean, you ask? If a creator creates a tree, there has to be soil for the roots. In the soil you need all of the things talked about above. The sand, clay, silt and everything else is created. The fact that sand, clay, and silt are now also produced through erosion is quite a different matter. The natural process of erosion is still correct; it is just a different way of creating sand, clay, and silt. The dead organisms have to be created also. By the way, I hope that no one has a problem with God creating organisms that are already dead. A cat, a dog, a person or two, that were created already dead. Actually the numbers of dead things would have to be quite high. There are many things on this earth that just can’t survive without dead stuff.  How deep did the creator create dead stuff? There are living and dead organisms many thousands of feet below the surface of the earth.

What else does it mean to create something that works? Hmm, I have an idea.

If a world was created 10 years ago what would it be like? It could be just like this one or not. What would a tree be like? If we counted the tree rings on a giant tree how many would be there? If there were 10 tree rings or less that might say something. In fact it might be hard to argue that the world was more than 10 years old. It would probably be a pretty good theory, or just a very accepted fact that the world was created 10 years ago. Everyone would know that something or someone created the world. In this proposed world we could even imagine that the intelligent life had a book similar to the Bible. It would just be a bit shorter in the history area. Another thing that would be different in it would be faith. There would not need to be much about faith in the existence of a creator. Faith is accepting something you do not understand or know. It is not based on fact. For me, and according to the dictionary, this means that faith is not proven or disproven by facts. If the Creator of this hypothetical world wanted the people of this world to believe in Him/Her by faith, there would be a problem. It just would not work. For that Creator, this hypothetical creation does not work. A better job of creation would need to be done. So that a belief in a Creator by faith, and not by fact, would be required.

Now we are getting into the meat. Is a theory greater than a fact? Does a fact prove or disprove a theory? A theory is less important than a fact. If a fact can’t prove or disprove faith, then a theory sure doesn’t even come close. Theories can’t do anything to a belief in God, if it is based on faith. Theories can’t even hurt those that base their beliefs on facts. Facts are stronger than theories. Now, if you are basing your belief on facts, theories, or convenience, that is a different thing. Then you get a battle. That is why there is a battle going on about a theory called evolution. If you are basing your belief on facts, theories, or convenience, then you will fight change until the fight costs more than the change. (There is another basis for belief and that is power, but I will not get into that here.) Not so, some would say, faith is about not giving room to false heretical teaching. That is a bad road to go down, people! The Catholic Church has done a good job of showing us some of why that is true. Imagine that carried to a ludicrous extreme: We would need thought police to keep us from entertaining random thoughts, which might go against some excepted knowledge. Oh, wait, it has already been done. For me the real meat of the issue is, do I believe by faith or not? If I do believe by faith, then all of the theories and facts do not affect me. Still, those facts and theories are really interesting to me, because they are the man’s best attempt to describe God’s creation. I like getting to see and understand how God’s creation works; it speaks to me of the Creator.

Evolution is just another theory. Please do not get confused by the idea of natural processes being evolution.  The natural processes, facts, are either explained by the theory or not. The change in any one species’ characteristics, or any other natural process, is a natural process, not the theory. Again, theories describe facts and suggest possible facts we do not yet know. Theories can be disproved by facts. Some theories will probably never be disproved by new facts, but all can be.

What about those stars out there? In a vacuum, we already know it takes light a long time to reach us.  Imagine, again, that world with only 10 tree rings even in their oldest and biggest trees. What would it be like to be looking up into space and see light just getting to us for the first time from another star? It would be kind of cool. It would be a whole different ball game. We would not need to be using layers of theories and facts to try and calculate the age of the universe. It’s age would be very obvious. Let me give an example for clarity. If we saw today for the first time a neutron star, and that neutron star was 6000 light years away, and we could see no star farther away, then that fact would give us an age to the universe (assuming we all can agree that neutron stars are old stars.) It would also make the idea of the universe being created a fact. We would know there was a creator. We would have a different Bible.

Having my paradigm, I know that faith must be pretty special, for God to have planned its necessity. For me, I know it is. It gives me peace and joy.

(Contributed by Tim Walker)


  1. Anonymous

    Love the thoughts that my dad posted. I had to write a paper about evolution for a class in college and this is along the same lines as my paper. I remember my professor being upset that I couldn’t just accept one type of evolution in my paper, but I am thankful that through faith I can simply say God created us and that can be more then enough for me!

  2. A good post by Tim, and I follow and agree with his “ramblings” (your word, Lee, not mine) until the very end. At that point, however, he departs from the world of theory, fact and logic to enter the world of belief from convenience (faith).

    We know, fairly closely, the age of the universe but that does not indicate a creator. It indicates creation only.

    While our limited experience in the world of macro physics always shows a causal effect for every action this is not always the case. Assume that the “big bang” occurred, whether by itself or by a creator we don’t know. Just that the universe was created. We therefore assume a creator because our experience says that every action has a cause, but this is theory only. We have not examined every action possible to determine if there is, indeed, always a cause.

    Steven Hawking is on record as stating that a causal relationship is not always necessary; specifically that our knowledge of physics does not require a cause for the big bang.

    As I will never possess Hawking’s knowledge of physics I accept his statement and am forced to conclude that the creation of the universe may or may not have a creator. We don’t know.

    God may not have planned it at all, let alone planned it in such a way as to make faith either necessary or special. Faith in a creator, based only on the fact of creation of the universe, becomes a hollow convenience. Not even a good theory as it has no facts to support it.

  3. Thanks for contributing, Wilderness! To be fair, I don’t believe Tim laid claim to a “theory” of a divine creator, only a “paradigm.”

    I approve Tim’s flexibility in the face of growing scientific evidence. I can’t help, however, objecting to the way the word “theory” is used in this article. Whether meant this way or not, it’s as if Tim advocates not taking evolution seriously until it is not a mere theory but a fact. (By “evolution,” I mean as a contradiction to the creation story: descent from a common ancestor via natural selection.)

    The problem is, whenever an explanation is labeled a “theory,” it comes across like conjecture or speculation. It shouldn’t.

    So what is a theory? A comparison is often made to the theory of gravity. We collect and observe the facts, and nobody argues with them; something makes things fall downward. The explanation of those facts, however, has evolved through several theories.

    Unfortunately, in the natural sciences, we simply cannot talk about proving theories in the same way as we can in formal sciences like mathematics. You can’t “prove” the theories of evolution or gravity. Instead, we simply agree to call a theory a fact when the evidence overwhelmingly points to its correctness. In this vein, the majority of scientists are quite happy to conclude that evolution is a fact. The evidence is too overwhelming to imagine the theory being overturned.

  4. You are correct of course in that some “theories” cannot be proven beyond doubt. While we can observe (and even cause) evolution of modern animals we can do neither to creatures that have been extinct for millenia.

    We can only extrapolate from proven cases observed today and from evidence painstakingly gathered from our past. As you point out, enough evidence comes to mean proof in many cases, but only to those willing to look and study with a willingness to learn.

    Most people are willing, but only to a point. As soon as the evidence requires a change to “facts” derived from faith that willingness ends.

    In the case of evolution I will never understand why, though. No one accepts the literal bible and I cannot understand why the concepts of evolution (common ancestor) cannot be one of Gods tools, used to create even man.

  5. Is “ramblings” a derogatory word? I surely didn’t mean it that way :) I thought it was a great article, very clear and thought-provoking.

  6. I certainly didn’t take it that way, either. Perhaps my small attempt at humor did not come across well – if not I certainly apologize to both you and Tim. No offense was intended.

    And yes, it was a great article, and did set me to thinking.

  7. Thanks for the comments.

    Wilderness: Your humor came across fine. Ramblings has a slight negative connotation. It can mean not getting to the point or destination. In the literary usage I think it is associated with enough good, thought provoking, writing; that it is a very nice compliment.

    More about theories, facts, and faith: I do not believe that any faith should create facts, outside of the experience of faith. When that is done, then faith and theories and the facts in creation or universe do not interfere with each other. For myself I have found this enables them to complement each other. My faith makes me relish new knowledge and theories more, as those increase my understanding of creation.

    Wilderness: ?? “No one accepts the literal Bible.” Sorry, but I have to disagree. I know people that believe in the Bible literally. I might be one of those, except that I am not sure what it means for me. Sorry if that makes me slippery, but it is the truth. I absolutely do not understand all of the Bible.

    Lee: The problem with the usage of theory is that man does not like uncertainty. Therefore many men jump onto a theory as it cannot be true or that it has to be right. I prefer to stay so far away from that, as to hold to the definition of a theory, ” A supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, esp. one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained.” This is what Wickipedia has to say and I like it. Gravity the theory and gravity the natural force have the same name. Gravity the natural force is a fact. Gravity the theory is good, but it does not totally explain the natural force. Evolution the theory is good in explaining some natural processes and forces. Whether it does so good in all ways is still being determined. Regardless of proof, it will by definition stay a theory just like the theory of gravity.

    Wilderness: “convenience” Your word and belief not mine. It is very true though. For many people their belief is not true faith, but just convenience. For my self so far, it is not proven to be a convenience.

    A brief word about Steven Hawking. He is a very smart man. He also is making pronouncements outside of his area of knowledge. To say, “There is no God.” is an attempt to state a fact. This is incorect and is easily proven. In general terms, belief in God is only by faith. This means that it is not proven by fact and is thus not disproven by fact or theory. If you are searching for a man you are not sure exists and have not found him, does that mean you have proven he does not exist? Steve is stating his belief, based on a type of faith. It is not a fact.

  8. Sandra Currie said: I agree that evolution is a theory. But I can’t make the leap from his arguments that it is necessary to believe in God. What happens if you don’t? If everyone quit believing in God would the world come to an end? Who is this God that needs for me or you to believe in him? What’s up with that? If Tim gets peace from believing in God, good on him. The problem is that I’m at peace and I don’t.

    Sorry Sandra, it was not my intention to imply everyone has to have faith. That as you put it so well is the result of personal choice and what follows from the personal choices.

    Sandra: I will try and answer your question, “Who is this God that needs for you or me to believe in him?” He is the one I believe wanted a big family, bigger than any of us could imagine wanting. I do not know the limit on the family He wants. I do not think He has a limit on it. He wants any individual to be part of the family, because He has a great love for the individual. There is much that I do not know about Him. Just as I do not know the difference between nonexistence and living a life without God. I could go on, but these could just be rhetorical questions. It was fun to give a bit of an answer anyways. Have a good day.

  9. Tim: I’m glad you took no offense to the term “ramblings” – certainly none was intended.

    Theories fact and faith: faith cannot produce facts, and indeed often stands in the path of even producing knowledge of facts. Much of the time if facts are discovered that contradict faith then those facts are ignored or derided in order to keep the faith that is contraindicated by that knowledge.

    Literal bible: If you are indeed one of those that take the bible literally then you must believe that the earth was created only a few thousand years ago, that a planet sized ball of water was imported, then deported in violation of natural laws to kill all life (plant, animal and water animals alike). You must believe that man did not evolve in spite of the fact that we see it happening today and observe fossil evidence that it happened in the past. Most people seem to be more willing to change the literal meaning of the words (day = 24 hours to day = whatever time it took for instance). When I say “literal” I mean just that; the literal meaning of the words without interpretation.

    Convenience: Actually, your word (“If you are basing your belief on facts, theories, or convenience”) but perhaps used in a different meaning. I meant to imply that oftentimes one has faith because they like to believe what they want to or because they are unwilling or unable to put the time and effort into finding actual facts and working through them to a conclusion. It is more convenient to take the easy way out and use faith to believe than it is to study and learn facts and theories.

    Steven Hawking: Indeed a very smart man, but I do not find where he has ever said that “There is no God”. The nearest I can find is that “There is no need for God”, meaning that the laws of physics, as understood by him, do not need a causal relationship for the big bang. It could be that nothing caused it; it just happened. This is far outside my experience, but so is all of quantum physics. I have seen no one that has tried to refute that statement and show that there has to be a causal relationship with something to actually cause creation and therefore tentatively conclude that it is true. Creation may or may not have a cause.

    You are absolutely correct in that God cannot be disproved. We cannot even agree on a definition for God; we don’t have any idea what or where He is. Given that, if Hawking has stated that He does not exist Hawking must be getting senile. He certainly knows better!

    If, on the other hand, Hawking merely stated that “God need not exist” if reference to causing the creation of the universe that IS in his field and should be carefully considered.

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