The Challenge of Creation

Dr. A.J. Monty White
Market Harborough, England.

Dr. A.J. Monty White holds a B.Sc. (Hon.) in chemistry and a Ph.D in chemistry (in the field of gas kinetics) from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. During his academic career he held a number of senior administrative positions at Cardiff University.

My parents could hardly have been described as religious. Father was an atheist; mother an agnostic. During childhood I was told that God did not exist, Christ was not the Son of God, and the Bible was nothing more than a collection of fairy stories.

As with most British school children, church attendance made little impression on me. To the contrary, it put me off Christianity altogether. The church's vicar seemed to have little time for families from poor backgrounds. He never encouraged me to read the Bible and nothing he ever said or did in any way convinced me that God existed. About all I remember were his purple robes and the boring read prayers!

At age eleven I passed an examination that enabled me to attend the local Grammar School. I stopped attending church and gradually developed into a protagonist for atheism, just like my father before me. I rejected the Bible's claim to divine authorship, dismissing its predictions of future events as so vague that one could read almost anything into them. The New Testament's record of the life of Christ sounded fanciful to me, especially his supposed resurrection from the dead, not to mention the incredible stories of miracles dotted throughout the rest of the Bible. I simply could not have any intellectual respect for such a book. After all, if Christianity was such a miraculous religion, why weren't miracles happening today?

In October 1963 I left home to pursue a degree in chemistry at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth. To make friends, I attended various meetings of the Christian Union and one of the church societies. The Christians I met at these events differed greatly from those I had known previously. They didn't just believe in God – they claimed to know Him! I raised my usual objections to the Christian faith but it wasn't long before I encountered some solid answers to my arguments. In particular, I discovered that the predictions in the Bible were actually much more accurate than I had thought. For instance, in Micah 1:6 the Bible predicted the destruction of the city of Samaria:

"Therefore I will make Samaria a heap of rubble, a place for planting vineyards. I will pour her stones into the valley and lay bare her foundations."

There are four specific predictions in this verse. Firstly, Samaria's ruins will become a heap of rubble. Secondly, the stones used to construct Samaria will be pushed into a valley. Thirdly, Samaria's foundations will be laid bare and fourthly, Samaria will become a place where vineyards are planted. This prediction was made around 730 B.C., but it was not until 1265AD, almost 2,000 years later, that the prophecy was fulfilled – thus no one can argue that it was written down after the event. As the Bible predicted, Samaria was totally destroyed and has never been rebuilt. The ruins were cleared away in order to use the site for agricultural purposes, and in doing so Samaria's foundations were dumped in a nearby valley and grapevines ended up growing on the site. But my scepticism wasn't about to be blown away by one verse. After all, a naturalistic explanation was bound to turn up if I looked hard enough.

My friends also claimed that Jesus had fulfilled many ancient prophecies during his life, yet this claim was based on 'evidence' from the Bible – how convenient! As far as I was concerned, the gospel writers had merely fabricated their account to make it appear that these prophecies had been fulfilled. My friends responded by claiming that the New Testament was a literal and accurate account of what really happened.

To get to the bottom of the question of the reliability of the New Testament I turned to a book called The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? by the late Professor F.F. Bruce, Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis at the University of Manchester. In this detailed work, Professor Bruce provided ample objective evidence for the authenticity, historicity, truthfulness and reliability of the New Testament writings. Faced with these facts and others raised in discussions with my friends, I began to see that I had no real alternative but to accept that the New Testament documents were historically accurate and had neither been doctored nor altered over the centuries to fit a biased Christian perspective.

Within a few months of going to university, I found that all my arguments for not believing in God had evaporated: I was convinced that the writings in the Bible, especially those of the prophets, could be trusted; that Jesus Christ was who he claimed to be and that he did rise from the dead. I even accepted anecdotal evidence from my friends that miracles did happen today, though I never experienced a miracle myself. Still, my intellectual assent to all of this never impacted my life until February 1964 when I experienced a real conversion to Christ, as I repented of my sins and discovered the joy of being forgiven through trusting the Lord Jesus as my redeemer and saviour.

The following October, I began to study geology at university. My first lecture was given by Professor Alan Wood, my Head of Department. He launched into an explanation of how inorganic chemicals on the earth's pre-biotic surface combined to produce organic molecules that formed themselves into self-replicating organisms, which in turn evolved into all the life-forms that have ever existed on the earth. Professor Wood was also at pains to point out that Homo sapiens was not the end product of evolution. He suggested that in a few hundred million years, others would find fossilised remains of 20th century humans and declare, "How primitive! "

I left the lecture in deep thought. How could I reconcile Professor Wood's account with what the Bible teaches in Genesis about the creation and the early history of the earth? I decided to ask my Christian friends about the creation/ evolution question. I was surprised at their responses. They basically all told me to simply accept evolution and to interpret the early chapters of Genesis accordingly. Such an idea is called theistic evolution: evolution has occurred but has been controlled by God. The early chapters of Genesis are not to be interpreted as history, but as myths, allegories and legends. Feeling I had really no other choice, I bought into this concept and held to it for a number of years.

I continued to thoroughly enjoy my geology studies. Within two years I had advanced to degree level. I also continued to major in chemistry, obtaining an honours degree in that subject in 1967, thereafter beginning research for my doctorate in the field of gas kinetics. During this time I married and shortly afterwards my wife began challenging my views on theistic evolution. She asked me to explain a verse found in 1 Corinthians 15:22, "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."

I realised that I was being asked to answer the fundamental question, 'Who was Adam?' I remember thinking that if I believed in a literal Adam, I would also have to believe in a literal Eve, a literal garden of Eden and a literal six-day creation. In short, I would have to commit intellectual suicide, for at that time I knew not a single academic who believed any of these things. Everyone I knew accepted evolution as a fact. Every book I read, even those written by Christians, taught evolution. What was I to do?

To answer my wife's question, I re-read the New Testament to see what its writers and characters thought of the early chapters of Genesis. I soon discovered that in the New Testament, the creation, Adam and Eve, the fall, Noah, the flood and so on – are all accepted as literal and historical. Therefore to hold to the Bible would mean abandoning evolution. However, over the next two years, I came to the conclusion that it was possible to reject the idea of evolution and accept the historicity of the early chapters of Genesis without committing intellectual suicide. I wrestled with this issue the whole time I was busy pursuing my academic studies.

My investigations centred on three major areas: chemical evolution, the fossil record and dating methods. As study tools I used my old geology lecture notes and various scientific textbooks. At the time, I did not know a single creationist and I had never read a single anti-evolution book or article. Strange as it may seem, I became a creationist as a result of reading pro-evolution material!

I was amazed at the naivety of the statements made about so-called chemical evolution. Evolutionists purport to have proven, by various experiments, that life originated by chance on a pre-biotic earth. Yet their experiments are designed not by chance, but by intelligence! What in fact they are saying is, "If we can synthesise life here in the laboratory, we will have proven that no intelligence was needed to create life in the first place!"

In Stanley Miller's famous 1953 so-called 'origin of life' experiment, a number of amino acids were produced by passing an electric discharge through a mixture of ammonia, hydrogen, methane and water vapour. Since that time, various mixtures of amino acids, sugars and nucleic acid bases have been produced in similar experiments. Since these chemicals are the building blocks of living systems, it is argued that such experiments prove beyond doubt that a creator was not necessary for the origin of life – it could have happened by chance. However, in Miller's experiment, amino acids were successfully produced only because they were removed from the mixture as soon as they were formed. Had they been left in the apparatus, they would have been destroyed by the very same electrical discharge that synthesised them. Furthermore, as in all such experiments, the amino acids were produced in both right-handed as well as left-handed forms, whereas living systems contain only left-handed amino acids. Additionally, had oxygen been present in the mixture of gases, the amino acids would never have formed at all. This point is extremely important because evidence from geology indicates that the earth's atmosphere has always contained oxygen. Hence the mixture of gases in Miller's experiment did not represent what evolutionists now believe existed in the early earth's atmosphere. The chemical evolution of life is still a theory born out of dogma, wholly unsupported by empirical evidence. Miller's experiment used the wrong ingredients, employed the wrong methods and produced the wrong results – apart from that it was a brilliant experiment!

The second area I looked into was the fossil record, which I soon realised did not show the gradual evolution of one life-form into another as predicted and demanded by evolution. 'Missing links' are so named because they truly are missing – none has ever been found. Gaps exist in the fossil record at all the major breaks: fish to amphibians, amphibians to reptiles, reptiles to birds and reptiles to mammals. Furthermore, the so-called fossil remains of creatures linking humans to their ape-like ancestors are all open to question. The field is riddled with hoaxes, forgeries and misrepresentations. The famous Lucy skeleton (from the australopithecine group), which is supposed to represent the first creature in the human line as it broke away from its ape-like ancestors, is shown in the Natural History Museum (London) with totally human hands and feet – even though there were no hands and feet found at the site of its excavation. Indeed, all the australopithecine hands and feet that have ever been found exhibit the curved ape-like bones that prove them to be very far from human.

The final scientific area I looked at was the crucial issue of dating. How do we know how old a rock is? As a chemist I could see that the accuracy of all the dating methods depended on a number of assumptions, some of which were unprovable and others unknowable. For example, in order to determine the age of a rock by radiometric dating, three things must be known:

  1. The present concentrations of the parent and daughter elements in the rock.
  2. The original concentrations of parent and daughter elements in the rock.
  3. The rate of decay of the parent into the daughter element.
Now, in most cases, it is possible to measure the amounts of parent and daughter elements currently existing in the rock (1). However, it is not always possible to know the original concentrations. Sometimes it is assumed that there was no daughter element present when the rock was formed, though there is no way of proving this. It is an assumption. Again, though the present rate of decay of parent into daughter can usually be measured accurately, there is no way of knowing that this rate has not changed over time. It is another assumption.

One proof of the accuracy of the different dating methods would be that they all give the same age for the same rock sample. However, as I researched the literature, I became aware of reports that different methods gave different ages for the same rock. In these papers the authors spent a great deal of time discussing why there were discrepancies and why the age should really be determined from the fossil content of the rock or from the fossils in the adjoining rocks. That of course involves circular reasoning: the age of the rock is determined by the fossils, while the ages of the fossils are determined by the rock!

I finally concluded that evolution was at best an unproven hypothesis. I became convinced that most people believe in evolution because they choose to, not because of overwhelming evidence. In fact many evolutionists readily admit that they believe in evolution not because science has proved it, but because the other alternatives, especially 'God', are totally unacceptable. Personally, after a long struggle, I accepted creation as the best explanation for the beginning of the universe, the origin of life, the information content in our DNA, the laws of the universe and much more. I saw that the fossil record confirms the Biblical fact that both plants and animals reproduce after their own kind – and so, for the last 35 years I have continued to believe and promote creation science and am happy to record my testimony here, in the hope that it may be a help to you the reader.