"It may be Nature's provision for maintaining the balance of the species, sir." - P.G. Wodehouse

The theory of evolution by natural selection, first formulated in Darwin's book "On the Origin of Species" in 1859, is the process by which organisms change over time as a result of changes in heritable physical or behavioral traits. Changes that allow an organism to better adapt to its environment will help it survive and have more offspring. Evolution by natural selection is one of the best substantiated theories in the history of science, supported by evidence from a wide variety of scientific disciplines, including paleontology, geology, genetics and developmental biology. The theory has two main points, said Brian Richmond, curator of human origins at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. "All life on Earth is connected and related to each other," and this diversity of life is a product of "modifications of populations by natural selection, where some traits were favored in and environment over others," he said. More simply put, the theory can be described as "descent with modification," said Briana Pobiner, an anthropologist and educator at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., who specializes in the study of human origins. The theory is sometimes described as "survival of the fittest," but that can be misleading, Pobiner said. Here, "fitness" refers not to an organism's strength or athletic ability, but rather the ability to survive and reproduce.

Origin of whales In the first edition of "The Origin of Species" in 1859, Charles Darwin speculated about how natural selection could cause a land mammal to turn into a whale. As a hypothetical example, Darwin used North American black bears, which were known to catch insects by swimming in the water with their mouths open: "I can see no difficulty in a race of bears being rendered, by natural selection, more aquatic in their structure and habits, with larger and larger mouths, till a creature was produced as monstrous as a whale," he speculated. The idea didn't go over very well with the public. Darwin was so embarrassed by the ridicule he received that the swimming-bear passage was removed from later editions of the book. Scientists now know that Darwin had the right idea but the wrong animal: Instead of looking at bears, he should have instead been looking at cows and hippopotamuses. The story of the origin of whales is one of evolution's most fascinating tales and one of the best examples scientists have of natural selection. The last shore-dwelling ancestor of modern whales was Sinonyx, top left, a hyena-like animal. Over 60 million years, several transitional forms evolved: from top to bottom, Indohyus, Ambulocetus, Rodhocetus, Basilosaurus, Dorudon, and finally, the modern humpback whale. The last shore-dwelling ancestor of modern whales was Sinonyx, top left, a hyena-like animal. Over 60 million years, several transitional forms evolved: from top to bottom, Indohyus, Ambulocetus, Rodhocetus, Basilosaurus, Dorudon, and finally, the modern humpback whale. The Love Boat soon will be making another run the Love Boat promises something for everyone got kind of tired packing and unpacking town to town and up and down the dial the weather started getting rough the maximum security.The Love Boat soon will be making another run the Love Boat promises something for everyone got kind of tired packing and unpacking town to town and up and down the dial the weather started getting rough the maximum security.The Love Boat soon will be making another run the Love Boat promises something for everyone got kind of tired packing and unpacking town to town and up and down the dial the weather started getting rough the maximum security.The Love Boat soon will be making another run the Love Boat promises something for everyone got kind of tired packing and unpacking town to town and up and down the dial the weather started getting rough the maximum security.The Love Boat soon will be making another run the Love Boat promises something for everyone got kind of tired packing and unpacking town to town and up and down the dial the weather started getting rough the maximum security.

Natural selection To understand the origin of whales, it's necessary to have a basic understanding of how natural selection works. Natural selection can change a species in small ways, causing a population to change color or size over the course of several generations. This is called "microevolution." But natural selection is also capable of much more. Given enough time and enough accumulated changes, natural selection can create entirely new species, known as "macroevolution." It can turn dinosaurs into birds, amphibious mammals into whales and the ancestors of apes into humans.Take the example of whales — using evolution as their guide and knowing how natural selection works, biologists knew that the transition of early whales from land to water occurred in a series of predictable steps. The evolution of the blowhole, for example, might have happened in the following way:

Random genetic changes resulted in at least one whale having its nostrils placed farther back on its head. Those animals with this adaptation would have been better suited to a marine lifestyle, since they would not have had to completely surface to breathe. Such animals would have been more successful and had more offspring. In later generations, more genetic changes occurred, moving the nose farther back on the head. Other body parts of early whales also changed. Front legs became flippers. Back legs disappeared. Their bodies became more streamlined and they developed tail flukes to better propel themselves through water. Darwin also described a form of natural selection that depends on an organism's success at attracting a mate, a process known as sexual selection. The colorful plumage of peacocks and the antlers of male deer are both examples of traits that evolved under this type of selection. But Darwin wasn't the first or only scientist to develop a theory of evolution. The French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck came up with the idea that an organism could pass on traits to its offspring, though he was wrong about some of the details. And around the same time as Darwin, British biologist Alfred Russel Wallace independently came up with the theory of evolution by natural selection.

Modern understanding Darwin didn't know anything about genetics, Pobiner said. "He observed the pattern of evolution, but he didn't really know about the mechanism." That came later, with the discovery of how genes encode different biological or behavioral traits, and how genes are passed down from parents to offspring. The incorporation of genetics and Darwin's theory is known as "modern evolutionary synthesis." The physical and behavioral changes that make natural selection possible happen at the level of DNA and genes. Such changes are called mutations. "Mutations are basically the raw material on which evolution acts," Pobiner said. Mutations can be caused by random errors in DNA replication or repair, or by chemical or radiation damage. Most times, mutations are either harmful or neutral, but in rare instances, a mutation might prove beneficial to the organism. If so, it will become more prevalent in the next generation and spread throughout the population. In this way, natural selection guides the evolutionary process, preserving and adding up the beneficial mutations and rejecting the bad ones. "Mutations are random, but selection for them is not random," Pobiner said. But natural selection isn't the only mechanism by which organisms evolve, she said. For example, genes can be transferred from one population to another when organisms migrate or immigrate, a process known as gene flow. And the frequency of certain genes can also change at random, which is called genetic drift.

A wealth of evidence Even though scientists could predict what early whales should look like, they lacked the fossil evidence to back up their claim. Creationists took this absence as proof that evolution didn't occur. They mocked the idea that there could have ever been such a thing as a walking whale. But since the early 1990s, that's exactly what scientists have been finding. The critical piece of evidence came in 1994, when paleontologists found the fossilized remains of Ambulocetus natans, an animal whose name literally means "swimming-walking whale." Its forelimbs had fingers and small hooves but its hind feet were enormous given its size. It was clearly adapted for swimming, but it was also capable of moving clumsily on land, much like a seal. When it swam, the ancient creature moved like an otter, pushing back with its hind feet and undulating its spine and tail. Modern whales propel themselves through the water with powerful beats of their horizontal tail flukes, but Ambulocetus still had a whip-like tail and had to use its legs to provide most of the propulsive force needed to move through water. In recent years, more and more of these transitional species, or "missing links," have been discovered, lending further support to Darwin's theory, Richmond said.

New York City. "All life on Earth is connected and related to each other," and this diversity of life is a product of "modifications of populations by natural selection, where some traits were favored in and environment over others," he said. More simply put, the theory can be described as "descent with modification," said Briana Pobiner, an anthropologist and educator at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., who specializes in the study of human origins. The theory is sometimes described as "survival of the fittest," but that can be misleading, Pobiner said. Here, "fitness" refers not to an organism's strength or athletic ability, but rather the ability to survive and reproduce. Origin of whales In the first edition of "The Origin of Species" in 1859, Charles Darwin speculated about how natural selection could cause a land mammal to turn into a whale. As a hypothetical example, Darwin used North American black bears, which were known to catch insects by swimming in the water with their mouths open: "I can see no difficulty in a race of bears being rendered, by natural selection, more aquatic in their structure and habits, with larger and larger mouths, till a creature was produced as monstrous as a whale," he speculated. The idea didn't go over very well with the public. Darwin was so embarrassed by the ridicule he received that the swimming-bear passage was removed from later editions of the book. Scientists now know that Darwin had the right idea but the wrong animal: Instead of looking at bears, he should have instead been looking at cows and hippopotamuses. The story of the origin of whales is one of evolution's most fascinating tales and one of the best examples scientists have of natural selection. The last shore-dwelling ancestor of modern whales was Sinonyx, top left, a hyena-like animal. Over 60 million years, several transitional forms evolved: from top to bottom, Indohyus, Ambulocetus, Rodhocetus, Basilosaurus, Dorudon, and finally, the modern humpback whale. Credit: NOAA Natural selection To understand the origin of whales, it's necessary to have a basic understanding of how natural selection works. Natural selection can change a species in small ways, causing a population to change color or size over the course of several generations. This is called "microevolution." But natural selection is also capable of much more. Given enough time and enough accumulated changes, natural selection can create entirely new species, known as "macroevolution." It can turn dinosaurs into birds, amphibious mammals into whales and the ancestors of apes into humans. Take the example of whales — using evolution as their guide and knowing how natural selection works, biologists knew that the transition of early whales from land to water occurred in a series of predictable steps. The evolution of the blowhole, for example, might have happened in the following way: Random genetic changes resulted in at least one whale having its nostrils placed farther back on its head. Those animals with this adaptation would have been better suited to a marine lifestyle, since they would not have had to completely surface to breathe. Such animals would have been more successful and had more offspring. In later generations, more genetic changes occurred, moving the nose farther back on the head. Other body parts of early whales also changed. Front legs became flippers. Back legs disappeared. Their bodies became more streamlined and they developed tail flukes to better propel themselves through water. Darwin also described a form of natural selection that depends on an organism's success at attracting a mate, a process known as sexual selection. The colorful plumage of peacocks and the antlers of male deer are both examples of traits that evolved under this type of selection. But Darwin wasn't the first or only scientist to develop a theory of evolution. The French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck came up with the idea that an organism could pass on traits to its offspring, though he was wrong about some of the details. And around the same time as Darwin, British biologist Alfred Russel Wallace independently came up with the theory of evolution by natural selection. Modern understanding Darwin didn't know anything about genetics, Pobiner said.

"He observed the pattern of evolution, but he didn't really know about the mechanism." That came later, with the discovery of how genes encode different biological or behavioral traits, and how genes are passed down from parents to offspring. The incorporation of genetics and Darwin's theory is known as "modern evolutionary synthesis." The physical and behavioral changes that make natural selection possible happen at the level of DNA and genes. Such changes are called mutations. "Mutations are basically the raw material on which evolution acts," Pobiner said. Mutations can be caused by random errors in DNA replication or repair, or by chemical or radiation damage. Most times, mutations are either harmful or neutral, but in rare instances, a mutation might prove beneficial to the organism. If so, it will become more prevalent in the next generation and spread throughout the population. In this way, natural selection guides the evolutionary process, preserving and adding up the beneficial mutations and rejecting the bad ones. "Mutations are random, but selection for them is not random," Pobiner said. But natural selection isn't the only mechanism by which organisms evolve, she said. For example, genes can be transferred from one population to another when organisms migrate or immigrate, a process known as gene flow. And the frequency of certain genes can also change at random, which is called genetic drift. A wealth of evidence Even though scientists could predict what early whales should look like, they lacked the fossil evidence to back up their claim. Creationists took this absence as proof that evolution didn't occur. They mocked the idea that there could have ever been such a thing as a walking whale. But since the early 1990s, that's exactly what scientists have been finding. The critical piece of evidence came in 1994, when paleontologists found the fossilized remains of Ambulocetus natans, an animal whose name literally means "swimming-walking whale." Its forelimbs had fingers and small hooves but its hind feet were enormous given its size. It was clearly adapted for swimming, but it was also capable of moving clumsily on land, much like a seal. When it swam, the ancient creature moved like an otter, pushing back with its hind feet and undulating its spine and tail. Modern whales propel themselves through the water with powerful beats of their horizontal tail flukes, but Ambulocetus still had a whip-like tail and had to use its legs to provide most of the propulsive force needed to move through water. In recent years, more and more of these transitional species, or "missing links," have been discovered, lending further support to Darwin's theory, Richmond said. Controversy Despite the wealth of evidence from the fossil record, genetics and other fields of science, some people still question its validity. Some politicians and religious leaders denounce the theory, invoking a higher being as a designer to explain the complex world of living things, especially humans. School boards debate whether the theory of evolution should be taught alongside other ideas, such as intelligent design or creationism. Mainstream scientists see no controversy. "A lot of people have deep religious beliefs and also accept evolution," Pobiner said, adding, "there can be real reconciliation." Evolution is well supported by many examples of changes in various species leading to the diversity of life seen today. "If someone could really demonstrate a better explanation than evolution and natural selection, [that person] would be the new Darwin," Richmond said. Creationism is the religious belief that the universe and life originated "from specific acts of divine creation", as opposed to the scientific conclusion that they came about through natural processes.[4] The first use of the term "creationist" to describe a proponent of creationism is found in an 1856 letter of Charles Darwin describing those who objected on religious grounds to the then emerging science of evolution.Creationism covers a spectrum of views including evolutionary creationism, a theological variant of theistic evolution which asserts that both evolutionary science and a belief in creation are true, but the term is commonly used for literal creationists who reject various aspects of science, and instead promote pseudoscientific beliefs. Literal creationists base their beliefs on a fundamentalist reading of religious texts, including the creation myths found in Genesis and the Quran. For young Earth creationists, these beliefs are based on a literalist interpretation of the Genesis creation narrative and rejection of the scientific theory of evolution. Literalist creationists believe that evolution cannot adequately account for the history, diversity, and complexity of life on Earth. Pseudoscientific branches of creationism include creation science, flood geology, and intelligent design, as well as subsets of pseudoarchaeology, pseudohistory, and pseudolinguistics.The Genesis creation narrative (Genesis 1–2) describes how God brings the Universe into being in a series of creative acts over six days and places the first man and woman (Adam and Eve) in a divine garden (the Garden of Eden). This story is the basis of Creationist cosmology and biology. The Genesis flood narrative (Genesis 6–9) tells how God destroys the world and all life through a great flood, saving representatives of each form of life by means of Noah's ark. This forms the basis of Creationist geology, better known as flood geology. A further important element is the interpretation of the Biblical chronology, the elaborate system of life-spans, "generations," and other means by which the Bible measures the passage of events from the Creation (Genesis 1:1) to the Book of Daniel, the last biblical book in which it appears. Recent decades have seen attempts to de-link Creationism from the Bible and recast it as science: these include creation science and intelligent design.[18] There are also non-Christian forms of Creationism, notably Islamic Creationism and Hindu Creationism. Proponents hold various beliefs. (For example, Michael Behe accepts evolution from primates.) Divine intervention at some point in the past, as evidenced by what intelligent-design creationists call "irreducible complexity." Some adherents accept common descent, others not. Some claim the existence of Earth is the result of divine intervention. Scientifically accepted age.

Controversy Despite the wealth of evidence from the fossil record, genetics and other fields of science, some people still question its validity. Some politicians and religious leaders denounce the theory, invoking a higher being as a designer to explain the complex world of living things, especially humans. School boards debate whether the theory of evolution should be taught alongside other ideas, such as intelligent design or creationism. Mainstream scientists see no controversy. "A lot of people have deep religious beliefs and also accept evolution," Pobiner said, adding, "there can be real reconciliation." Evolution is well supported by many examples of changes in various species leading to the diversity of life seen today. "If someone could really demonstrate a better explanation than evolution and natural selection, [that person] would be the new Darwin," Richmond said.The theory of evolution by natural selection, first formulated in Darwin's book "On the Origin of Species" in 1859, is the process by which organisms change over time as a result of changes in heritable physical or behavioral traits. Changes that allow an organism to better adapt to its environment will help it survive and have more offspring. Evolution by natural selection is one of the best substantiated theories in the history of science, supported by evidence from a wide variety of scientific disciplines, including paleontology, geology, genetics and developmental biology. The theory has two main points, said Brian Richmond, curator of human origins at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. "All life on Earth is connected and related to each other," and this diversity of life is a product of "modifications of populations by natural selection, where some traits were favored in and environment over others," he said. More simply put, the theory can be described as "descent with modification," said Briana Pobiner, an anthropologist and educator at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., who specializes in the study of human origins. The theory is sometimes described as "survival of the fittest," but that can be misleading, Pobiner said. Here, "fitness" refers not to an organism's strength or athletic ability, but rather the ability to survive and reproduce.

Origin of whales In the first edition of "The Origin of Species" in 1859, Charles Darwin speculated about how natural selection could cause a land mammal to turn into a whale. As a hypothetical example, Darwin used North American black bears, which were known to catch insects by swimming in the water with their mouths open: "I can see no difficulty in a race of bears being rendered, by natural selection, more aquatic in their structure and habits, with larger and larger mouths, till a creature was produced as monstrous as a whale," he speculated. The idea didn't go over very well with the public. Darwin was so embarrassed by the ridicule he received that the swimming-bear passage was removed from later editions of the book. Scientists now know that Darwin had the right idea but the wrong animal: Instead of looking at bears, he should have instead been looking at cows and hippopotamuses. The story of the origin of whales is one of evolution's most fascinating tales and one of the best examples scientists have of natural selection. The last shore-dwelling ancestor of modern whales was Sinonyx, top left, a hyena-like animal. Over 60 million years, several transitional forms evolved: from top to bottom, Indohyus, Ambulocetus, Rodhocetus, Basilosaurus, Dorudon, and finally, the modern humpback whale. The last shore-dwelling ancestor of modern whales was Sinonyx, top left, a hyena-like animal. Over 60 million years, several transitional forms evolved: from top to bottom, Indohyus, Ambulocetus, Rodhocetus, Basilosaurus, Dorudon, and finally, the modern humpback whale.

The Institute for Creation Research (ICR) is a young-Earth creationist organization. Young Earth creationists such as Ken Ham and Doug Phillips believe that God created the Earth within the last ten thousand years, literally as described in the Genesis creation narrative, within the approximate time-frame of biblical genealogies (detailed for example in the Ussher chronology). Most young Earth creationists believe that the universe has a similar age as the Earth. A few assign a much older age to the universe than to Earth. Creationist cosmologies give the universe an age consistent with the Ussher chronology and other young Earth time frames. Other young Earth creationists believe that the Earth and the universe were created with the appearance of age, so that the world appears to be much older than it is, and that this appearance is what gives the geological findings and other methods of dating the Earth and the universe their much longer timelines. Old Earth creationism holds that the physical universe was created by God, but that the creation event described in the Book of Genesis is to be taken figuratively. This group generally believes that the age of the universe and the age of the Earth are as described by astronomers and geologists, but that details of modern evolutionary theory are questionable. Gap creationism, also called "restoration creationism," holds that life was recently created on a pre-existing old Earth. This version of creationism relies on a particular interpretation of Genesis 1:1–2. It is considered that the words formless and void in fact denote waste and ruin, taking into account the original Hebrew and other places these words are used in the Old Testament. Genesis 1:1–2 is consequently translated: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." (Original act of creation.) "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." Thus, the six days of creation (verse 3 onwards) start sometime after the Earth was "without form and void." This allows an indefinite "gap" of time to be inserted after the original creation of the universe, but prior to the creation according to Genesis, (when present biological species and humanity were created). Gap theorists can therefore agree with the scientific consensus regarding the age of the Earth and universe, while maintaining a literal interpretation of the biblical text. Some[which?] gap creationists expand the basic version of creationism by proposing a "primordial creation" of biological life within the "gap" of time. This is thought to be "the world that then was" mentioned in 2 Peter 3:3–7.[22] Discoveries of fossils and archaeological ruins older than 10,000 years are generally ascribed to this "world that then was," which may also be associated with Lucifer's rebellion. These views became popular with publications of Hebrew Lexicons such as Strong's Concordance, and Bible commentaries such as the Scofield Reference Bible and The Companion Bible. Day-age creationism states that the "six days" of the Book of Genesis are not ordinary 24-hour days, but rather much longer periods (for instance, each "day" could be the equivalent of millions, or billions of years of human time). The physicist Gerald Schroeder is one such proponent of this view. This version of creationism often states that the Hebrew word "yôm," in the context of Genesis 1, can be properly interpreted as "age." Some adherents, including Jehovah's Witnesses,[23] claim the seventh age ("seventh day") is currently ongoing. Strictly speaking, day-age creationism is not so much a version of creationism as a hermeneutic option which may be combined with other versions of creationism such as progressive creationism.

Progressive creationism Progressive creationism holds that species have changed or evolved in a process continuously guided by God, with various ideas as to how the process operated—though it is generally taken that God directly intervened in the natural order at key moments in Earth history. This view accepts most of modern physical science including the age of the Earth, but rejects much of modern evolutionary biology or looks to it for evidence that evolution by natural selection alone is incorrect.[citation needed] Organizations such as Reasons To Believe, founded by Hugh Ross, promote this version of creationism. Progressive creationism can be held in conjunction with hermeneutic approaches to the Genesis creation narrative such as the day-age creationism or framework/metaphoric/poetic views. Creation science, or initially scientific creationism, is a pseudoscience that emerged in the 1960s with proponents aiming to have young Earth creationist beliefs taught in school science classes as a counter to teaching of evolution. Common features of Creation science argument include: creationist cosmologies which accommodate a universe on the order of thousands of years old, criticism of radiometric dating through a technical argument about radiohalos, explanations for the fossil record as a record of the Genesis flood narrative (see flood geology), and explanations for the present diversity as a result of pre-designed genetic variability and partially due to the rapid degradation of the perfect genomes God placed in "created kinds" or "Baramin" Neo-creationism is a pseudoscientific movement which aims to restate creationism in terms more likely to be well received by the public, by policy makers, by educators and by the scientific community. It aims to re-frame the debate over the origins of life in non-religious terms and without appeals to scripture. This comes in response to the 1987 ruling by the United States Supreme Court in Edwards v. Aguillard that creationism is an inherently religious concept and that advocating it as correct or accurate in public-school curricula violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. One of the principal claims of neo-creationism propounds that ostensibly objective orthodox science, with a foundation in naturalism, is actually a dogmatically atheistic religion.[31] Its proponents argue that the scientific method excludes certain explanations of phenomena, particularly where they point towards supernatural elements, thus effectively excluding religious insight from contributing to understanding the universe. This leads to an open and often hostile opposition to what neo-creationists term "Darwinism", which they generally mean to refer to evolution, but which they may extend to include such concepts as abiogenesis, stellar evolution and the Big Bang theory. Unlike their philosophical forebears, neo-creationists largely do not believe in many of the traditional cornerstones of creationism such as a young Earth, or in a dogmatically literal interpretation of the Bible.

Intelligent design Intelligent design (ID) is the pseudoscientific view that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection."[34] All of its leading proponents are associated with the Discovery Institute, a think tank whose Wedge strategy aims to replace the scientific method with "a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions" which accepts supernatural explanations. It is widely accepted in the scientific and academic communities that intelligent design is a form of creationism, and is sometimes referred to as "intelligent design creationism." In astronomy, the geocentric model (also known as geocentrism, or the Ptolemaic system), is a description of the Cosmos where Earth is at the orbital center of all celestial bodies. This model served as the predominant cosmological system in many ancient civilizations such as ancient Greece. As such, they assumed that the Sun, Moon, stars, and naked eye planets circled Earth, including the noteworthy systems of Aristotle (see Aristotelian physics) and Ptolemy.

Omphalos hypothesis The Omphalos hypothesis argues that in order for the world to be functional, God must have created a mature Earth with mountains and canyons, rock strata, trees with growth rings, and so on; therefore no evidence that we can see of the presumed age of the Earth and age of the universe can be taken as reliable.[51] The idea has seen some revival in the 20th century by some modern creationists, who have extended the argument to address the "starlight problem". The idea has been criticised as Last Thursdayism, and on the grounds that it requires a deliberately deceptive creator. Theistic evolution Theistic evolution, or evolutionary creation, is a belief that "the personal God of the Bible created the universe and life through evolutionary processes." A theory of theistic evolution (TE) – also called evolutionary creation – proposes that God's method of creation was to cleverly design a universe in which everything would naturally evolve. Usually the "evolution" in "theistic evolution" means Total Evolution – astronomical evolution (to form galaxies, solar systems,...) and geological evolution (to form the earth's geology) plus chemical evolution (to form the first life) and biological evolution (for the development of life) – but it can refer only to biological evolution. Through the 19th century the term creationism most commonly referred to direct creation of individual souls, in contrast to traducianism. Tthere was interest in ideas of Creation by divine law. In particular, the liberal theologian Baden Powell argued that this illustrated the Creator's power better than the idea of miraculous creation, which he thought ridiculous.[54] When On the Origin of Species was published, the cleric Charles Kingsley wrote of evolution as "just as noble a conception of Deity."[55][56] Darwin's view at the time was of God creating life through the laws of nature,[57][58] and the book makes several references to "creation," though he later regretted using the term rather than calling it an unknown process.[59] In America, Asa Gray argued that evolution is the secondary effect, or modus operandi, of the first cause, design,[60] and published a pamphlet defending the book in theistic terms, Natural Selection not inconsistent with Natural Theology.[55][61][62] Theistic evolution, also called, evolutionary creation, became a popular compromise, and St. George Jackson Mivart was among those accepting evolution but attacking Darwin's naturalistic mechanism. Eventually it was realised that supernatural intervention could not be a scientific explanation, and naturalistic mechanisms such as neo-Lamarckism were favoured as being more compatible with purpose than natural selection. Some theists took the general view that, instead of faith being in opposition to biological evolution, some or all classical religious teachings about Christian God and creation are compatible with some or all of modern scientific theory, including specifically evolution; it is also known as "evolutionary creation." In Evolution versus Creationism, Eugenie Scott and Niles Eldredge state that it is in fact a type of evolution. It generally views evolution as a tool used by God, who is both the first cause and immanent sustainer/upholder of the universe; it is therefore well accepted by people of strong theistic (as opposed to deistic) convictions. Theistic evolution can synthesize with the day-age creationist interpretation of the Genesis creation narrative; however most adherents consider that the first chapters of the Book of Genesis should not be interpreted as a "literal" description, but rather as a literary framework or allegory. From a theistic viewpoint, the underlying laws of nature were designed by God for a purpose, and are so self-sufficient that the complexity of the entire physical universe evolved from fundamental particles in processes such as stellar evolution, life forms developed in biological evolution, and in the same way the origin of life by natural causes has resulted from these laws. In one form or another, theistic evolution is the view of creation taught at the majority of mainline Protestant seminaries.[66] For Roman Catholics, human evolution is not a matter of religious teaching, and must stand or fall on its own scientific merits. Evolution and the Roman Catholic Church are not in conflict. The Catechism of the Catholic Church comments positively on the theory of evolution, which is neither precluded nor required by the sources of faith, stating that scientific studies "have splendidly enriched our knowledge of the age and dimensions of the cosmos, the development of life-forms and the appearance of man." Roman Catholic schools teach evolution without controversy on the basis that scientific knowledge does not extend beyond the physical, and scientific truth and religious truth cannot be in conflict.[68] Theistic evolution can be described as "creationism" in holding that divine intervention brought about the origin of life or that divine laws govern formation of species, though many creationists (in the strict sense) would deny that the position is creationism at all. In the creation–evolution_controversy controversy its proponents generally take the "evolutionist" side. This sentiment was expressed by Fr. George Coyne, (the Vatican's chief astronomer between 1978 and 2006): ...in America, creationism has come to mean some fundamentalistic, literal, scientific interpretation of Genesis. Judaic-Christian faith is radically creationist, but in a totally different sense. It is rooted in a belief that everything depends upon God, or better, all is a gift from God. While supporting the methodological naturalism inherent in modern science, the proponents of theistic evolution reject the implication taken by some atheists that this gives credence to ontological materialism. In fact, many modern philosophers of science,[70] including atheists, refer to the long-standing convention in the scientific method that observable events in nature should be explained by natural causes, with the distinction that it does not assume the actual existence or non-existence of the supernatural.

Genesis creation narrative and creation–evolution controversy :As of 2006, most Christians around the world accepted evolution as the most likely explanation for the origins of species, and did not take a literal view of the Genesis creation myth. The United States is an exception where belief in religious fundamentalism is much more likely to affect attitudes towards evolution than it is for believers elsewhere. Political partisanship affecting religious belief may be a factor because political partisanship in the US is highly correlated with fundamentalist thinking, unlike in Europe. Most contemporary Christian leaders and scholars from mainstream churches, such as Anglicans and Lutherans, consider that there is no conflict between the spiritual meaning of creation and the science of evolution. According to the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, "...for most of the history of Christianity, and I think this is fair enough, most of the history of the Christianity there's been an awareness that a belief that everything depends on the creative act of God, is quite compatible with a degree of uncertainty or latitude about how precisely that unfolds in creative time." Leaders of the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches have made statements in favor of evolutionary theory, as have scholars such as the physicist John Polkinghorne, who argues that evolution is one of the principles through which God created living beings. Earlier supporters of evolutionary theory include Frederick Temple, Asa Gray and Charles Kingsley who were enthusiastic supporters of Darwin's theories upon their publication,[80] and the French Jesuit priest and geologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin saw evolution as confirmation of his Christian beliefs, despite condemnation from Church authorities for his more speculative theories. Another example is that of Liberal theology, not providing any creation models, but instead focusing on the symbolism in beliefs of the time of authoring Genesis and the cultural environment. Many Christians and Jews had been considering the idea of the creation history as an allegory (instead of historical) long before the development of Darwin's theory of evolution. For example, Philo, whose works were taken up by early Church writers, wrote that it would be a mistake to think that creation happened in six days, or in any set amount of time. Augustine of the late fourth century who was also a former neoplatonist argued that everything in the universe was created by God at the same moment in time (and not in six days as a literal reading of the Book of Genesis would seem to require); It appears that both Philo and Augustine felt uncomfortable with the idea of a seven-day creation because it detracted from the notion of God's omnipotence. In 1950, Pope Pius XII stated limited support for the idea in his encyclical Humani generis. In 1996, Pope John Paul II stated that "new knowledge has led to the recognition of the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis," but, referring to previous papal writings, he concluded that "if the human body takes its origin from pre-existent living matter, the spiritual soul is immediately created by God." In the US, Evangelical Christians have continued to believe in a literal Genesis. Members of evangelical Protestant (70%), Mormon (76%) and Jehovah's Witnesses (90%) denominations are the most likely to reject the evolutionary interpretation of the origins of life.[86] Jehovah's Witnesses adhere to a combination of gap creationism and day-age creationism, asserting that scientific evidence about the age of the universe is compatible with the Bible, but that the 'days' after Genesis 1:1 were each thousands of years in length. The historic Christian literal interpretation of creation requires the harmonization of the two creation stories, Genesis 1:1–2:3 and Genesis 2:4–25, for there to be a consistent interpretation.[88][89] They sometimes seek to ensure that their belief is taught in science classes, mainly in American schools. Opponents reject the claim that the literalistic biblical view meets the criteria required to be considered scientific. Many religious groups teach that God created the Cosmos. From the days of the early Christian Church Fathers there were allegorical interpretations of the Book of Genesis as well as literal aspects. Christian Science, a system of thought and practice derived from the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, interprets the Book of Genesis figuratively rather than literally. It holds that the material world is an illusion, and consequently not created by God: the only real creation is the spiritual realm, of which the material world is a distorted version. Christian Scientists regard the story of the creation in the Book of Genesis as having symbolic rather than literal meaning. According to Christian Science, both creationism and evolution are false from an absolute or "spiritual" point of view, as they both proceed from a (false) belief in the reality of a material universe. However, Christian Scientists do not oppose the teaching of evolution in schools, nor do they demand that alternative accounts be taught: they believe that both material science and literalist theology are concerned with the illusory, mortal and material, rather than the real, immortal and spiritual. With regard to material theories of creation, Eddy showed a preference for Darwin's theory of evolution over others.

Hinduism : Hindu views on evolution - According to Hindu creationism, all species on Earth including humans have "devolved" or come down from a high state of pure consciousness. Hindu creationists claim that species of plants and animals are material forms adopted by pure consciousness which live an endless cycle of births and rebirths. Ronald Numbers says that: "Hindu Creationists have insisted on the antiquity of humans, who they believe appeared fully formed as long, perhaps, as trillions of years ago." Hindu creationism is a form of old Earth creationism, according to Hindu creationists the universe may even be older than billions of years. These views are based on the Vedas, the creation myths of which depict an extreme antiquity of the universe and history of the Earth.

Islamic views on evolution : Islamic creationism is the belief that the universe (including humanity) was directly created by God as explained in the Qur'an. It usually views the Book of Genesis as a corrupted version of God's message. The creation myths in the Qur'an are vaguer and allow for a wider range of interpretations similar to those in other Abrahamic religions .Islam also has its own school of theistic evolutionism, which holds that mainstream scientific analysis of the origin of the universe is supported by the Qur'an. Some Muslims believe in evolutionary creation, especially among liberal movements within Islam. Writing for The Boston Globe, Drake Bennett noted: "Without a Book of Genesis to account for ... Muslim creationists have little interest in proving that the age of the Earth is measured in the thousands rather than the billions of years, nor do they show much interest in the problem of the dinosaurs. And the idea that animals might evolve into other animals also tends to be less controversial, in part because there are passages of the Koran that seem to support it. But the issue of whether human beings are the product of evolution is just as fraught among Muslims." However, some Muslims, such as Adnan Oktar (also known as Harun Yahya), do not agree that one species can develop from another. Since the 1980s, Turkey has been a site of strong advocacy for creationism, supported by American adherents. "Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of creation), before we clove them asunder? We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?"[Quran 21:30 (Translated by Yusuf Ali)] "Moreover He comprehended in His design the sky, and it had been (as) smoke: He said to it and to the earth: 'Come ye together, willingly or unwillingly.' They said: 'We do come (together), in willing obedience.'"[Quran 41:11 (Translated by Yusuf Ali)] "With power and skill did We construct the Firmament: for it is We Who create the vastness of space."[Quran 51:47 (Translated by Yusuf Ali)] "The Day that We roll up the heavens like a scroll rolled up for books (completed),- even as We produced the first creation, so shall We produce a new one: a promise We have undertaken: truly shall We fulfil it."[Quran 21:104 (Translated by Yusuf Ali)]

Predestination in Islam : Ahmadiyya - The Ahmadiyya movement actively promotes evolutionary theory.[104] Ahmadis interpret scripture from the Qur'an to support the concept of macroevolution and give precedence to scientific theories. Furthermore, unlike orthodox Muslims, Ahmadis believe that mankind has gradually evolved from different species. Ahmadis regard Adam as being the first Prophet of God – as opposed to him being the first man on Earth. Rather than wholly adopting the theory of natural selection, Ahmadis promote the idea of a "guided evolution," viewing each stage of the evolutionary process as having been selectively woven by God.[105] Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Fourth Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has stated in his magnum opus Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge & Truth (1998) that evolution did occur but only through God being the One who brings it about. It does not occur itself, according to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

Jewish views on evolution : For Orthodox Jews who seek to reconcile discrepancies between science and the creation myths in the Bible, the notion that science and the Bible should even be reconciled through traditional scientific means is questioned. To these groups, science is as true as the Torah and if there seems to be a problem, epistemological limits are to blame for apparently irreconcilable points. They point to discrepancies between what is expected and what actually is to demonstrate that things are not always as they appear. They note that even the root word for "world" in the Hebrew language—עולם (Olam)—means hidden—נעלם (Neh-Eh-Lahm). Just as they know from the Torah that God created man and trees and the light on its way from the stars in their observed state, so too can they know that the world was created in its over the six days of Creation that reflects progression to its currently-observed state, with the understanding that physical ways to verify this may eventually be identified. This knowledge has been advanced by Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb, former philosophy professor at Johns Hopkins University. Also, relatively old Kabbalistic sources from well before the scientifically apparent age of the universe was first determined are in close concord with modern scientific estimates of the age of the universe, according to Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, and based on Sefer Temunah, an early kabbalistic work attributed to the first-century Tanna Nehunya ben HaKanah. Many kabbalists accepted the teachings of the Sefer HaTemunah, including the medieval Jewish scholar Nahmanides, his close student Isaac ben Samuel of Acre, and David ben Solomon ibn Abi Zimra. Other parallels are derived, among other sources, from Nahmanides, who expounds that there was a Neanderthal-like species with which Adam mated (he did this long before Neanderthals had even been discovered scientifically) Reform Judaism does not take the Torah as a literal text, but rather as a symbolic or open-ended work. Some contemporary writers such as Rabbi Gedalyah Nadel have sought to reconcile the discrepancy between the account in the Torah, and scientific findings by arguing that each day referred to in the Bible was not 24 hours, but billions of years long. Others claim that the Earth was created a few thousand years ago, but was deliberately made to look as if it was five billion years old, e.g. by being created with ready made fossils. The best known exponent of this approach being Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. Others state that although the world was physically created in six 24 hour days, the Torah accounts can be interpreted to mean that there was a period of billions of years before the six days of creation.

Bahai Faith and science § Creation : In the creation myth taught by Bahá'u'lláh, the Bahá'í Faith founder, the universe has "neither beginning nor ending," and that the component elements of the material world have always existed and will always exist.[113] With regard to evolution and the origin of human beings, `Abdu'l-Bahá gave extensive comments on the subject when he addressed western audiences in the beginning of the 20th century. Transcripts of these comments can be found in Some Answered Questions, Paris Talks and The Promulgation of Universal Peace. `Abdu'l-Bahá described the human species as having evolved from a primitive form to modern man, but that Views on human evolution in various countries.Most vocal literalist creationists are from the US, and strict creationist views are much less common in other developed countries. According to a study published in Science, a survey of the US, Turkey, Japan and Europe showed that public acceptance of evolution is most prevalent in Iceland, Denmark and Sweden at 80% of the population. There seems to be no significant correlation between believing in evolution and understanding evolutionary science.

Australia : A 2009 Nielsen poll, showed that almost a quarter of Australians believe "the biblical account of human origins." Forty-two percent believe in a "wholly scientific" explanation for the origins of life, while 32 percent believe in an evolutionary process "guided by God."

Canada : A 2012 survey, by Angus Reid Public Opinion revealed that 61 percent of Canadians believe in evolution. The poll asked "Where did human beings come from – did we start as singular cells millions of year ago and evolve into our present form, or did God create us in his image 10,000 years ago?"

Europe : In Europe, literalist creationism is more widely rejected, though regular opinion polls are not available. Most people accept that evolution is the most widely accepted scientific theory as taught in most schools. In countries with a Roman Catholic majority, papal acceptance of evolutionary creationism as worthy of study has essentially ended debate on the matter for many people. In the UK, a 2006 poll on the "origin and development of life", asked participants to choose between three different perspectives on the origin of life: 22% chose creationism, 17% opted for intelligent design, 48% selected evolutionary theory, and the rest did not know.[120][121] A subsequent 2010 YouGov poll on the correct explanation for the origin of humans found that 9% opted for creationism, 12% intelligent design, 65% evolutionary theory and 13% didn't know.[122] The former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, views the idea of teaching creationism in schools as a mistake.[123] In Italy, Education Minister Letizia Moratti wanted to retire evolution from the secondary school level; after one week of massive protests, she reversed her opinion. There continues to be scattered and possibly mounting efforts on the part of religious groups throughout Europe to introduce creationism into public education. In response, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has released a draft report titled The dangers of creationism in education on June 8, 2007,[127] reinforced by a further proposal of banning it in schools dated October 4, 2007. Serbia suspended the teaching of evolution for one week in September 2004, under education minister Ljiljana Čolić, only allowing schools to reintroduce evolution into the curriculum if they also taught creationism.[129] "After a deluge of protest from scientists, teachers and opposition parties" says the BBC report, Čolić's deputy made the statement, "I have come here to confirm Charles Darwin is still alive" and announced that the decision was reversed.[130] Čolić resigned after the government said that she had caused "problems that had started to reflect on the work of the entire government." Poland saw a major controversy over creationism in 2006, when the Deputy Education Minister, Mirosław Orzechowski, denounced evolution as "one of many lies" taught in Polish schools. His superior, Minister of Education Roman Giertych, has stated that the theory of evolution would continue to be taught in Polish schools, "as long as most scientists in our country say that it is the right theory." Giertych's father, Member of the European Parliament Maciej Giertych, has opposed the teaching of evolution and has claimed that dinosaurs and humans co-existed.

The United States : Anti-evolution car in Athens, Georgia : A 2017 poll by Pew Research found that 62% of Americans believe humans have evolved over time and 34% of Americans believe humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time. Another 2017 Gallup creationism survey found that 38% of adults in the United States inclined to the view that "God created humans in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years" when asked for their views on the origin and development of human beings, which Gallup noted was the lowest level in 35 years. According to a 2014 Gallup poll,[134] about 42% of Americans believe that "God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so."[134] Another 31% believe that "human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process,"and 19% believe that "human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process." Belief in creationism is inversely correlated to education; of those with postgraduate degrees, 74% accept evolution.[135][136] In 1987, Newsweek reported: "By one count there are some 700 scientists with respectable academic credentials (out of a total of 480,000 U.S. earth and life scientists) who give credence to creation-science, the general theory that complex life forms did not evolve but appeared 'abruptly.'" A 2000 poll for People for the American Way found 70% of the US public felt that evolution was compatible with a belief in God. According to a study published in Science, between 1985 and 2005 the number of adult North Americans who accept evolution declined from 45% to 40%, the number of adults who reject evolution declined from 48% to 39% and the number of people who were unsure increased from 7% to 21%. Besides the US the study also compared data from 32 European countries, Turkey, and Japan. The only country where acceptance of evolution was lower than in the US was Turkey . According to a 2011 Fox News poll, 45% of Americans believe in Creationism, down from 50% in a similar poll in 1999.[139] 21% believe in 'the theory of evolution as outlined by Darwin and other scientists' (up from 15% in 1999), and 27% answered that both are true (up from 26% in 1999). In September 2012, educator and television personality Bill Nye spoke with the Associated Press and aired his fears about acceptance of creationism, believing that teaching children that creationism is the only true answer without letting them understand the way science works will prevent any future innovation in the world of science. In February 2014, Nye defended evolution in the classroom in a debate with creationist Ken Ham on the topic of whether creation is a viable model of origins in today's modern, scientific era.

Education controversies " The Truth fish, one of the many creationist responses to the Darwin fish Creation–evolution controversy In the US, creationism has become centered in the political controversy over creation and evolution in public education, and whether teaching creationism in science classes conflicts with the separation of church and state. Currently, the controversy comes in the form of whether advocates of the intelligent design movement who wish to "Teach the Controversy" in science classes have conflated science with religion. People for the American Way polled 1500 North Americans about the teaching of evolution and creationism in November and December 1999. They found that most North Americans were not familiar with Creationism, and most North Americans had heard of evolution, but many did not fully understand the basics of the theory.

Christian criticism : Most Christians disagree with the teaching of creationism as an alternative to evolution in schools.[148][149] Several religious organizations, among them the Catholic Church, hold that their faith does not conflict with the scientific consensus regarding evolution.[150] The Clergy Letter Project, which has collected more than 13,000 signatures, is an "endeavor designed to demonstrate that religion and science can be compatible." In his 2002 article "Intelligent Design as a Theological Problem," George Murphy argues against the view that life on Earth, in all its forms, is direct evidence of God's act of creation (Murphy quotes Phillip E. Johnson's claim that he is speaking "of a God who acted openly and left his fingerprints on all the evidence."). Murphy argues that this view of God is incompatible with the Christian understanding of God as "the one revealed in the cross and resurrection of Christ." The basis of this theology is Isaiah 45:15, "Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour." Murphy observes that the execution of a Jewish carpenter by Roman authorities is in and of itself an ordinary event and did not require divine action. On the contrary, for the crucifixion to occur, God had to limit or "empty" Himself. It was for this reason that Paul the Apostle wrote, in Philippians 2:5-8: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Murphy concludes that, "Just as the Son of God limited himself by taking human form and dying on a cross, God limits divine action in the world to be in accord with rational laws which God has chosen. This enables us to understand the world on its own terms, but it also means that natural processes hide God from scientific observation." For Murphy, a theology of the cross requires that Christians accept a methodological naturalism, meaning that one cannot invoke God to explain natural phenomena, while recognizing that such acceptance does not require one to accept a metaphysical naturalism, which proposes that nature is all that there is. The Jesuit priest George Coyne has stated that is "unfortunate that, especially here in America, creationism has come to mean...some literal interpretation of Genesis." He argues that "...Judaic-Christian faith is radically creationist, but in a totally different sense. It is rooted in belief that everything depends on God, or better, all is a gift from God."

Teaching of creationism " Other Christians have expressed qualms about teaching creationism. In March 2006, then Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the leader of the world's Anglicans, stated his discomfort about teaching creationism, saying that creationism was "a kind of category mistake, as if the Bible were a theory like other theories." He also said: "My worry is creationism can end up reducing the doctrine of creation rather than enhancing it." The views of the Episcopal Church – a major American-based branch of the Anglican Communion – on teaching creationism resemble those of Williams.The National Science Teachers Association is opposed to teaching creationism as a science, as is the Association for Science Teacher Education,[154] the National Association of Biology Teachers, the American Anthropological Association, the American Geosciences Institute,[157] the Geological Society of America, the American Geophysical Union,[159] and numerous other professional teaching and scientific societies. In April 2010, the American Academy of Religion issued Guidelines for Teaching About Religion in K‐12 Public Schools in the United States, which included guidance that creation science or intelligent design should not be taught in science classes, as "Creation science and intelligent design represent worldviews that fall outside of the realm of science that is defined as (and limited to) a method of inquiry based on gathering observable and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning." However, they, as well as other "worldviews that focus on speculation regarding the origins of life represent another important and relevant form of human inquiry that is appropriately studied in literature or social sciences courses. Such study, however, must include a diversity of worldviews representing a variety of religious and philosophical perspectives and must avoid privileging one view as more legitimate than others." Randy Moore and Sehoya Cotner, from the biology program at the University of Minnesota, reflect on the relevance of teaching creationism in the article "The Creationist Down the Hall: Does It Matter When Teachers Teach Creationism?" They conclude that "Despite decades of science education reform, numerous legal decisions declaring the teaching of creationism in public-school science classes to be unconstitutional, overwhelming evidence supporting evolution, and the many denunciations of creationism as nonscientific by professional scientific societies, creationism remains popular throughout the United States."

Scientific criticism: Creation–evolution controversy - Science is a system of knowledge based on observation, empirical evidence, and the development of theories that yield testable explanations and predictions of natural phenomena. By contrast, creationism is often based on literal interpretations of the narratives of particular religious texts. Some creationist beliefs involve purported forces that lie outside of nature, such as supernatural intervention, and often do not allow predictions at all. Therefore, these can neither be confirmed nor disproved by scientists. However, many creationist beliefs can be framed as testable predictions about phenomena such as the age of the Earth, its geological history and the origins, distributions and relationships of living organisms found on it. Early science incorporated elements of these beliefs, but as science developed these beliefs were gradually falsified and were replaced with understandings based on accumulated and reproducible evidence that often allows the accurate prediction of future results. Some scientists, such as Stephen Jay Gould, consider science and religion to be two compatible and complementary fields, with authorities in distinct areas of human experience, so-called non-overlapping magisteria. This view is also held by many theologians, who believe that ultimate origins and meaning are addressed by religion, but favor verifiable scientific explanations of natural phenomena over those of creationist beliefs. Other scientists, such as Richard Dawkins, reject the non-overlapping magisteria and argue that, in disproving literal interpretations of creationists, the scientific method also undermines religious texts as a source of truth. Irrespective of this diversity in viewpoints, since creationist beliefs are not supported by empirical evidence, the scientific consensus is that any attempt to teach creationism as science should be rejected. Scientists believe that our universe began with one enormous explosion of energy and light, which we now call the Big Bang. This was the singular start to everything that exists. The beginning of the universe, the start of space, and even the initial start of time itself. Nothing we observe today existed prior to that exact moment. Further, it was something outside of time, outside of space, and outside of matter that caused all of this to come into existence. The realization that our universe started, and did not always exist, brings enormous challenges to nontheistic scientists. Are scientists certain of this Big Bang Theory? Yes. In the late 1920's, astronomer Edwin Hubble saw through his telescope that galaxies (some millions of light years away) were hurtling away from each other at fantastic speeds. This was not caused by some force thrusting them away from each other. Rather, they were still moving as a result of a primeval explosion, all from one point of origin. In this point of origin, all the mass in the universe was compressed into a single point of infinite density...smaller than a single atom.2 Then in a cosmic explosion--the Big Bang--the universe came into being. Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate in Physics, gives further description, "At about one-hundredth of a second, the earliest time about which we can speak with any confidence, the temperature of the universe was about a hundred thousands million (1011) degrees Centigrade. This is much hotter than in the center of even the hottest star, so hot, in fact, that none of the components of ordinary matter, molecules, or atoms, or even the nuclei of atoms, could have held together."3 He goes on, "The universe was filled with light." Beginning of the UniverseThis eerily parallels the record, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth...and God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light."4 It came about not from matter, but from pronouncement. A spoken word. "Let there be light." Looking at the sacred texts of all the major religions, only the Bible describes what scientists have since discovered: there was an explosion of light and a beginning to our universe...from outside of the universe itself. With it came the very start of space, matter and time. It was a singular starting point for everything. Over and over in the Book of Genesis is the description, "And God said...." followed by "...and it was so."Instead, could our universe have come about through the laws of physics: such as gravity, electromagnetism, speed of light, etc.? No, because those things did not yet exist. The initial start of the universe itself produced the laws of physics and everything began without them.

The Beginning of the Universe - a Singular Start - Astrophysicist Robert Jastrow, a self-described agnostic, stated, "The seed of everything that has happened in the Universe was planted in that first instant; every star, every planet and every living creature in the Universe came into being as a result of events that were set in motion in the moment of the cosmic explosion. It was literally the moment of Creation. ...The Universe flashed into being, and we cannot find out what caused that to happen."5 As stated, this conclusion is distressing to atheistic scientists. To observe a reaction and not be able to document the cause is unsettling. Jastrow concludes, "For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries." Imagine the relief of these scientists when astronomers Hermann Bondi, Thomas Gold, and Fred Hoyle advanced what became known as the "steady state" universe in 1948. Their theory was that the universe was infinite in age. Thus, no creation or no cause was needed.

Beginning of the Universe - Steady State Theory Proved False : However, in the 1960s, the steady state theory suffered a devastating blow when two radio engineers at Bell Labs (Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson) discovered mysterious radiation coming from space. It came equally from all directions. When the temperature of the radiation was measured, its source was confirmed. This radiation did not always exist, or come from one part of the universe. It came from that singular, original moment of creation. Later, in 1996, NASA's Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite also further confirmed that the primordial background radiation pointed to an explosive start of the universe. The levels of hydrogen, lithium, deuterium, and helium that exist in our universe today confirm it as well. Are there any scientists who still want to counter the implications of the Big Bang Theory? Yes. There are scientists who are uncomfortable living with: (1) an unknown cause or (2) the conclusion that God is the cause. So they opt for a third option. Other Attempts to Explain the Beginning of the Universe .Beginning of the UniverseWhat explanation do these scientists give for the start to our entire universe, energy, time, and space? They attempt to simply negate the foundational premise that science rests on: that everything that begins to exist must have a cause. Physicist Victor Stenger says the universe may be "uncaused" and may have "emerged from nothing."7 Philosopher Bertrand Russell adopted this position in a debate on the existence of God. He said, "The universe is just here, and that's all." It is one thing to state that something is eternal, and therefore no "cause" is necessary. But it is entirely different to scientifically observe the start of something, the instantaneous beginning of something, and then try to say that it had no cause. Even David Hume, one of the most skeptical of all philosophers, regarded this position as ridiculous. For all his skepticism, Hume never denied causation. In 1754, Hume wrote, "I have never asserted so absurd a proposition as that anything might arise without cause."

Beginning of the Universe - Science Confirms : Pure scientific findings consistently point to only one conclusion: the universe had a singular start, an explosion, where everything we know--the universe, time, space, scientific laws we observe--all had a beginning. If you have ever wanted to believe in God, but certainly did not want to do so in contradiction of known scientific facts, science provides you reason to believe that God exists and powerfully created all things. It is logical to conclude that God, who is from the beginning, eternal and outside of time, created time. God who is present everywhere and cannot be confined to space, created space. God who is spiritual, non-physical and outside of matter is the source of our universe and all that is. This is the message blatantly repeated throughout the Bible. "Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth."10 "...for he commanded and they were created." The Bible says that God formed the earth to be inhabited, with us in mind from the start. He gave people his breath of life and a brief stay upon the earth with the full purpose that we would seek him and find him. If we do not come to know him, we have missed the entire purpose for our existence. Who knows better than God the reason for our being? Do you want to know the Author of the universe? Here is what he promises, "Draw near to God and he will draw near to you."12 If we will seek to know him, God says, "I will be found by you."13 In fact, he states, "Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom. Let not the mighty man boast in his might. Let not the rich man boast in his riches. But let him who boasts, boast in this: that he understands and knows me..."