Simple Mathematics

Back in 2013, I wrote a book titled Reliable Truth: The Validity of the Bible in an Age of Skepticism. In an effort to get my hands around this whole issue of man’s first appearance in the world and what science can teach us about human life, I undertook a study on the history of the population of the world. After my initial survey of the resources available to me, I turned to the Population Reference Bureau. They work in conjunction with the United Nations and have produced a chart that purports to be an estimated history of the human population.

In 2009, there were 6.7 billion people on Earth. In 1974, there were 4 billion. In 1927, there were 2 billion, and in 1804, 1 billion. As we get down to around 1500, the report indicates that they cannot tell us much more—as this is just an estimate, it states that there were approximately 500 million people alive in the year 1500.


1500              500,000,000

1804              1,000,000,000

1927              2,000,000,000

1974              4,000,000,000

2009              6,700,000,000

You can see this doubling taking place. The concept of “doubling time” is the period of time required for a quantity to double in size or value. It can be used for such things as bacterial growth and population studies, compound interest and tumors. So, I decided to extrapolate backwards down the time­line. According to my estimate, it takes roughly twenty-eight doubling generations, as you go back in time, until you would eventually end up with just two people. That’s it.

So, the question is: Who were these two people?

The first option is that the first two people were created by God. Genesis 1:27 says, “God created man in His own image.”

You also see God’s ability to create through the life of Jesus. For example, Christ transforms water into wine at a wedding celebration. He takes a couple of fish and loaves of bread and created enough food to feed more than five thousand people. And then He approaches a man, Lazarus, who had been dead for four days, his corpse decaying, and He breathes life into him saying, “Come forth!” out of the grave.

So the first option to consider is the biblical message that God created the first man, Adam, and the first woman, Eve.

Of course, the second option is that two pre-human pri­mates, male and female, evolved over millions of years and be­came the “Cro-Magnons,” the first Homo sapiens.

Those are the two options.

While I was researching this information, there was this ca­veat attached to the Population Bureau’s study suggesting that the set of specific characteristics that define a human is “a mat­ter of definition.” It is open to debate over which members of early Homo sapiens should be considered human. Even if the scientific community reached wide consensus regarding which characteristics distinguished human beings, it merely would be to pinpoint the time of their first appearance as the fossil record is simply too sparse. This, of course, is no surprise.

Which raises, I think, the necessary question: When did the first Cro-Magnon man and woman go from being animals to being two self-aware human beings? When did they become de­signed in the image of God? When did they go from being an­imals to human beings that have souls? And, more importantly, when did they develop consciousness, an awareness of their self, and their individuality?

Over the years, I have always believed God initiated cre­ation, but I have been ambivalent about the Adam and Eve story. I always wondered if it was not some type of allegory.

However, over time, by faith, I have concluded that God su­pernaturally created Adam and Eve. I think it is very believable if God exists. It is also much more believable than the evolution account, particularly when you see there is no fossil record to support it. Finally, Adam is mentioned nine times in the New Testament.

However, there are a great number of men and women (such as scientist Francis Collins) who believe that God created everything in the beginning and life has evolved into what we see in the world today. It’s called theistic evolution, with God’s presence invested in each new life, in every generation from the beginning of time. I don’t believe this is the means God has chosen, but some Christians do. What we can all agree on, how­ever, is that we exist and God stands behind our existence, and as human beings, we reflect His glory.

Several times in my research, I encountered a scientist named James Tour. He’s a professor in the department of chem­istry at the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology at Rice University. He has a doctorate in organic chemistry from Purdue, and he has done post-doctoral work at Stanford and the University of Wisconsin. Tour is on the cutting edge of research in the molecular world and has written more than 140 technical research articles and holds seventeen U.S. patents. He says this:

“I build molecules for a living…I can’t begin to tell you how difficult that job is.”

In a speech several years ago, he described something he re­alized as he probed deeper and deeper into the awe-inspiring wonders at the molecular level.

“I stand in awe of God because of what He has done through His creation…Only a rookie who knows nothing about sci­ence would say science takes away from faith. If you really study science, it will bring you closer to God.”

Wherever we reach, from the smallest particle to the largest galaxy, from the alpha to the omega, in the room where we are reading these very words to the great natural world outside, we will find, if we seek, the fingerprints of an intelligent de­signer. Generations of brilliant men and women from the dawn of time have been led on this quest by the intimations of God in the details. The deep mysteries of life, of emotions, of love and death—all, perhaps, can be studied and broken down into smaller and smaller components by the scientific method, but in the process, the inklings of a creative force should always sur­prise us with awe and wonder.

Richard E Simmons III is the founder and Executive Director of The Center for Executive Leadership and a best-selling author.


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