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The Farm at the Center of the Universe

by Guillermo Gonzalez and Jonathan Witt
2024 / 167 pages

An astrobiologist has written a young adult novel with an Intelligent Design agenda, so the obvious questions are:

  1. Can he tell a good story?
  2. Does he honor God?

The answer to question #1 is yes, definitely, and to #2, no, or at least not nearly enough.

While the story doesn’t quite stand on its own, it’ll grab anyone who has even the least bit of interest in learning about atheistic evolution’s shortcomings. That’s why every Christian teen should read this before they finish high school – undirected evolution is one of our culture’s big lies (with fruit like euthanasia, abortion, homosexuality, etc.) so our students need to be ready to contend with it before they head to university or the workforce. And this novel format transforms what could have been a dry, dusty, academic debate into a much easier read.

As the opening chapter begins, Isaac and his older cousin Charlie are driving to visit their grandparents’ farm for a week. Isaac is a teen who wants to know why God let his dad die from cancer. Charlie is in his twenties, and is also Isaac’s science teacher (that’s what can happen in a small town) and he’s a tough love type, heavy on the tough. As a Darwin devotee, he tells Isaac that his dad’s death is proof there is no God, just an uncaring universe.

But it turns out Grandpa is not only a more sympathetic listener, he’s also a retired chemistry professor who has his own thoughts about how the universe came to be. He introduces Isaac to the “book of nature,” which gives all sorts of hints as to what happened in the distant past. And he also highlights how brilliant design gives evidence of a Designer. This is both the book’s strongest point and its weakest: it absolutely blows up evolution, but doesn’t offer the true, biblical, six-day alternative.

Still, it is a very helpful read, and fun too, especially when Grandpa debates Charlie. But Isaac isn’t sure exactly who he is rooting for.

“Part of him wanted Grandpa to be right about a Creator and Charlie to be wrong. Isaac didn’t want his dad’s death to just be random. If it were random, then there wouldn’t even be a God for Isaac to be angry at for letting it happen. But another part of him saw the attraction of his cousin Charlie’s view. The idea of a God so powerful He could create things like these microscopic machines that filled his body, but Who hadn’t even intervened to help his dad, was oddly frightening. It was almost easier to just ignore a God like that – insist He isn’t out there. The silent treatment. Punish Him for letting good people die. And, after all, maybe just maybe, there really wasn’t a God and he could just forget about all the hard questions.”

That highlights some of the book’s depth in raising the “problem of evil.” Though it is a theological, rather than scientific objection, it is one evolutionists will frequently raise: if a good God exists, why does He let bad things happen? But this also highlights why this isn’t a book teens should read alone, because the objection goes largely unanswered. Isaac rightly notes that his feelings have no impact on whether or not God exists. That’d be a scientific answer to this objection, and a good one to have in hand.

But teens should know the biblical answer too, as God gave it to Job, or as Paul teaches in Romans 9:20-21: “Who are you, a human being, to talk back to God?” And this answer needs to be understood in the context of this same God sending His Son to humble Himself and die for us. He has shown He is loving, so while we don’t understand all He does, we do know we can trust Him. That’s an important point, but one parents will need to provide. (Greg Koukl approaches the problem of evil from another direction with his helpful “problem of good.”)

As Grandpa and Charlie continue with their back-and-forths, it gives them both a chance to pitch the arguments for and against Intelligent Design. I’ve followed this debate for decades, and I think this fiction format allows for one of the most concise, clear, and devastating evolutionary takedowns I’ve read. One of my favorite bits is when Isaac is worried his Grandpa might be exaggerating a bit, when he says the cell is like a miniature factory, because, after all, factories “were massive, complex buildings filled with machinery and workers who built things like cars and trucks and Grandpa’s tractor.” Grandpa’s response?

“…you’re half right. Calling a cell a factory isn’t quite accurate…. It’s not quite a good comparison because I’m giving too much credit to man-made factories. A cell is more like, how can I put this? A factory that builds factories that builds factories. Or a robot that builds robots thats build robots. Do you know any man-made factories that do that?”

Despite Charlie’s best efforts, the legs are kicked out from under his Darwin idol.


But what’s left standing in its place? Grandpa briefly gives a nod to the Bible, reading from the opening four verses of Psalm 19 about how “the heavens declare the glory of God.” But he never addresses the opening chapters of Genesis. Grandpa doesn’t believe in unguided evolution, but it becomes clear he also doesn’t believe that God created in just six days.

The problem here is akin to the situation we have with a Jordan Peterson or even a Pierre Poilievre. In our blind land, these one-eyed men see so much better than most. But they are still seeing only half as well as they could. The book of nature that Grandpa appeals to offers him only hints and clues as to the reality and nature of God, but God has revealed Himself much more clearly in another book, His Word. If only Grandpa was willing to rely on the clearest of the two books, instead of leaning on his own understanding (Prov. 3:5-6).


While every Christian teen should read this, none of them should read it alone.

They should read The Farm at the Center of the Universe because of how it makes quick work of atheistic evolution. It’ll prepare them for many of the attacks a university prof might muster.

But while evolution-toppling accounts for about 99 percent of the novel’s contents, there is also 1 percent that misdirects by leaving open the possibility that God could have created over billions of years. Are the authors proposing some sort of theistic evolution? That’s never clearly stated, but it needs to have been ruled out. And since Farm is targeted to teens that 1 percent of misdirection shouldn’t be overlooked. Teens should read it, but with a teacher or parent alongside.

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Science - Creation/Evolution

Is creation worth fighting about?

Billions of years, or just six days, do we need to care?   ***** Does it matter? Of all the questions in the creation vs. theistic evolution debate, whether the debate even matters may be the biggest, and more important than how long it took, what method God used, or how to understand the opening chapters of Genesis. Christians understand we shouldn’t bicker with our brothers and sisters over minor matters – Jesus told us: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9). God doesn’t want us to make big out of little. He doesn’t want us to be quarrelsome, nitpicking all sorts of fights. However, God also warns against making little of big. There is a time and place for fighting, and we mustn’t be like the watchman on the wall who saw the danger coming and stayed quiet (Ezek. 33:6-8). It is a con to say “peace, peace” when war is at the door (Ezek. 13:10-16, Jer. 6:14). Now, in the creation vs. theistic evolution debate, there are a lot of Christians who aren’t prepared to pick a side. They aren’t loyal to 6 days or billions of years, perhaps believing they need a theology or science degree to be qualified to take a stand. They don’t want to be forced to pick one team over the other. However, when the question is “Does this matter?” then not picking a side is still picking a side. Refusing to choose is only legitimate if this is no big thing. So is it really no big thing… or is it huge? To answer that question, let’s look at both sides. Side 1: Who matters more than how Among the “can’t we all get along” folks, the focus is on just how much agreement there is between 6-day creationists and theistic evolutionists. Both acknowledge the God of the Bible as our Creator. We all agree He made us, and that His creative genius is evident in the whole of the astonishing universe around us. Whether we’re looking at the Sun that warms us from 150 million kilometers away, or the chubby toes of our newest grandbaby, we’re all in awe of what He hath wrought. And isn’t that basis enough for fellowship? The argument here is that Who did it matters much more than how He did it, or how long He took. Who matters more than how. As long as Christians all give God the credit, then isn’t everything else incidental? Side 2: How tells us all about Who On the other side there is a ready concession that Who does indeed matter more than how. After all, God matters more than His creation. But how He started it all isn’t incidental. It matters too, because how God chose to create reveals God’s character. How He created tells us about Who God is. So yes, both sides agree it is the God of the Bible who created, but that isn’t as significant as it might first seem. Consider the Muslims, who also declare that the God of the Bible created. And they say their Allah has no Son. That means their biblical creator god, isn’t actually God. Orthodox Jews worship the God who created, but deny Jesus is God. Mormons worship a biblical god who created and even has a son…but he also has a wife. And his son is said to be the brother of Satan. Their creator god is not our Creator God either. It is possible, then, to worship such a distorted image of the biblical Creator that you aren’t actually worshiping God at all. This issue is that big. The argument here is that how God created is an issue worth investigating because, in His chosen means, God is teaching us about Himself – God reveals Himself not only in His Word but also in His creation (Ps. 19:1-4). As Paul puts it in Romans 1:20: “…His invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.” The how matters because it tells us all about Who. What do the two creation accounts tell us about God? What then, do the two different creation accounts teach us about God? Creationists worship a God whose power was such that He spoke into existence something from nothing, and made a universe appear in just 6 days. Thus the famed chicken and egg dilemma is no dilemma at all for creationists, who know the chicken sprung into being fully formed on Day 5. And while pagans worship the Sun, God showed His great power by creating light (Day 1) before even creating a light source (the Sun on Day 4). Both marriage and the two sexes, male and female, were created in this 6-day period. God affirmed again and again that what He made was “good” and, upon completion on Day 6, even “very good.” What is good? The perfect sinless world was good. And it was good, not only as it was on Day 6, but even as it was being made through Days 1-5 – God found the process good too. Creationists know that death appeared as a result of Man’s disobedience – we broke the world. But there is hope; this enemy, death, has been conquered by Christ’s perfect obedience. And it is through Jesus that the world will be made good once again. The god of theistic evolution took billions of years to form the universe. During that process neither the chicken nor the egg was first: they were preceded by millions of years of incremental evolution that necessarily involved a red-in-tooth-and-claw, survival-of-the-fittest, where the weak were killed off and the strong went on to breed. Death didn’t simply precede Man’s fall into sin, it preceded Man by millions of years. And rather than being the enemy, death was a key tool in God’s creative work. Marriage and gender weren’t always so, but evolved at some point, and who knows but that they may be evolving still. And it is this eons-long process of constant change – with its refining diseases, innumerable mutations, repeated disasters, and, yes, death, death, and more death – that God was calling good and very good in the opening chapters of Genesis. The implications extend to the present, where creationists can turn to Scripture for guidance on issues like homosexuality, marriage, and gender confusion. We can learn what is best for men and women by seeing how God made us at the beginning. But if we evolved, and that process was good, why couldn’t we be evolving still? Our forebearers, when once they were single-celled, weren’t divvied into two genders – that only came later. So if we could go from none to two genders, why can’t we evolve new additions like ze and zir? And why would we presume that marriage has to be between just the first two genders? What answer does theistic evolution have to the craziness of our age? Does theistic evolution present a false god? Thus the god of theistic evolution bears little resemblance to God of the Bible. But does that mean theistic evolutionists are without hope? Are they worshipping a false god? Thankfully, it is not our brilliance that saves us, but God’s grace. And that’s why, even as some theistic evolutionists worship a god of their own invention, we can hope and pray and expect that many others still worship the true God, though in their inconsistency. They might say they believe in billions of years of death, but their faith is still in the God who declared death an enemy and conquered it. They may doubt the accuracy of some of Jesus’s words – how he spoke of a literal Adam and Eve created in the beginning (Mark 10:6, Matt. 19:4) – and yet cling to His promise that there are many rooms in His Father’s house (John 14:2). They may mangle the first few chapters of Genesis, but then take God at His Word for the whole of the rest of the Bible. That doesn’t make this any less of a big deal. Over a lifetime people do work out their inconsistencies. Many theistic evolutionists will either come to acknowledge God’s Word as authoritative from beginning to end, or they’ll subject the rest of God’s Word to further review and revision by outside authorities. It’s no slippery slope fallacy to say that if you scratch a professing Christian who’s pro-choice or LGBT-affirming, underneath you’ll find an evolutionist. Conclusion Like Allah, without a son, the god of theistic evolution offers no hope. In seeing billions of years of death as good and very good, what need would such a god even have to send his son to die for us? Thankfully, the one true God did send His Son, so we can have not only hope but an assurance that our sins are paid for, death is defeated, sickness will end, and all of creation will be redeemed. The creation debate isn’t one any Christian can avoid – it is of the first importance, because it is about Who God is....