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Should we not sing ‘So Will I (100 Billion X)’ because it mentions evolution?

So Will I (100 Billion X) is one of the stand-out songs from the ‘Wonder’ album by Hillsong United. In fact, it’s one of my all-time favorite songs from Hillsong. It’s beautifully written, and it includes this line:

And as You speak, a hundred billion creatures catch Your breath
Evolving in pursuit of what You said

I’ve seen a few questions posed around the internet (mostly in Facebook worship leader groups) about whether or not we should sing this song in our churches because it mentions evolution. Here’s my take…

First, a little background…

I’m a worship leader, and I’ve been involved in full time ministry for the past 10 years or so, but my educational background is in science. I double-majored in Chemistry and Biology in undergrad (I went to Tabor College, a Christian college), and I worked for years in research before moving into ministry. Furthermore my wife has a Ph. D. In microbiology and her work is in HIV research at the University of North Carolina. In a completely unrelated note, we’re Tarheel fans at my house, but deep down we root for the Oklahoma Sooners :).

So given my educational and professional background in both sciences and ministry, I probably look at these things a bit differently than many people, but science and faith do not need to be opposed to one another. In fact, I believe they support each other.

‘Evolution’ is a dirty word in evangelical circles, but it shouldn’t be…

‘Evolution’ is a buzzword that has been completely misrepresented by (and unnecessarily demonized by) the evangelical community. Simply, it means that a species changes over time in response to their environment. It has been proven over and over again through both scientific observation and experimentation.

The most well known experiment that proved evolution is real is Charles Darwin’s work on the Galapagos Islands involving finches. Darwin documented that the average size of the beaks of the finches changed over time in response to a change in the type of vegetation available on the islands. There was a drought, and the food became much harder to get to, so those finches will longer beaks lived (they could get to the food) while those with shorter beaks did not (they couldn’t get to the food). Over multiple generations, the average size of the beaks of the finches changed – evolved – to be longer.

Another note here is that a single organism cannot ‘evolve’ – it happens over generations, not in a single lifetime of one organism. Also – man evolving from apes is a theory based on evolution, not what ‘evolution’ itself means.

So what about the song lyric?

As a person who loves science (and has an educational background in it), I really resonated with this song, and that line in particular. I’m of the opinion that science and faith actually support one another, especially when those both in science and faith communities allow themselves to think about our physical and spiritual worlds with more of an open mind.

To me this line beautifully illustrates how the laws of nature are both set into motion by and in obedience to an all powerful God.

If we choose not to sing this song because it mentions something that we feel might be controversial – the word evolution – I fear we begin to go down a slippery slope. Christians are not called to bury our heads in the dirt and ignore things that challenge our faith.

I believe we should absolutely sing this song if it is one that you think your congregation will latch on to. If people do bring up the lyric involving evolution, it presents a unique opportunity to start a conversation about faith and science.

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37 Responses to Should we not sing ‘So Will I (100 Billion X)’ because it mentions evolution?

  1. Robin L. Feb 9, 2018 at 11:44 pm #

    This is one of the most beautiful, reverent, Christian songs I have ever heard. IMHO it is the modern-day equivalent of How Great Thou Art and Amazing Grace. There is no sacrilege, there is nothing here to fear. Controversy over these things is the work of evil and is not of The Holy Spirit. A word in a song foments dissension and our egos over trifling arguments that shouldn’t even concern us.

    God designed us to evolve and evolving means to grow and develop. We are human beings and we evolve from inception to death. As Christians, we know that we evolve to a life in Christ after death.

    How God created His original design, us, will be fully revealed to us when we are with Him. Science can’t ever disprove God no matter what we discover because God is by far and away, without measure or comparison, The Greatest Scientist of all. If we discover aliens does that mean God is not real? Of course, it doesn’t. If they exist they were made by God because EVERYTHING is made by Him. There is no reason to fear to learn and discover anything, ANYTHING!

    Nit-picking and stirring dissension where none belongs is basing our faith in legalism and not in the condition of our hearts. Christ was very clear that this was not His way.

    I love this song, I even love the name of it: So WIll I…it is inspired. For me, it raises my heart and fills me with wonder, humility, joy, and peace.

  2. Josh Feb 11, 2018 at 9:13 pm #

    If were beleaving that humans evolved from animals and animal evolved in to new species over some un known time this would clearly be un biblicle to beleave . God made the animales each acording to there kind. And God made man in his own imag . So i would ask the question when were takeing the idea of evoltion in to our beleafs adding them are you takeing this thoght from things lernd in the bible or the world .

  3. Josh Feb 11, 2018 at 9:17 pm #

    I agree with adaptation just not one species to anothere. look at the bible it seys god mad each acording to there kind

  4. Larry Necessary Feb 12, 2018 at 11:04 pm #

    I am surprised that a double major in chemistry and biology does not distinguish between adaptation and natural selection as opposed to evolution. The Darwin example used was adaptation not evolution. But I think you miss the point all together by not recognizing the implication of using the term evolving followed by in pursuit.
    It is a beautiful song that could use a change of words that would accurately reflect speaking out creation that was as intended at the moment the word was spoken.

  5. Bob Feb 14, 2018 at 7:43 am #

    Brian – thanks for your observations. some of the “technical” clarifications form posts really miss your point. I started a new astronomy program at the high school at which I currently teach. The amazing discoveries of the Hubble and the anticipated discoveries of The James Webb telescope are absolutely mind boggling. Now I’m somewhat opposite of you. I have 2 degrees in music and also a M.Div. from a theologically conservative seminary. I spent 10 years of my career in music ministry but am now teaching physics, engineering, and astronomy. (Weird, I know!) I’ve got to admit my mind occasionally wanders to questioning places regarding beginnings – this only reminds me to seek the truth in the word. I just turned on Pandora as I’m preppping my day and this song we sing in church came on. I decided to meditate on the words (in looking for the lyrics I found your blog). Thanks for your observations. The amazing dimensions of creation, dimensions of time and space, are not fathomable by our minds. But they sing the praise of God. I also feel that the “wooden” approach of some to creation do the Kingdom no favors. There is a convergence of scientific discovery and Biblical truth. It may be uncomfortable and challenge our ability to comprehend but then that is God – isn’t it? This doesn’t challenge the literal, historical, inerrancy of scripture. Only our ability to fit it all together.

  6. melissa Feb 16, 2018 at 11:01 am #

    I do believe in the literal 6 days of creation. I believe all God had to do is exactly what the Bible said He did, He spoke and it was and it was good. Not something that needed work. I do also feel that this song could have been awesome but it makes me even question them now as true believers. They mention evolution and that to me sounds like they believe it. It shouldn’t be in a Christian song, it shouldn’t be in our churches, it shouldn’t even be in our schools and that is because it is NOT in our Bible. This song is misguided and hopefully doesn’t also misguide others. The only way that Science and the Bible can be cohesive is when science doesn’t contradict the Bible. As a Christian, everything is held up to the Bible. Not the other way around. We must be careful not to question the Bible or God’s authority but man’s supposed authority. Such a shame really, the song could have been great.

    • Jeff Feb 19, 2018 at 12:34 am #

      Bless you. I think you’re missing the forest for the trees. You certainly don’t have to sing this song. But it’s so far removed from anything of “evolution” that it’s beyond comprehension that someone could feel it’s unbiblical. There isn’t a thing in the song that should worry you. Nobody believes this has anything to do with man evolving from apes, or whatever frightens you. The word discrimination is a word that can mean very positive things as well as negative.

      My goodness, be careful legalism doesn’t prevent you from entering into worship with this beautifully written song. Remember, God knows your heart.
      Better than you ever could.

      Take a look at the song again with new eyes. It’s all about God speaking and we humbly responding.
      Glory to God. 🙂

  7. Patrick J Sokoll Feb 16, 2018 at 3:19 pm #

    HI Brian

    I would urge you to please be careful choosing your words in light of your broad influence and voice. Wen you say “evolution is true”, there could be an assumption that you are in agreement with the “time + chance” theory of the formation of all things physical and living. The development of beneficial new genetic material or information due to time, chance or mutation has no basis in science. Genetic material is only lost or altered in micro evolution mutations, never added. macro verses micro, Natural selection verses the development of new species.

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