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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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88 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 .

    • Nate Mar 10, 2018 at 10:10 pm #

      Or my brother to illustrate your point you could spell right? Hard to take you serious.

  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 #

      Melissa,
      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.

  8. Maria Feb 23, 2018 at 8:48 pm #

    Hi Brian,
    My husband and I are worship leaders and I am currently studying my MSc. in Physics and my husband has a Ph.D. in Physics . Matter responds to frequencies.. and I can only think about the universe obeying God’s voice in the creation. 2 Peter 3:8.

  9. Stephen Agnew Feb 25, 2018 at 4:24 pm #

    Actually, the only evolution that has been proven is pre-programmed micro evolution. The evolution from one species to another has not been shown to be true. Please stop teaching false scientific theories to the Church that contradict Scripture, it leads people astray and dishonors the Lord and his Word.

  10. Harun Feb 25, 2018 at 11:59 pm #

    10,000 reasons was one thing, but 100 billion? I just can’t sing that over and over.. and then the “evolving” word… Isn’t Ken Ham Australian?

  11. Robert Feb 26, 2018 at 9:44 am #

    “So Will I,” is a beautiful song. I heard it for the second time at Church yesterday. We normally stand during praise and worship music but we had just had an announcement where we were seated when this song came on. People started to rise and I was one of the first because the song spoke to me. That’s something, because I am usually the last to (dutifully) rise in these cases. However, this song was very moving.

    The lyrics on evolution immediately caught my attention and I wondered if I was the only one to notice them. However, I also didn’t feel that the mention of evolution — especially commanded by God — was a contradiction to my belief. I have a bachelors of science and a doctorate. I have always been a science-minded individual. Evolution is factual and incontrovertible in the science world. However, like you, I have always found the two subject (God and Evolution) to meld well. God is the creator of all. He created the natural laws that we observe. And if it all reveals (His) nature, so will I!

    Thank you for sharing your stance on both a religious and a scientific platform. I don’t believe they must be exclusive.

  12. Jim Feb 27, 2018 at 2:16 pm #

    How to begin… I lead in a small church in rural Montana. My background in education and vocation is Forestry. I observe natural changes and genetic traits and celebrate creation. I also take scripture as inspired and therefore always, in all ways correct… Now re evolution as a term, it can be defined and debated and it can carry our thoughts in several directions. In our Church I have seen it taken to mean a contradiction of the scriptures, but here’s the thing Jesus didn’t come to save us from science but sin and to teach us to love God and each other. I have seen where some who are hungry to know God are turned away by a strict interpretation that brands evolution as counter to scripture. I came from a background of Judaism flavored with some new age mumbo, and when I came to know that Jesus was God it was first in my heart and then in stages in my understanding of scripture. If someone had implied I must believe in a six day creation I wonder if I would have come to Christ. I have a good friend who’s son left the faith in Bible school when pressed on evolution. (please pray for Daniel)… So back to the song, I feel that the addition of the lyric to this granted beautiful song, puts it in a category where it can lead someones thoughts away from God into realms of controversy, which is a shame, maybe even divisive. For myself I can love the song and want to play it, but for those who join me on Sunday I feel I need to sing something else. I wonder about the writers intent here, why was that one word needed? Then there is the issue of my Pastor and for all of us, this person should be the one who says yea or nae on something like this and in my case there is no need for me to ask … He would be troubled by the lyric. So I had my say… I wish all Gods riches blessings… And thank you for the great website it helps this feeble guitarist immensely.

    • Cliff Mar 23, 2018 at 11:42 am #

      Amen, Jim! I love science and think of it as a detailed description of how God accomplished His purposes; as opposed to the more general description found in Genesis. And I even love lively, but loving, debate on said topic. That said, it’s not worth it to me to “distract” the worshippers in my congregation in a devotional moment with content that takes their minds away into other thoughts. Plus, my pastor’s head would explode; so there’s that. 🙂

  13. Robby Mar 6, 2018 at 10:44 am #

    in the same way that we are not here by random chance, the lyric writers choose every word and note of the melody by design. they knew what they were doing by inserting such a charged word into a praise song.

    for most Christians singing this song along with the radio or in a worship service, the line might get lost in the music or the overall intention of the song. i love the song’s message and reminder for us to join in praise along with all of creation. as Jesus said in Luke 19, creation knows who made it and it will sing if we won’t. the song’s scope begins at genesis and leads to salvation–beautiful.

    however, by inserting this one word, the writers either intentionally or myopically pushed “theistic evolution” into the spotlight.

    throughout my professional career, i have studied a wide range of sciences including physics, chemistry, biochem, biology, astronomy, and many others. i have studied evolution of many kinds cosmic, chemical, biological, and even theistic–to name just a few.

    if you read the lyrics in question:

    “And as You speak
    A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath
    Evolving in pursuit of what You said
    If it all reveals Your nature so will I”

    it is clear that biological evolution is highlighted in this case. it also seems to point towards the writer’s support for theistic evolution–that evolution as typically described by many biologists is a system that is planned and directed (either just put in motion and then left alone or actively guided even to this day) by God.

    what’s at stake here is actually a more nuanced discussion than one line in a song can flesh out. there is a vast difference within biological evolution between macro-evolution and micro-evolution. one requires lots of faith and one has lots of evidence.

    i find that in any argument or discussion, faith is always necessary. for some people, a little bit of evidence is needed to convince them of a point. for some, a large amount of evidence is required and for others no amount of evidence will be sufficient. this is true of a court case, the loch ness monster, mac vs. pc, or your particular belief on evolution–for, against, or somewhere in the middle.

    the song also gives both God-curious and Christians who believe evolution to a spectrum of degrees a good song that they can sing wholeheartedly.

    i love science! i think it amazing that God has given us this methodology to investigate His creation. He has wired many of us to have a skeptical bent when examining what He has made. how many other praise songs have “science” in them? just this one, i think!

    while i won’t be singing that particular line of the song, i do welcome the healthy discussion that this song will spur. God will easily withstand our analysis.

  14. Karen Price Mar 12, 2018 at 8:47 pm #

    I happily stand in awe and wonder of everything our God has made. I don’t need to understand how, just that He did. And the fact that He made it for His children like me to study, to ponder, to enjoy totally blows me away. The creation story in the Bible simply tells me that God made EVERYTHING, including me, and I can’t really worry about how. Like I’d ever be able to understand anyway?

  15. Michael Mar 13, 2018 at 8:32 am #

    With all of the evolution chatter, I’m wondering why no one has landed on this doctrinal error in the song lyrics;

    And as You speak
    A hundred billion failures disappear
    Where You lost Your life so I could find it here
    If You left the grave behind You so will I

    Third line; I’m pretty certain based on teachings from Scrioture that Jesus did not lose His life, but He GAVE His life. What is baffling is that further in the verse the lyrics do say “gave Your life” so they’ve introduced a contradiction.

  16. Mike Mar 14, 2018 at 11:29 pm #

    Where are the potato chips at?… ahh here they are. Now to watch as we all burn each other over a song. Seriously, if you like the song and you agree with with it, then sing it play it, and do whatever else you want with it. If not then do the complete opposite. The word here is “Evolving” not evolution. Evolving is to develop gradually which does not implicitly imply in a biological or scientific way. What if instead this part of the song is referring how our faith or praise is evolving or developing into a STRONGER, DEEPER kind of faith and understanding of God. No where in the song does it reference how the word, “evolving,” is referencing how we will evolve biologically…. Well Thats it folks. I’m still gunna go grab the potato chips and watch what happens on this post. lol

  17. Dustin Frick Mar 15, 2018 at 11:31 am #

    This song should be titled “Were Science Left Off”. Love it!

  18. Richard Mar 16, 2018 at 7:53 am #

    I sang this song for the first time in my church yesterday and loved it… until the verse “evolving” came up and distracted me for the rest of the service.

    If you are considering using this verse in your worship service, please be aware that it may be a unwanted distraction, as it was to me.

    I personally believe theistic evolution (God killed billions of creatures over millions of years before Adam sinned) is both bad science and bad theology. If this is an doctrine your church holds, this would be an appropriate song to sing.

    All honor and glory belongs to Jesus. As we lead others in praise, every word should align with his Word, as your community of faith understands it.

  19. Cheryl Pocock Mar 18, 2018 at 2:23 pm #

    When I heard this for the first time, I took the meaning to be of the creation moment when God created all the animals, all at one moment,the birds, fish, and animals on land. In one single moment. Nothing to do with evolution or adaptation.
    Maybe someone should ask the author of this song what was meant in their words and not speculate or assume that it is evolution.
    This song is about how creation was designed to praise God.

  20. Thomas E. Fosko Mar 20, 2018 at 8:15 pm #

    The Bible simply starts with “in the beginning.” I may believe the oddball theories, but if you consider all the physical evidence of the “big bang,” and other physical evidence that supports some form of evolution, we may indeed be facing a situation where science and the Bible actually agree – 100%. Not to start a large controversy, but enough evidence exists in both places to allow the singing and playing of songs that MAY disagree with older ideas. Just a though. Don’t forget though, God always views you just as righteous as Jesus, even if you chose an incorrect song. You are righteous!

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