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

  1. Harry Mar 30, 2018 at 2:53 am #

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

    This reference is to creation and not evolution itself.
    Don’t take the word evolving in its scientific context but the change that caused man to be created from dus,t and the breath of God that breathed life into everything.

    Spiritually we are evolving into becoming more like Jesus and less of us.

    God bless.

    • Pam Apr 4, 2018 at 9:58 am #

      Agreee

    • Lee Apr 19, 2018 at 4:54 pm #

      Exactly my take Harry. It’s a literary term not a science term. As in this is a song not a biology thesis

    • Jonah May 1, 2018 at 11:10 am #

      Harry,

      Spiritual evolution, if such it should be called, shouldn’t be compared to the physical act of evolving, e.g., growing a longer beak to eat and survive. I think we’d have to agree a basic definition of evolve is change, gradual, incremental, occurring over time.

      What source would we look at to suggest there was an evolution of God’s creation? We have to rely on what Brian refers to as science or some historical reference, alas, the Bible. While I admit, science and the Bible work together, such is not the case when we simply refer to Darwinian evolutional theories as “science”. In fact, Darwin’s work has always, and continues to draw both ecclesiastical and scientific criticism.

      In the creation events of Genesis 1 and 2, we see the creation of beasts, fish, plants, etc. Then with detail, man in Genesis 2:7, receives the quickening “breath of life”. All of the language in 2:7 speaks of the state of being alive not evolving. I don’t think assuming the songwriter means there was an evolutional change from dust to the life of man was his intent and if it was, it would appear to take a staunchly nontraditional view of the creation of man.

      Granted, I’m the odd man out in this thread supporting both the song and the idea God sparked an evolutional process amongst His creation

    • Amanda DesJardins May 9, 2018 at 5:03 pm #

      Exactly!! To evolve means to change gradually…an infant gradually changes to an adult, same with animals. A seed gradually changes into flower or tree…I think we read to much into things.

  2. Levi Magruder Mar 30, 2018 at 9:03 pm #

    what about in the last chorus when it says I can see Your heart Eight billion different ways Every precious one A child You died to save and in the outdo where it says your the one who never leaves the one behind? Do you believe that the entire population are children of God?

    • Gay Sagabaen Apr 4, 2018 at 6:52 pm #

      I think what the last chorus meant is encapsulated in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, what He gave His only Son. That who should ever believes in Him shell not parish, but have eternal life.”

      “Every precious one a child You died to save” meant every child born into this world (all eight billion of us) is precious in God’s eyes, so precious that He even gave His only Son.
      So it means that salvation is open to all, but only when we will believe in Jesus and what He did on the cross.

    • Mosha Apr 4, 2018 at 9:16 pm #

      I agree that every human in the world is a child of God. Whether we choose to love him or not, his love stays the same for us. So no matter how astray we go, God is still right where we left him waiting to accept us(His children) again.

    • Antony Manago Apr 10, 2018 at 6:45 pm #

      The Bible says we were all made in the Image of God the imago dei. Therefore, whenever I look at another person, I can see God in them, because we were all made in His image. So yes, in that I say we are all children of God, many are just wayward sons and daughters.

      • Bryan May 23, 2018 at 11:45 pm #

        You might want to try reading the bible to form the basis of your opinions. For Mosha and Manago, the only people who are children of God are those who were adopted through His Son. All other humans are children of the devil. See 1 John 3:10, John 8:42-45, Ephesians 1:5, etc…

  3. Joel Mar 31, 2018 at 2:11 am #

    I’m researching about the song until I found this blog. I never thought that this will help me get some answer to the question I just let my faith talk about it. Talking about evolution and with the some experimentation and research I can say that I believe on it, but when I think of a man came from ape, that is the time I just say to myself that it is a God’s wisdom that I can fathom so I just leave that question around and believe that God created me.

    With such explanation, I’ve learned that it is OK to question around, to talk about like this sensitive topic.

    As for the song, when I heard it, I thought, Hillsong want to say that everything happen in God’s will including evolution.

  4. Greg Apr 1, 2018 at 10:28 pm #

    You’re clearly a fucking tool bag idiot if you profess Christ and evilution as biblical cohesion.

    • Jim May 6, 2018 at 1:19 pm #

      Ouch.

    • Steve May 13, 2018 at 8:38 pm #

      How does calling someone a “f—-ing tool bag idiot” gel with calling yourself a Christian?

  5. Pam Apr 4, 2018 at 9:56 am #

    I think there is nothing wrong with it as it glorifies God in his creation. We just overthink about the lyrics. Let go of those too many SCIENCE facts…instead be free to praise God for everything. If you dont agree with the song…then just dont sing it. Dont complicate too much stuff..make your life easier and breathable…

  6. La He Apr 4, 2018 at 12:29 pm #

    Amen Brother! Preach it!!! 🙂

  7. Vanessa Meyer Apr 10, 2018 at 10:16 pm #

    My problem with this song has to do with the word “if”

    • Timothy Olubusoye Apr 24, 2018 at 9:31 am #

      I am not an English Professor, but I guess “If” in this context should be understood as “Since”… Philosophers and Mathematicians (Which I am 😉 ) use this to argue and proof statements logically, since an earlier statement A holds, then B automatically follows.. It should not be understood as IF, (a probable statement. Blessings

    • Jim May 6, 2018 at 1:20 pm #

      You worry too much.

  8. LBH Apr 11, 2018 at 9:46 pm #

    Do we even know if that was the original intent of the songwriters? Even if it is, I see no problem with it. But really, you can evolve not only biologically, but spiritually and in maturity. We can pursue righteousness in light of his teachings and words in the Bible and continue to evolve as Christians. Which was honestly my initial interpretation of this line even though I also have a science/biology background as well. The fact that it can be argued as both is part of the beauty and art of excellent song writing. Much ado about nothing, I think. This is an amazing and well thought out song that is not only absurdly, poetically, beautiful–But solid in its narrative in bringing full circle creation, salvation, and redemption and what our response should be to his majesty, justice, and love.

  9. Holly Johns Apr 13, 2018 at 10:43 pm #

    What an excellent blog post Thank you!

  10. PJ Freeman Apr 15, 2018 at 3:16 pm #

    The example of Darwin’s finches demonstrates micro evolution not macro evolution. Probably better not to throw a divisive issue into the faces of God’s people.

  11. Eliana D'amore Apr 16, 2018 at 7:02 am #

    Haha some evangelicals are just ignorant…Evolving word doesnt mean evolution but is a way to express the process of doing what Jesus said and the word of God says …believe me im not even english and understood straight away what it means…that because of the Holy spirit …some people have not revelation through the Holy spirit

  12. Brad C Apr 17, 2018 at 6:19 pm #

    Can’t resist diving into shark infested waters 🙂

    First, it’s not my favourite song anyway, so I don’t have much personal stake in it. Apologies to those who love it … no offense intended.

    My bigger issue is that the song writer has made it an issue, whether intentional or not. This is actually something that bothers me. It’s ironic that in an age where “cultural relevance” (and it’s sibling, “cultural sensitivity”) are crucial, that a song writer would even put the word “evolving” into a song intended to be marketed for corporate worship (yes, I said “marketed” – don’t kid yourself). Knowing the controversy in the evangelical world on this issue (and what side I’m on is irrelevant to the point), why bother?

    Possible motives: (1) The writer is trying to sneak theistic evolution into worship, even if under the guise of plausible deniability (“if it goes wrong, we’ll just point out that “evolving” has other possible meanings”); (2) The writer is culturally unaware and has no idea they’re stirring up controversy; (3) The writer is culturally insensitive and doesn’t care that they’re stirring up controversy; (4) The writer was just lyrically lazy and threw in the first word that fit without really giving it much thought. Any other possible motives? Please enlighten me.

    If it’s (1), so be it – just be honest about it. Don’t hide behind word games – that’s lack of integrity, and out place in worship writing.
    If (2) (3), or (4), I humbly suggest that we songwriters can do better.

    I probably won’t use this song for other reasons, so it doesn’t really matter to me. But I think songwriters who write for corporate worship need to be very culturally aware of what they’re doing. And I think churches need to expect that and call the writers on it when they get lyrically lazy. I have attempted song writing, so I have full empathy for songwriters and how difficult it is to write a song that pleases everyone (or even one that you’re fully satisfied with). But, certain controversies just aren’t worth the ink, and that’s kind of how I feel about this song. It didn’t have to be this way … but …

    • Sam Corlett Apr 29, 2018 at 7:16 pm #

      I agree. I can’t worship during this song because it implies theistic evolution.

      • George May 5, 2018 at 10:03 pm #

        Completely agree with your assessment here.

  13. Joe Apr 18, 2018 at 9:11 am #

    I felt that the line about evolution – in a song about CREATION – is a pity as it ruins what would have been a great song.
    It robs glory from God. In essence it says God did not create everything – but that it randomly evolved.
    Evolution in not mentioned or inferred once in scripture, but God as the CREATOR is stated over and over in just about every book of the Bible. It seems popular worship is becoming more and more what suits the world’s view on creation and not a biblical one.
    John 1:3 Through Him all things were made, and without Him nothing was made that has been made.

  14. D. 4Tay Apr 25, 2018 at 12:47 pm #

    Two weeks ago I lead my congregation in a ‘response’ using the lyrics from ‘So Will I’

    I replaced every instance of “If” with the word ‘Since”, my preference, and I replaced “Evolving” with the word “Unfolding”, my preference. I believe like Spock, from Star Trek,: “That the universe will unfold as it should.”

    At each instance, in the song where “So Will I” is used, I had the congregation respond with, “And So Will I”.

    My apologies to Hillsong, if needed.

    -D4Tay

  15. Joe S May 2, 2018 at 10:01 pm #

    It’s really sad that Hillsong made such a beautiful song to glorify creation, and then they ruined it by giving the glory to atheistic naturalism. I find it ironic that the guy in the video above admits that he is not an expert in either science or theology, and yet he was chosen as the spokesperson for this topic. He should stick to making music. His understanding of science and theology is extremely lacking in my opinion. First of all, he adamantly proclaims that evolution is a fact, and he gives examples such as the Galapagos Island finches as “proof” for his evolution. The example of the Galapagos Islands finches is not evolution, but natural selection. Most of Charles Darwin’s book (Origin of Species) was dedicated to similar examples of natural selection (small changes within the original created “kinds” or families or orders of animals). It wasn’t until the end of the book, that Darwin professed his belief (yes, belief not observation) in a “theory” of evolution. The theory of evolution is a belief that ALL living organisms share a common ancestor, and it attempts to provide an explanation for the ORIGIN of ALL living organisms without the DIRECTION OF GOD. This song sadly takes the glory of creation away from God and I am very disappointed that a song that should be giving the glory to God is instead giving the glory to theistic evolution.

    • George May 5, 2018 at 10:24 pm #

      Nice “adaptation” (or should I say “evolution”) of the song. Biblically “if” with “since” is much more accurate. “Unfolding” is an improvement but not quite perfect.
      Hard to believe but I too wonder if the writer was simply sloppy and lazy?

  16. Puppet on a string to the Grand Puppet Master May 5, 2018 at 2:21 am #

    For the love of God most high folks, it’s sad when we listen to all of the uplifting words/lyrics in this amazing God felt song that the word ‘evolving’ bring us down. When you are listening to all the emotion/heart in the young man’s voice:( He is not using the E word in a incomprehensible way but using it as growth. We evolve/grow into God’s love, we are not formed. God love anyone’s heart that questioned the E word in this heart felt song, God all the Glory:)

  17. Jay M May 8, 2018 at 8:05 am #

    Everyone needs to check out a book called Darwin’s God. The thesis of the book is that Darwin was following a centuries old trend of Theodicy, trying to protect God from appearing to be the author of evil. The basic premise of such a thought pattern is “If I were designing this particular creature or plant, I would not have done it this way,” and causes us to perform numerous mental gymnastic exercises to “protect God” when He probably does not need protecting. Thorns on rose bushes or cactus, fangs that can tear flesh, excessive seed production and many others have all been put forward as possibilities of something that a good God could not have created. So evolution was considered one possible way to protect God rather than eliminate him from the equation. But again, maybe God does not need protecting?

    Also the underlying premise may also be false, that everything we see in nature today is how God designed and planned it. Even Jesus taught us to pray “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” which basically implies that at least some things on earth are not in God’s will and He created us to pray and invite Him in to a restorative process. Eventually God hits the cosmic Reset button and creates all things new. So yes on adaptation (perhaps a good God designed creatures with the ability to adapt to a changing environment?) but also on a view that suggests that as we approach the return of Christ, things are getting worse not better. But no on a view of creation and adaptation that possibly eliminates God from the role of creator. Common genetics could either apply a common ancestor or a common source of the software of life (not reinventing the wheel with each new creature created?).

    Also on long age vs short age theories, is it possible that a God who creates perhaps created some things before he created life on planet Earth? To believe that we are the first thing that God ever created seems a bit egocentric I would think. Sort of like the thought process suggesting that the Sun revolves around the Earth and considering our planet as the center of creation?

  18. Bob May 8, 2018 at 11:59 am #

    I love this song to bits. To always on a loop. Thanks to the authors of the song. http://www.livingvibes.com/

  19. Gina May 8, 2018 at 4:52 pm #

    Greg, you are clearly not a Christian if you can speak that way to another child of God. But Jesus loves you just the same!!!!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Hillsong United’s “So Will I – 100 Billion X” – Persuaded Parents - May 2, 2018

    […] visited a website (https://www.worshiptutorials.com/blog/should-we-not-sing-so-will-i-100-billion-x-because-it-mentions&#8230😉 that not only included all the song’s lyrics, but also included a video asking the question […]

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