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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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63 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.

    • 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

  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?

    • 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.

  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. 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

  5. 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.

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

    What an excellent blog post Thank you!

  7. 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.

  8. 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

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