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

  1. Jason May 13, 2018 at 8:45 am #

    This song is one of the best songs I’ve heard in a long time, and I almost never say that about Christian music. This song is a beautiful blending of science , artistry, and faith. It is beautifully crafted, and in the cesspool of mindless drivel that the Christian Music Industry has become we should be thankful to be able to claim such a beautiful work as “Christian.”

    • RaSmith Jun 5, 2018 at 2:52 pm #


  2. Judy Barnett May 28, 2018 at 8:00 pm #

    This song has touched me deeply. I pray many many Christians will consider the words with open hearts and minds.
    If you truly believe God created everything then you have to believe He created science!!
    Science has proven things evolve.
    What an awesome God we have!

  3. Erin May 29, 2018 at 4:22 pm #

    I just cannot escape this song and I mean that in the most beautiful way possible! This song just resonates in my soul and I have to hear it, every day, every hour, almost every second because it perfectly explains how we should be, how we should follow God. And I love how faith and science are interwined, because without either….we wouldn’t be here!

  4. Chinaza Jun 2, 2018 at 9:13 am #

    I am 💯 in support of everything sung in this song and it has been on repeat(literally) since I came across it two days ago. Poor me, I just came to know about the now but nevertheless, I’m grateful I did!
    For those disputing evolution, what about the serpent that was cursed in the garden of Eden to evolve from being able to talk and walk to crawl on its belly without limbs and evolution has proven that they actually have vestigial limbs.
    This song is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard and I’m privileged to be alive to hear it. God bless you, Brian and God bless Hillsong

  5. Dianna Jun 5, 2018 at 8:22 pm #

    God is so ingenious to bring about these open debates about Creation and everything is done in Gods time and as God is both Alpha and Omega without the restraint of time as we mortals judge our life span, then when God says days, how long is a Heavenly Day? So regardless if people are out there trying their whole life to prove Evolution is fact or that God is not real, they are used by God to bring this topic into discussion.

    • Philip Cole Jun 26, 2018 at 2:59 am #

      Dianna, how long is a “Heavenly Day” is not relevant. God defined His creation in terms of an “earth day” which was “And the evening and the morning were the first day.” The six 24 hour days of creation as stated in Exodus 20:11 “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” were for our benefit and knowledge, for God also said “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God” Exodus 20:11 verified the six day creation description in Genesis 1.

  6. Dianna Jun 5, 2018 at 8:26 pm #

    I have a cousin who says he is an Atheist and he spends more time talking on social media about God than I do… He seeks out every negative piece of literature or slogan he can find then posts it on FB! Instead of getting upset I can see God is working in his life because without realising he is proving God is real.

  7. Johanna Jun 5, 2018 at 8:34 pm #

    This song is indeed a well thought-out and written lyric to combine what God and Man know to be true. I see science basically as the expression of human inquisitive nature to prove personal ideas. Sometimes people write a theory based on opinion through their observation or experimentation to prove facts. I hope people of Christian faith and those who oppose the Bibles teaching can become more open to listen to each others views and if something is proven true… it should be thought of as a learning experience rather than who is right or wrong.

  8. Cory Jun 7, 2018 at 1:19 pm #

    First of all, I really enjoyed this song. I thought it was extremely beautiful and saw the value in the verses that are referring to evolution. I do not believe passionately for or against theistic evolution. I think it’s compatible with the Bible, I’m just not sure if I believe it or not. Regardless, I’m not convinced that it needs to be involved in corporate worship. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a song challenging a believer and calling them out of their comfort zone, but I do think there is something wrong if a song is distracting a worshiper from worshiping. If I’m singing a song that makes a theological statement I don’t necessarily agree with, it distracts me. This is not a problem when I’m singing the song in my car or something, but if I’m supposed to be worshiping with my church and fellow believers, there shouldn’t be any sort of hesitation because of a controversy. I don’t think “evolution” should be a dirty word, and it definitely should be something discussed with open minds, but I don’t think it’s something to be discussed in the middle of a worship song. Just my two cents. Still love the song, I just prefer it in a different setting.

  9. El Jun 8, 2018 at 9:43 am #

    Except..that’s not their meaning in the use of the word “evolving” (from one kind of organism to another over huge lengths of time). Rather they are using the word to depict the immediate process of formation of individual creatures that God literally spoke into being at the time of creation. Darwinian Evolution -as you speak of- is a long, slow, laborious process that necessitates death and destruction in its workings. God’s word tells us death came about only as a result of sin. If God used death in His process of creation (ie Darwinian evolution) and death existed before Adam and Eve sinned, then Jesus’ died for nothing. It’s bad science (contrary to your suggestion there is zero evidence for species-to-species “evolution”) and even worse doctrine.

    • Sarya Asaff Jun 11, 2018 at 2:44 pm #


    • Gabriel Jun 25, 2018 at 10:29 pm #

      Let me address something in your post: Regarding “It’s bad science (contrary to your suggestion there is zero evidence for species-to-species “evolution”)” That is absolutely wrong and bearing false witness against science and scientific evidence. Human being share over 180,000 endogenous retroviruses in our DNA with chimpanzees. These are not only the same virus (or retro-virus), but they are in the exact same location. There is phenomenal evidence for evolution from a common ancestor, and it is disingenuous to say that it is ‘bad science.’ We are not called to mis-represent things, even if we disagree. I fully admit that this is a challenging topic and many are very averse to it; but we are compelled to deal with facts and the facts, especially in DNA, are overwhelmingly in support of evolution from a common ancestor. Francis Collins, who is head of the human genome project, discusses the evidence for evolution in many of his interviews. I fully acknowledge that this is a difficult topic- but it’s time to stop being ignorant about the evidence for it.

      • Jan Hauck Jul 4, 2018 at 4:48 pm #

        But how many times has science been proven wrong, theories been falsified, scientists acknowledged that their theories are just that, theories.
        There is not evidence at all, looking at species, where they came from, where the common link should be. The common structure etc. of DNA should proof evolution? Sorry, for me it just proofs that all living creature have one creator in common, and not one ancestor.
        Btw who can proof that the earth should be 4.5 billion years old (according to evolutionists)? Who can comfirm that all scientific methods to define the age of something are valid tools, and aren’t fooling us? Exactly, no one.
        So please, don’t tell the world that evolution is fact, it’s not, you have to believe in the theory, in the same way you have to be in God, there is no proof of him.

  10. Valerie Bower Jun 8, 2018 at 9:05 pm #

    Thank you for this thoughtful post! When I first heard this song I rushed to look up the lyrics to confirm what I thought I’d heard. I was pleasantly surprised that they managed to work that line into such a beautiful (and popular) praise and worship song. Thank for identifying as both a Christian and a scientist. And thank you for shedding light on a sensitive topic!

  11. TJ Jun 9, 2018 at 10:25 am #

    Peter–you know not what spirit speaks from you…The world has offered the Church the Pill (literally), same-sex marriage, and evolutionary drivel, and the Church has swallowed it.
    This man is not speaking of evolution on the same terms as the Academic World. This man is speaking of Adaptation. Not Evolution. Placating to the World & parroting their jargon, mantras, and fodder, in order to not marginalize or discredit your own intelligence is self-preservation. I have heard enough Christians who believe in evolution preface with the words that they didn’t check the brain in at the door when they entered into Faith. Really???

    I checked mine in at the door the moment I entered Med School…because I was a Christian. I don’t know where my professors were coming from (although I knew where *most* of them were) but I was pretty sure My God and Father of All Reason & Truth (who got me in the door!) would be able to signal to me the fallacies & deceptions of a slippery-slope as the Holy Spirit guided me in my studies.

    Is He the God of Romans 5:12 or not?

    I am a physician. Kinda means I had kinda the same amount of education scientifically, as the wife in this article. When you factor in residency, maybe even qualified a teensy more than just an undergrad degree? I’ll let you all decide. I was working on my masters research when I got accepted to med school. My professor at the time was in collaboration with Stephen J Gould (that was a mind-blowing handshake with a contemporary Jewish Marxist & inventor of Punctuated Equilibrium). Perhaps the author has heard this name? I’ve been in conference with Lynn Margulis during the same time as my professor took me along with her everywhere. Perhaps you’ve not heard of Lynn? Carl Sagan was her ex-husband. Kind of the movers & shakers & authors of all the modern faulty theories to prop up (all the losing arguments) evolution. I have been present, and sat down in horrified disgust, feeling like I was in some Nazi-propaganda rally cheering on Hitler, to see all the afore-mentioned folks (Sagan had expired) Standing On Chairs in a Boston ballroom, Chanting “Long Live Darwin!” at the top of their lungs. I wondered if I’d be escorted out as an infiltrator, since I clearly had ‘ousted’ myself. But in their fanatical revelry & adoration of Darwin, I don’t think anyone noticed.
    I was mortified…My professor was Catholic and an evolutionary biologist which availed me to see where our leftist academia has orchestrated higher education to “enlighten us” (what did the serpent say?…you will be wise like God?) so that we can know better (than Him anyway) or at least look, smell, touch, taste of their fruit…And then forget all about that non-sense in that archaic black book full of myths & contradictions).

    I’m sticking with a mythological manuscript that seems to know how it’s all gonna end…and all the talking points the world is gonna use along the way.

    • Ramona Randall Jun 30, 2018 at 12:20 pm #

      i didn’t quite understand your statement. are you saying you disagree with Brian’s position about the song and that he’s promoting falsehood? Your words were very academic and I get being in school and recognizing fallacy as I have experienced the same thing studying theory in pursuit of my BA as Human Services major. what I saw was God’s word mixed with man’s flawed rational. My belief is that all falsehood is a twisting of God’s truth i.e. wickedness. When Brian gave the definition of the word evolution I could relate to it, for me it does not mean what man says it does based on his flawed rational of life evolving from something other than God, but that all of creation was made by God and it does change over time as we move through this life by the power of Christ the living word. Man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God and it is by that word we change. I am not a scientist, so I’ll ask hasn’t creation i.e. plants and animals, environment changed over time? Anyway, just a friendly convo. 🙂

  12. TJ Jun 9, 2018 at 10:37 am #

    PS–and I love this song for especially how it opens up this dialog with my children & young people to delve into scripture regarding what is the big deal with transitory genders, or same-sex marriage, or finding life on Mars, or stem-cell research. Great opportunity to examine whether we as Christians are living a life that squares with pop-culture, pop-psychology, pop-medicine, pop-science, pop-music, pop-religion, pop-health, pop-technology…or a life that squares with the Author of all Wisdom and His Word.

    I don’t love that it lowers itself to include such a menial mantra…and an internet article by some guy with an undergrad degree thankfully isn’t going to shake His Word or my confidence in His Word.

  13. Richie Jun 10, 2018 at 9:44 pm #

    I cried for the first time I heard it. This song speaks for me in worshipping God. Very heartfelt song, beautifully written. The composer did really meditate and carefully think about every words in this song that could describe what God has done. God bless you.

  14. Tj Jun 11, 2018 at 3:16 pm #

    Where do my posts keep going??
    100% percent agree with El.

    This author is speaking of adaptation. Evolution is completely in its own category and not to be confused.

    • ken Jun 16, 2018 at 9:15 am #

      It’s odd how things do change. It seems scientists has adapted new and more confusing language — though they have not evolved.
      My early education taught me that life evolved. “Evolution” was defined as a billion year process by which a simple life transformed into a complex life form. I learned that adaptation was a life form doing just that — adapting to new conditions. Food supplies vary. Climates change. Sudden disruptions follow cataclysms. All living creatures adapt! This is provable. I remember, well, the picture of the moth changing from white to black because of pollution levels in London. Yup. Provable.

      Evolution has not been proven.

      In talking with a fellow teacher a few years back (a science teacher), he pointed out to me that the word “adaptation” was no longer used. “Now,” he said, “it’s called micro-evolution.” “Hmm,” I thought, “What a nice subtle manipulation of wording.”

      All this to say, I don’t agree that God set up a system for creatures to evolve. I believe he set the creatures in order as they are today and that there were many many more varieties of them historically. I believe he created a system for these creatures to adapt to the conditions he would provide. They were also created to adapt to our needs. Dogs, horses, sheep, pigs, chickens, etc. were “force” adapted by humans. Please, give me one link that provides a clear example of any empirical study of provable, live, see-able, smell-able evolution. I look for them every so often but they fail to meet the criteria that science demands — empiricism.

      • Ransom Jul 4, 2018 at 3:57 pm #

        Ken, I think you’ve got the right idea. It’s not evolution, but adaptation. To mix up the words just confuses the issue because evolution can mean so many things. Thank you for explaining it clearly.

  15. Dorothy Anderson Jun 16, 2018 at 6:11 pm #

    Brian, I totally agree. But… while going to college for a degree is Psychology I was introduced to Physics. That opened up a whole new world and perspective. I’ve been a Christ follower most of my 69 years, but only in the last 16 have I developed a serious relationship with Jesus. That relationship makes me hungry for more of Him, so I totally agree that God and Science go hand in hand. Not just because God created Science as we know it, but I now have a theory on how God is literally in each of us and all of His creation.

    There was the “Big Bang” at which time, 13.7 billion years ago, a ‘singularity’ quickly expanded, forming atoms, which formed stars and galaxies. And we know that in 2 Peter 3:8 we are told “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”

    My theory is that when creation began, God , as the ‘singularity’ spewed forth His atoms, thereby creating stars and galaxies, etc. etc. etc. That is how God is literally in everything. Everything is His essence.

    Science has determined that atoms have a life span of more than 1025 (10 with 25 zeros after it) years, so for all practical purposes, atoms are forever”.1 And God is forever.

    And another interesting thought. “Your breath is about a liter of air, and thus about 1022 atoms. The atmosphere is about 1044 atoms. The breath’s atoms will be well mixed back into the atmosphere after something like 10 years. Then, any randomly selected atmospheric atom has about a 10-22 chance (1022/1044) of being from your breath.”2

    Those atoms are float around the globe being inhaled and exhaled. And since atoms live forever, the very atoms in the last breath of Jesus Christ are in everyone, believers and nonbelievers alike. God shows no favoritism. So put your prejudices and racism aside. It’s scientifically proven that everybody in the world, anything that breathes, is intertwined regardless of their color or ethnic background. We are breathing atoms from God and the Big Bang! I love the way God doles out bits of knowledge to scientists, just enough to keep them searching for Him.

    1.Jefferson Life: “How long is a life span of an atom?”

    2. Futurism: Estimations: Your Breath and Julius Caesar’s

  16. marie tess g.gomez Jun 17, 2018 at 10:26 am #

    i have long wanted to see a hillsong concert.but due to our finañcial standing only my daughter was able to go.when my daughter watch the hillsong concert here in the philippines she told me to listen to SO WILL I at the youtube..when i heard the song ..i couldnt help but opens my being so uncaring to what God has done and makes me realize that i as christian needs alot of changes in the way i serve our God.the way i worship and praise Him.Thank you Lord for giving wisdom to all who created and composed SO WILL I.MAY YOU CONTUNUE TO BLESS THEM IN ALL ASPECT OF RHEIR LIFE.IN JESUS NAME AMEN

  17. Cynthia Willis Jun 19, 2018 at 7:41 pm #

    Yes, micoevolution aka adaptation is something everyone believes in and is scientific. Macroevolution aka like fish becoming lizards etc. has not been scientifically recorded. In the case of Darwin’s finches, they developed different beaks, but they remained finches. That is adaptation or micoevolution if you will. To say that the changing of beaks could also prove the evolution of animals to people is not only unscientific but also fallacious. God in His incredible mercy has given every creature enough DNA so we can change to our enviroments. Because we are carnal in nature and easily deceived we must be careful when people contradict or distort God’s word to match what infallible men say. If you look for truth you will find it.

    • Dawn Jun 29, 2018 at 4:02 am #

      God of Your promise
      You don’t speak in vain
      No syllable empty or void
      For once You have spoken
      All nature and science
      Follow the sound of Your voice

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

      When I heard the word evolving in this song I took it not as in the Darwinian evolution or a physical change but a spiritual evolving. The billions of creatures catch God’s breath in an instant but their pursuit of God is a course, an ever evolving obedience to God’s will and so will I is in reference that I am this sinful creature who has rebelled against God but I will evolve or grow over time to be more Christ like, every day pursuing God more and more the way He created me to.

  18. Robert Lindley Jun 22, 2018 at 12:02 pm #

    It seems to me there are more applications of the word evolve than the theory of evolution. From the moment of “Let there be light” God intended to create time … the meaning I hear in this line of one of the most eloquent songs of faith in the modern era, is about time evolving from the first breaths taken by the creatures He created.

    We must avoid allowing words, other than evil, devil and lucifer, to be defined by those who are misbelievers and influencing our use of them. Many things evolve into other things … the message by the pastor evolved into a large group of people who were saved. My hobby evolved into a thriving business, etc.

    The Theory of Evolution, by Darwin, where he applies the concept of emitting or rolling as Webster defines evolution, to his own observations, most of which have been disproved by mans discovery of Gods code, we know as DNA, is not mentioned in this work by Hillsong.

    Therefore, we as Christians must take care to not be blown about by every wind of doctrine as we use words and term that have other meanings, as we find in words or phrases that have meanings that evolve or morph over time.

    God has blessed us with many wonderful things, most especially time, that brings about change in us or evolution of our thoughts.

  19. Randall Johns Jun 24, 2018 at 1:32 pm #

    Choose this day which master you will serve. Enough said.

  20. Philip Cole Jun 26, 2018 at 2:28 am #

    I have seen throughout the years that many church leaders do not understand the real definition of evolution. For instance, Brian Wahl, the worship leader at the Garner, NC campus of Newhope Church, stated in a blog that the Darwin experiment involving finches proved that evolution was real. He said he double-majored in Chemistry and Biology, as did I, and his explanation of evolution was “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”.

    Brian’s statement is a false one. What he has described is “natural selection”, a scientific principle that the evolutionists have tried to claim as one part of the evolution hypothesis. They have done this to try and make the false evolution hypothesis credible. It has led to many false beliefs in the Christian community. The “gap theory” is one of those false beliefs. It is a shame that these church leaders do not see the lies of satan at work. God told us how He created the heaven and the earth and the time frame (six days) in which He performed His creation. Church leaders need to believe the Bible and forget the nonsense of false science and its attempt to corrupt God’s Word. Don’t misunderstand me. I believe that good science has its place, however the evolution hypothesis is nothing more than bad science.

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