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

  1. Nick Jun 28, 2018 at 10:33 pm #

    I came across your blog post when doing a search of this song for a different reason. I actually never even picked up on the use of the word evolution in the song. Overall I think the lyrics paint a great picture of worshipping God in a mostly biblical way. I’m not a big fan of Hillsong in general. They write some solid and powerful music, but I don’t think a lot of their theology is Christian. That’s evident in a few of their songs, but mostly in what the church preachrs and who they associate with.

    The one thing I don’t like about this song, which is actually a common Hillsong concern, is the hint of man-centeredness in it towards the end. Some of the lyrics give an impression that because God can, did, or does, “so will I.” As if we are little gods who have the power to do all that Jesus did. That’s just bad theology.

    Anyway, just my observation!

  2. Ben Jul 3, 2018 at 12:26 pm #

    I think it is important that we are careful with this song because not everyone in the Church will understand the difference between what you mean as “Evolution” and ” A theory based on Evolution”.

    It is important that we take the Bible’s account of creation seriously because Jesus did (Matthew 5:17-18, 24:37-39, Mark 10:6). If we think it is okay to compromise on one of most important key

    bible accounts, we open the door to the idea that the Bible is not 100% “God Breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16 NIV) and therefore not 100% reliable. Check out this article by Answers in Genesis (a

    biblical apologetics organization regarding this very song (the link is posted below).

    https://answersingenesis.org/culture/hillsong-united-lyrics-and-evolution/?utm_source=articlesmedia&utm_medium=email&utm_content=1-banner-cta&utm_campaign=20180630&mc_cid=fb5edcca62&mc_eid=551f83ff58

    . As worship leaders/team members, we need to be responsible and careful with the messages/song lyrics we are leading or sharing with people as they can be taken the wrong way or

    at worst lead worshippers astray from Biblical truth . Luke 12:48b (NIV) says “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with

    much, much more will be asked”. In a world of darkness that is “post truth” (without absolutes) and is willing to believe in anything that just sounds good enough, let all Christians be bright lights

    that stand firm on the absolute truth of the Bible.

  3. Donna Jul 3, 2018 at 4:26 pm #

    I am in total agreement with you. Thank you for your intelligent rebuttal to some who choose to limit God. God is true science. Otherwise, He isn’t God.

  4. Patty Jul 8, 2018 at 3:46 pm #

    I do not believe this song is speaking of evolution as in the evolutional theory. They are speaking of evolving in the sense of pursuing God’s spoken word. They ‘evolved’, if you will, from God’s spoken word, not in the sense that atheists use the word. I could say in the over the 40+ years that I’ve walked with the Lord, I have seen my own ‘evolution’ of growth in His grace and knowledge which will never end in this life. It has nothing to do with me going from monkey to human. I see the spiritual evolution of the walk of the inmates at the women’s prison where I teach them from God’s Word. Please take into consideration that maybe you have misunderstood the meaning behind the lyrics.
    God bless
    Patty

  5. Theresa Andrews Jul 13, 2018 at 5:30 am #

    The example you provide of Darwin’s theory actually proved ADAPTATION – meaning that genes for longer & shorter beaks were already in these bird’s DNA, and those birds who got the “longer-beak” portion of DNA survived during famine. Evolution is actually systematic MUTATION, so that entirely new DNA is created. That’s how the theory goes – that fish mutated to reptiles, etc. While mutation does occur, and result is new DNA, scientific observation results that the vast majority of mutations result in such damage that the offspring is nonviable (unable to live). The odds that systematic mutation led to improved species just doesn’t hold – even over billions of years. But Adaptation does hold. I like what some worship leaders have done with “evolving in pursuit . . .” they sing “unfolding in pursuit” instead –

    • Mark D Ingham Jul 13, 2018 at 11:10 pm #

      Good clarification Theresa. Adaption is a proven fact. Macro evolution has not been proven. Joel Houston has come out with basically a Theistic Evolution defense of this song, and has been praised by the leaders of that movement, BioLogos, at least some of whom claim there was no Adam and Eve, but a population of humans that evolved. Brian, you sound fuzzy at best on this topic. It’s critical. Following Theistic Evolution often results in people losing faith in God. And no Adam and Eve creates a whole host of theological problems. Romans 5:17

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