Evolution, Creation and Christianity

I got another great question from Nelson who had previously asked about Sex, Gender and the Bible. I must say some good questions all around. So here goes.

How do you respond to someone who asserts that it is impossible to believe in both evolution and creation?

First, let me define terms. By evolution, I am referring to the belief that species adapt and change over time and according to natural selection may become different species. By creation, I am referring to the belief that God created all things from nothing.

Both non-believers and deeply committed Christians may believe that evolution and creation are compatible or that they are incompatible. There is certainly not consensus among Christians on this issue.

I do not believe that creation and evolution are incompatible. I believe that God created all things, but do not rule out the possibility that God may have also created evolution as a part of the goodness of creation. I think that the beauty of creation is evidence of God’s work with or without evolution.

For me the question of compatibility or incompatibility of evolution and creation is not the core of my Christian faith. I would suggest that you first engage people in conversation around the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and what this means for your life as a way of shifting the conversation from the the perceived conflict of evolution and creation

God is big. Bigger than the boxes that we construct.

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4 thoughts on “Evolution, Creation and Christianity

  1. I agree that I see no incompatability – In fact I think you can make a strong case that the progress of the first creation account (We do well to remember there are two and they don’t lay things out in the same order) – but the first one follows pretty closely along the path that the evolutionary theory lays out. First light, Then atmosphere, then life in the water, then on land, then humanity etc. I think its pretty amazing – or perhaps supernatural that the ancients would know such things without any sort of scientific method or worldview. I think there are only two possible reasons why they could have been so spot on when it came to the order we have discovered through the Scientific Method. One – they were dropped off by aliens who had scientific knowledge at some point, or Two – it was made known to them through revelation.

    Now as for Evolution itself – I personally lean toward its coherence – but I’m also deeply aware that there are still a tremendous number of “Faith Leaps” one must take – especially when it comes to macro level transformations. Also – I am aware that the underlying philosophical framework which produced the lenses by which Darwin and others have made there assumptions (Namely Hegalianism/and Materialism) have been widely discredited by the events of history (Namely the rise and fall of Facism, Nazi’ism, and Communism). Given this dis-integration I am interested to see the result of a postmodern “Critique” of the theory. I don’t anticipate it being overturned – but being significantly reformulated.

  2. It seems to me the place where evolution and the doctrine of Creation come into conflict is when people assert that evolution requires a belief in a purposeless universe that is nothing more than a big pile of atoms.

    In other words, the conflict is between materialism and theism. Even materialists come to points where they say science cannot provide an answer. They fill in these gaps with theories and assumptions about the nature of the universe. Or, they live with ignorance because the problem posed by the gap is not really important to them.

    My favorite chapter in The Selfish Gene is where Richard Dawkins explains free will. In his deterministic view of the universe, we should not have free will. But, he is not ready to go there. So, he says that somehow free will arises out of the deterministic systems that created humans.

    Somehow. For theists, we don’t say “somehow.” We say, “God.”

    Now, if by Creation we mean God created the whole world exactly as it is today with all the animals and plants as they are today, then there is a deep incompatiblity. It is one that no amount of discussion or argument could bridge.

  3. I’ll refrain from going into the theological discussion of the evolution vs. creation issue…yes, you can thank me for that. 😉 However, what I do feel is important to stress is that the scientific evidence for “microevolution” — or changes over time that effect organisms within certain boundaries of existing genetic information and expressions — is quite rampant and we can even observe it happening today. However, “macroevolution”, or the arrival of vast numbers of new forms and species and biological structures over deep time, and especially the idea of common descent of all life from simple cells, is almost entirely devoid of explanatory power and the evidence just isn’t there to support it. So the reality is that Christians don’t NEED to reconcile the science of Darwinian evolution with the Bible because that science is faulty. Real science and the Bible aren’t in conflict, because the evidence shows that intelligent design is a far better explanation than long, incremental processes to explain the emergence of life, genetic information, and biological structures.

    Glad you had the courage to bring up such a controversial topic, Andrew. 🙂

  4. Well, you all may see no imcompatibility, but that is not what professors are telling their students.

    And the most prominent atheists in this regard…Dawkins, Dennet, Harris, et al., are quite plain about this, mainstream evolution leaves no roon for Christianity.

    Face it, to even raise questions about the theory…say the question of whether or not mutation rates can really accomplish what they claim…is to commit academic suicide.

    Don’t kid me, I’m in the middle of it.

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