It has been said often enough that you can be a Christian (or a
member of ANY faith for that matter) and still believe in evolution.
Some people believe that God created life and then set the process of
evolution in motion which ultimately has been responsible for the
diversity of life we now see around us. This is a rather simplistic,
and some would say, elegant view that easily accomodates both theology
and the facts of science.
Obviously however, the "facts of
science" are not all that clear. As you can see from the articles and
the comments in this blog, there is a tremendous amount of uncertainty
as to the methods, mechanisms, and even the definition of evolution.
Prestigious authorities in the field squabble and argue amongst
themselves. The "fact" of evolution is by no means certain.
I am forced to admit that this uncertainty provides me with no small
measure of comfort. I have never enjoyed trying to reconcile the
concept of evolution with my theological views. It is virtually
impossible to do so, and I believe that others who believe as I do no
doubt share the same difficulties.
For example, the suggestion that God created
life and then set the process of evolution in motion carries with it
some rather dubious ramifications. One of those ramifications, I
believe, is that God has not been active in history (or for that
matter, prehistory). The implication of such a belief is that God put
the world on auto-pilot and sat back doing nothing for thousands of
millenia... and He is probably still doing nothing today.
view of God may be acceptable to some, but not to me. It completely
flies in the face of Scripture, which teaches that God has indeed been
very active in the affairs of man since the dawn of history in ancient
Babylonia and Egypt. If God has been active throughout history, why
would He not be active throughout prehistory? Was God not interested in
His other "evolved creations"? Was He just waiting around for Mankind
to evolve so He could then start stirring things up?
I think that
evolutionists would argue against such a view as well, since it implies
that evolution has a predicted outcome -- a goal. I think most
evolutionists will agree that evolution must be a random process
whereby heritable traits are passed on from one generation to the next.
Natural Selection then takes over, and those traits which are
beneficial (or, at least not detrimental) to the succeeding generations
will remain and/or lead to further changes in heritable traits.
very randomness causes other problems for evolutionists I think. One
is, the issue of increasing complexity. If all evolutionary changes are
random, then the laws of probability would suggest that on average,
about half of all evolutionary changes would be to greater complexity
while the other half would be to lower complexity. Let's face it,
sometimes simple is BETTER than complex. However, the fossil record
shows an unexplainable trend toward ever-increasing complexity.
problem is that the laws of probability would suggest about an equal
number of "devolotions" to "evolutions". In other words, during the
transition stage between reptile and mammal for example, about half of
the creatures would start devolving back towards reptiles, or to some
other non-reptilian lower life form. Since this process would produce
an even greater abundance of "transitional" forms than a mere
forward-progressing evolution, the fossil record should be replete with
transitional evolutions, devolutions, and dead-ends. But alas it is
not. And I digress.
The concept of an absentee God further flies
in the face of other Scriptures which suggest that God indeed takes a
very active part in His creation. The longest and perhaps most notable
of such passages would be in the Book of Job, chapters 38-41. The
passage starts out with God asking, "Where were you when I laid the
foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who
determined its measurements — surely you know! Or who stretched the
line upon it?" These four chapters then go on to say that God has
been directly and personally involved in nature, going so far as to
suggest that God gave various creatures their specific traits, taught
them how to survive, and even provides prey for the predators.
doubt some will say that such verses are mere prose and symbolism. But
I would strongly argue against such a view, especially when read in the
context of the whole book. When Job opens, chapter 1 lays out the
premise that God and Satan are very actively involved in the affairs of
men. The book ends with chapter 42 where God again involves Himself in
the affairs of men. Chapters 38-41, just prior to the final chapter,
constitute what might be called "God's Rant". He says in no uncertain
terms that He is Almighty, and that He can do whatever He wants to. He
says that He created all things, and took a very active part in the
creation. He declares His glory and His handiwork. He says nothing
about a gradual random process that runs on auto-pilot.
problem evolution presents to my theology revolves around the fact that
I believe God is Omnipotent, or Almighty. I believe that God can do
anything He wants to, whenever He wants to. If this is true, then six
days of creation sounds a lot more reasonable than 6 billion years (or
even 3 billion years for that matter). Do I believe that God created
everything in a literal six day period? Absolutely not. Do I question
the validity and reliability of dating methods currently in use?
Some refer to 2Peter 3:8 which says, "But do not
ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a
thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." To an infinite God,
time is meaningless, and I understand that. To those of us who are mere
mortals, time is of far greater concern as we do not possess that much
of it. Nevertheless, Samantha on the "Bewitched!" show sometimes seems
to have more power than the Almighty God. If God is in fact
All-Powerful, then why does He choose to wait around billions of years
for Man to develop, who by the way, was supposedly created in His image?
don't get me wrong. I know what the Bible says... "God is spirit" (John
4:24). So if Man was created in "God's image", then this clearly is a
reference to Man's spirit rather than his body. Perhaps God did indeed
choose to wait billions of years for Man to evolve from lower life
forms into a vessel suitable to contain "a spirit" that reflects the
nature of His own Spirit... but why?
And the implication of this
naturally, is that as soon as God implants "a spirit" into Mankind,
then He is once again meddling with evolution, which seems
counter-intuitive to a God that uses evolution to reach that point. If
God does not implant a spirit into Mankind, then it too must evolve as
well. Therefore, Christian scientists who believe in evolution, must
further explain the evolution of "spirit" as well as body. And to my
knowledge, we have barely started grappling with the evolution of
Let's go back and look at that verse in 2Peter
3:8 again. Not only are a thousand years as one day, but "one day is as
a thousand years". Clearly, infinity goes both ways. If with God one
day is like a thousand years, that means that one day is like 365,000
days. One minute is like 365,000 minutes and one second is like 365,000
seconds (or more than 101 hours). And by the way, I would not want to
limit God to these numbers. Peter uses these examples in a very generic
In Biblical writings, the term "thousand" is very often
used to convey the idea of "complete quantity". For example, in Psalms
50:10-11 God says... "For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the air, and all that moves in the field is mine." God here is not limiting Himself to merely a thousand hills. By implication, He means ALL hills... a number far greater than a thousand.
In Revelation 20:6 we are told... "Blessed
and holy is he who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the
second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of
Christ, and they shall reign with him a thousand years."
The terms "Millenial Reign" and "The Millenium" were coined from this
particular passage, but it does not refer to a literal one thousand
years. It refers instead to some "complete quantity" of years, which
will no doubt be greater than merely one thousand.
it might be more correct to say that, with God a million years is as
one day, or one day is as a million years! Same concept. But it still
begs the question... If God is Omnipotent or Almighty, why would He
choose to do things slowly rather than quickly? Why not a mix? Why not
do some things slow and some fast? Why not do all things fast?
I'm not suggesting that God owes me an explanation. That's not where
I'm going with this. I'm just saying that an Almighty God and Evolution
do not SEEM to be compatible because, theoretically, an Almighty God
should be able to do things quickly as well as slowly if He so chooses.
He must not be locked into a box (even a box of His own making) that
prevents Him from doing whatever He wants to, whenever He wants to.
perhaps, that is in fact what God has done. Perhaps the idea of
"punctuated equilibrium" reflects the idea of God doing some things
slowly (micro-evolution) and some things quickly (macro-evolution).
Perhaps God has so many worlds throughout this infinitely large
universe, that He spends time "wandering around" enjoying His universe
and only comes back to Earth every million years or so... at which time
He "tweaks" things. But again, evolutionists (even Christian
evolutionists) would reject that concept because it implies that God is
again meddling with the process of evolution. It is in fact closer to
the concept of "Creationism" than to evolution.
It would further contradict the Bible's teaching that God is "Omnipresent" (everywhere at the same time)...
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,"
12 Even the darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.
-- Psalms 139:7-12
If God is Omnipresent, He is not
"wandering about". He is here, there and everywhere... all at the same
time. He does not use time like a tool as we might, to check up on
things from "time to time". If God is Omnipresent, He needs no time to
travel from place to place, because He is already there.
faith is rooted in my understanding of the Scriptures; that is, the
Bible. I believe that the Bible teaches various concepts, and portrays
the nature of God in such a way that, to me at least, seems
incompatible with the idea of evolution. Those are my personal beliefs,
but I know that at least a few others share them. And I find comfort in
that as well.
Is this a scientific argument? Of course not, and
in no way do I pretend that it is. It is instead a clash of faiths...
my faith in the God of Scriptures, versus the faith of others in
randomness, accident and chance. My faith lies in a God who is active,
dynamic and involved in history and prehistory, versus the faith of
others in a God who creates a process which runs on auto-pilot and who
then stands back and does nothing. My faith lies in a God who created
Man in His own image, versus the faith of others that we are but a
cosmic accident. My faith lies in a God who can do whatever He wants to
whenever He wants to, versus the faith of others in a blind, random
process that produces life from lifelessness, and then ultimately
proceeds without guidance from molecules to Man. My faith lies in a God
who is everywhere at all times and who is thus with me at all times,
versus the faith of others that God "wanders around" the universe or
worse, who exists nowhere at no time.
Does this mean that I could
never be persuaded to believe in evolution or some modified version of
evolution? Hardly. Having an engineering degree, I understand the basic
concept of 'scientific method'. If something can be proven using
acceptable and repeatable experiments, I must acknowledge that it is a
fact. Do I accept "micro-evolution" as fact? Indeed I do. Does that
mean that "micro-evolution" equals "macro-evolution" (or speciation)?
Absolutely not. Does that mean that "lots of micro-evolution" equals
"macro-evolution"? Absolutely not. Could I be persuaded that
"catastrophism" or "extinction events" might not merely destroy
species, but might create new ones as well? Indeed I could. But again,
I would not consider that "evolution" in the traditional sense
(although evolutionists would be quick to say it is, according to their
revised definition of "evolution").
Science has evolved over the
centuries from superstitious fairy-tales to extraordinary advances in
technology. The use of 'scientific method' has made possible tremendous
improvements in materials, medicines, transportation and communication.
Great changes have taken place in these fields since the 18th and 19th
centuries, and the results are clear for all to see. Except perhaps in
a few isolated areas (Newtonian physics for example), the science texts
of the 18th and 19th centuries are virtually obsolete, and would not be
useful for educating or training the students of today.
area of evolutionary theory however, there has been little progress or
change in thought since the 18th and 19th centuries. Sure, we have
found more fossils. Sure, we have found out many things that evolution
is NOT. Sure, we have changed the definition of evolution to help it
conform with reality. But other than that, it is still in most respects
the same tired old theory that Darwin proposed, that is... molecules to
Man via genetic change over vast lengths of time (perhaps interrupted
by punctuations in equilibrium), driven by some natural process which
cannot be adequately defined, tested, or even agreed upon by experts in
the field, and/or which cannot be corroborated by evidence in the
fossil record. Those who believe in it are faced with innumerable, and
in some cases, insurmountable challenges.
On the contrary, the
Bible has stood as a pillar for thousands of years providing those who
believe it with a solid foundation for dealing with the difficult
questions of life and death. Through it, the rule of law was
established, which still guides our democracies today. It is a book
that gives hope, joy, and inspiration to millions. It is a book which
says that God is not merely involved in the affairs of mankind, but
that God in fact cares about mankind. Far from being a cosmic accident
of random natural processes, the Bible says that we were... created...
by a loving God... in His image... for a purpose... and with a future!
I am sentimental. Perhaps I am a fool. But given the choices, I will
hold onto my faith in the God of the Scriptures until the evolutionists
prove their hypothesis, or until the agnostics and/or the atheists pull the Bible from my dying hands.
Hawkeye blogs at View From Above . Thanks, Hawk, for taking Sunday for me!