I have been kind of hesitant to post this blog because of some of the response I may get, but it is an issue that I have struggled with for a long time and I have finally come to what I feel is a solid conclusion. This issue is over creation and evolution. By evolution, I mean macroevolution, which is the change of one species into another by means of natural selection, and this process has been going on for about three billion years. Is evolution true? Does it eliminate the use for God? Is it at all compatible with Christianity? I hope that I will be able to dish out good answers to these questions.
Charles Darwin published his book, On the Origin of Species, in 1859. This book explains the process in which species evolve and adapt over time through a process called natural selection. He even proposed the idea that species can trans mutate into other species over several million years. This known as a fact by almost all scientists. Now, we seem run into a problem when we look at the Bible, and I don’t think this should be so.
If you take Genesis 1 in its literal form, you get this idea that God created the world in six literal twenty four hour days and that He created each species on earth according to their own kind. You may also get the idea that God created the world absolutely, one hundred percent perfect. This doesn’t really leave room for a several billion year process where animals change into other animals through a sort of evolutionary process that requires a lot of death and suffering. However, I am here to propose that Genesis was probably not meant to be taken in this literal manner.
Before I dive into Genesis, I want to talk about evolution in relation to God. Evolution, if you take it as a scientific theory, which is what it was meant to be taken as, has absolutely nothing to do with the existence of God or lack thereof. In fact, most evolutionary biologists do believe in God. It is a theory to explain how life emerged here on earth and why life is so diverse. There is no reason to assume that God didn’t kick start this process. There is, however, a philosophical idea called universal darwinism, which basically states that the theory of evolution can be extrapolated out to explain every component of our universe, including psychology, economics, culture, medicine, computer science, and physics. This is an atheistic theory and I do not believe in this, mainly because it is a not what the theory of evolution states.
Now, there is a major controversy over how to properly interpret the book of Genesis. There are really three different views. Young Earth Creationism, Old Earth Creationism, and Theistic Evolution. If you take the Bible in an absolute literal manner, especially an English translation, you will most likely consider yourself a Young Earth Creationist, meaning that God created pretty much all of life the way it is right now and He did so about six thousand years ago. If you believe in the general scientific consensus about the age of the earth, which is about four and a half billion years old, but you reject the claims about evolution, then you would most likely consider yourself an Old Earth, or Progressive Creationist. Some Progressive Creationists claim to believe in a literal Genesis, by simply making the days in Genesis 1 longer. Others hold a more allegorical view of this book. And the final view is Theistic Evolution. People who hold this view will believe that God used the evolutionary process to create all of life that is here on earth today. I adhere to this view. The evidence is there, it just is. We see evidence for evolution in the DNA similarities of all creatures and in the fossil record. Many people would say that God created the world to look older than it really is and that he may have even planted fossils and other evidence for evolution through the process of what they call “special creation.” I cannot accept this view because that is deception, and I don’t believe in a deceptive God.
The book of Genesis is a tricky one to discuss. There are many different interpretations of the first nine chapters. I believe that Genesis is a creation story that is not entirely true in its literal sense, but in a more allegorical sense. By this I don’t mean a false story, I mean that it is a good book to explain that God created the world, but not HOW He created it. The people who were living during the time that Genesis was written would have understood the book much differently. The writing style is different than the other books in the Old Testament, and I believe that this shows that the beginning chapters of Genesis have a different meaning than the literal version that most people take at face value.
Many people will argue that God could not have used evolution as His process because it doesn’t match up with the idea of a good God. How can a process of death and suffering be used by a Holy, morally perfect God? I don’t know why God used this particular process, but when I read the Bible, I see a God of mystery. Also, I would like to make the point that no where in the Bible does it say that animals did not die before the fall. It doesn’t even say that God created the world perfect. The creation account of Genesis presents an allegorical story about the creation of our world, and I believe that God’s method of creation was evolution by natural selection.