CREATION VERSUS EVOLUTION?
Some Christians are adamant that there can be no such thing as evolution. Does being of the opinion that evolution occurred and is occurring mean that God and the bible can not be believed in?
Can a Christian believe in evolution?
Does not believing in the Bible exclude the possibility to evolution?
According to the Bible God created the earth, sun, moon, and stars in six days as well as the plants, animals and people Gen: 1.1-2.3.
According to some the Bible shows the age of the earth and heavens as about six thousand years. These people arrive at this figure by tracing the genealogies and ages given in the Bible to the timing of known historical events that are also recorded in the bible.
It seems that the theory of evolution contradicts the Bible as indeed does the popular understanding of geology, cosmology, astronomy, palaeontology, and some of the other scientific disciplines. In the popular understanding of archaeological science the beginning of the Universe is reckoned in billions of years, about fifteen billion, the earth is thought to be about five billion years old. Life is thought to have begun on earth three and a half billion years ago and Homo sapiens to have emerged around two million years ago. According to evolutionary theory humankind evolved from the common ancestors of simians (apes and monkeys).
Faith and science: is it right to cling to one's faith in spite of scientific evidence contrary to it? Or should faith be kept totally separate from anything scientific; these two areas are irreconcilable and belong to different levels that in no way meet?-To try and bring them together is heretical to one and contrary to the method of the other. Is having faith really to continue in spite of the evidence or is it to continue in spite of the difficulty? If faith is to believe in something aside from the evidence then someone could put their faith in a chair and persist in this belief in spite of any evidence to the contrary that the chair is not God. Would this believing really be true faith? Surely this belief would be superstition and delusion, not true faith. How many people's faith have really been superstition and delusion? Paul speaks of bearing in love a fellow Christian who is weak in faith because they are under scruples (see Romans l4 and lCor.8). Scruples are moral delusions, delusions are fixed false beliefs. So it is possible to have faith and still be wrong in some areas, not that this wrongness is itself true faith, but is a weakness of the faith. Many people have been moved to believe in God by evidence and proofs bringing an inward conviction to the reality of God. These precursors to faith may not fall under the category of scientific evidence nevertheless they are forms of proof to that person taking up belief in God. Scientists look to the mathematical proving before they believe something as well as the repeatable, predictable results of this borne out in practice, which is experimentally. Christians refer to the bible as their God given authority.
A lot of Christians refute the findings of science citing the bible as being truly the authority on the subjects of the origin of the universe and where or how mankind came to be. According to these Christians there is no possibility for evolution or the vast magnitudes of time given for events by science. Very many books have been written by creationists stressing what the bible has to say, especially the first book of the bible, Genesis, and so why the claims of science are wrong. These books are mainly sold in Christian bookstores and read mainly by Christians already convinced as to the contents of the books. However are the people wielding the bible adept at the bible?
I once asked a Christian friend what he thought of science. His reply was that science was about trying to disprove God. I laughed and said I saw science as studying the natural laws of the universe which God created.
It is true though there are some scientists who would sneer at the primitive understanding of those who believe God made people and the world; and sometimes not without reason that they sneer.
There are also scientists who are Christians. There are even those trying to prove the disputed points in scripture through science and refute what is accepted mainstream scientific knowledge, for example they say dinosaur fossils are from the great flood of Noah and are only about four and half thousand years old! This view is certainly not shared by all Christian scientists or all Christians.
Evolutionary theory has self replicating molecules arising in the primordial soup so that through the passage of time and chance come into more and more complexity and branch off into differing niches. This primordial soup had the ideal conditions for this to happen, the right chemicals present, the right temperature, the correct amount of stability, the correct amount of fluctuation etc. All this happens in the accordance to the chemical and physical laws of matter. God has set up nature to fulfil his design, and yet God is beyond nature, God is supernatural. God made the earth and heavens, God's judgments are in all the earth, Ps.??, it was at his say so that the earth and sea brought forth plants, animals, fish and birds and that man was made in the image of God. When God issues his voice there is a tumult of waters in the heavens to execute his Word (Jer.10:13&51:16), God's makes his messengers winds, and fire and flame are his ministers, (Ps.104:4). Powerful, evil angels are locked in a type of hell-called Tartus in Greek- waiting judgment, they are there in the substrate unable to break through kept in gloom darkness the nether existence, Jude6, perhaps they are the substrate. God works in ways unseen, in ways that we can not comprehend. God without violating nature can use nature to his will, not that God violates nature if he does supernaturally intervene since he is the author of nature. Why can't evolutionary theory be right in so far as it goes? After all evolutionary theory concerns the three dimensions, i.e. environment, over time and the mechanics of chemistry/biochemistry and the physical and behavioural traits of the complex vehicles (bodies) that have evolved to best ensure the survival of the genes they carry. Of course evolution does encompass a lot but the complexity arises from these simple first principles. It is interesting to note the role of the sea in evolutionary theory and in both creation accounts. Ah the proverbial sea; a chaotic system where a small whisper can effect a profound change. Huge differences in outcome can be the result of tiny changes. The trillions of grains of sand on the sea shore are all unique from each other and yet could be stacked in a virtual infinite number of ways and yet for all intents and purposes be the same beach to walk and wade along, how much more the grains of time can be stacked by God to conform to the present reality and his ultimate goal. And still allow man the freedom to choose where he wades and paddles.
Let's keep a proper perspective on matters. The book Genesis is one of sixty-six books in the bible and has fifty chapters in it. Only the first two chapters deal with the creation of the earth and heavens, the living creatures and people. All fifty chapters of Genesis though, are about God and people, as is the rest of the bible. The reason for creation is people; the reason for people is God. The bible is not so much concerned with exactly how God stretched out space and how God formed the clay into animals and people. The intricacies of these things would fill the equivalent of many bibles, and it does. It could be said that evolution is a footnote on creation, just one of the nuts and bolts of creation. What is important is what creation is all about. The creation accounts set the stage for what follows. It is not needful to know exactly how the stage was set up and nailed together; or out of what material and how the curtain is sewn; it is immaterial for those on stage to know, that is not their role. Creation is the stage set for people to live on and fulfil their role. This does not mean scientific enquiry into the mechanics of creation is illicit, just that it is not the overall purpose. Coming to know the Creator is the purpose.
Focusing on the nuts and bolts of creation at the expense of seeing the Creator is incorrect. That the picture is composed of pixels should not detract from the picture. This matter becomes clear when viewed in proper perspective. Keeping things in perspective is also needed by the believers of the bible, that the picture is made up of pixels is not an affront as such, only taken wrongly does it seem to be.
This mistake in not keeping a proper perspective of things has a biblical epitome. Nicodemus came to Jesus by night and Jesus told him he must be born anew, but Nicodemus supposed another physical birth was meant. Nicodemus, a leader and teacher in Israel had trouble discerning the spiritual from the earthly. Jesus questioned Nicodemus how could he believe the heavenly things if Jesus were to tell him if he could not believe the earthly things Jesus had told him.
Whether it is a scientist not seeing the truth or a Christian failing to discern the facts it is a lack of a right perspective. In the end science and religion maybe understood well enough that both come together. The greatest crime of the controversy is those who do not get to hear the gospel because of the lack of a right perspective.
Science does not go against scripture, (although some claims of people using science may), but rather science goes against some peoples rendition of scripture. Other scripture rendered in the same way can make plain that this rendition of scripture is wrong. In a later chapter I will play off the first two chapters of Genesis using an absolute literal approach to show disagreements the text has with itself. However it is not that the text is wrong but the approach. Lend a bit of supposition then, if the bible is God's word and absolutely true, and I believe it is, surely it can be shown as true, and if it is shown true then it is no longer a supposition. In John 10:34 Jesus quotes back a scripture and the authority of scripture to authenticate his claims and himself to those who were opposing him and accusing him of blasphemy. Jesus poses these things in questions to which they could not answer. They could not answer because they were wrong.