Friday, September 17, 2010

Creationist or Evolutionist, BOTH

“He has made everything suitable for its time;

moreover, he has put a sense of past and future into their minds,

yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end”

(Ecclesiastes 3:11).

As a Christian, I stand firm in my religious convictions. As an American, I value freedom of speech, ideology, and religion. Lastly, as an advocate for critical thinking and the scientific method, I value research and scientific observations. All of these values come into conflict when debating Creationism vs. Evolution; the public is constantly updated on the latest left hook of this barnburner. This month’s bout centers around Steven Hawkins new book The Grand Design wherein he asserts, "It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper [fuse] and set the universe going” (CNN). In the opposite corner is the religious right, arguing the literal word of God—when the Bible states that all the creatures of the land were made in one day, it was indeed twenty-four hours.

So how do I reconcile these convictions? I do not believe science and God are mutually exclusive. I do not like to put God in a box, which is what I believe the creationist do. Creationist argue that if you question the foundation of Genesis; then you open the door to doubt about everything the Bible says, “When we consider the possibility that God used evolutionary processes to create over millions of years, we are faced with serious consequences: the Word of God is no longer authoritative, and the character of our loving God is questioned” (answers in genesis).I believe in a God that can do anything He wants. The legalism of the creationist reminds me of the Pharisees and Sadducees. They were so caught up in the details and self-righteous pointing finger that they missed the big picture. Is it more important that people believe in a “young earth” or in God? Jesus answers all of them in Luke 10.27-42, “He answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.’”However, it is possible that “a day” was 100,000 years, especially since the sun wasn’t created until the fourth “day.” Furthermore, God could allow natural selection/adaptions/mutations in order to allow some flexibility in creatures adapting to their environment. For example, melanin is ingenious—a person living near the equator has dark skin to protect from sunburn, and someone living near the North Pole is fair enough to absorb Vitamin D. I’m not sure how it all works, but I know God did it.

On the other hand, I don’t believe wholly in evolution either. Evolutionists contend, “All organisms on Earth are descended from a common ancestor or ancestral gene pool. Current species are a stage in the process of evolution, with their diversity the product of a long series of speciation and extinction events. The common descent of organisms was first deduced from four simple facts about organisms: First, they have geographic distributions that cannot be explained by local adaptation. Second, the diversity of life is not a set of completely unique organisms, but organisms that share morphological similarities. Third, vestigial traits with no clear purpose resemble functional ancestral traits, and finally, that organisms can be classified using these similarities into a hierarchy of nested groups – similar to a family tree. However, modern research has suggested that, due to horizontal gene transfer, this ‘tree of life’ may be more complicated than a simple branching tree since some genes have spread independently between distantly related species” (Wikipedia/evolution). The sequence of the Genesis story does follow the evolutionary sequence. If God made all species with the definition of “day” being flexible; then, these don’t need to be created at the exact same time, which would account for different periods/eras. However, one genus didn’t evolve into another species. Some species have died off within my lifetime; however, a new species hasn’t suddenly appeared in my lifetime. Neanderthals and modern day pygmies are both “man”, but a chimpanzee is a monkey and evolved from ancient monkeys, even if we do share a large part of our genetic make-up. A cake and fried chicken both contain four, egg, salt; but they are obviously quite different. Admittedly, the scientists do not know all the pieces to the origin of life or the evolutionary puzzle. Both creationist and evolutionist require faith (belief in what is unknown/unseen).

Humans were made by God with a specific purpose in mind; and that is to worship the Grand Architect. My Truth aligns with Sir Isaac Newton, “It is the perfection of God's works that they are all done with the greatest simplicity. He is the God of order and not of confusion“(bhoibhoi.multiply). When we make scientific discoveries, humans are unraveling the mysterious laws and ways of God. For example, DNA is the recipe for life—how marvelous that something so simple can have such variety and importance! Science will not ever prove or disprove the existence of God—this is where Faith walks through the door.

In doing this research I discovered that my assertions have a name, “Theistic evolution is not a theory in the scientific sense, but a particular view about how the science of evolution relates to religious belief and interpretation. Theistic evolution supporters can be seen as one of the groups who reject the conflict thesis regarding the relationship between religion and science – that is, they hold that religious teachings about creation and scientific theories of evolution need not contradict” (Wikipedia). In addition, I found a champion of my cause who is much more articulate, knowledgeable, and credible than I. As a result, I spent some time watching philosopher Elliott Sober’s lecture Darwin & Intelligent Design and was impressed by his argument that, "Evolutionary theory does not rule out the existence of God. In fact, the theory does not rule out a God who intervenes in nature. Believing in a God who created nature, and who sometimes intervenes in it, is no substitute for doing natural science."

Darwin seems to be a misunderstood scientist and historical figure. I’m inquisitive (aka nerdy) enough to have watched the movie Creation, mainly because I wanted to learn more about his humanistic side, rather than the vilified persona depicted by the religious right. Filmcritic summarizes, “In the book [Annie’s Box authored by Randal Keynes, great-great grandson of Charles Darwin], and subsequently the film[Creation], it is suggested that Darwin, while writing 'On the Origin of Species', was deeply affected and haunted by the death of his eldest daughter Annie -- she was rumored to have suffered from tuberculosis after contracting scarlet fever. Her passing also coincides with the end of Darwin's relationship with Christianity, the faith his wife Emma had devoted herself to for her entire life.” It seems he is grappling with the common philosophical question of Why do bad things happen to good people?

Darwin’s own words reflect his angst, “I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created parasitic wasps with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars” (thinkexist). It seems Darwin believes in a God as a creator, but is conflicted about His interactions in daily human life. Also, he doesn’t view God as the great judge doling out rewards and punishments. Amazingly, Darwin concludes at the end of Origins of the Species, "to my mind it accords better with what we know of the laws impressed on matter by the Creator, that the production and extinction of the past and present inhabitants of the world should have been due to secondary causes, like those determining the birth and death of the individual (Sober). Therefore, Darwin supports that “the Creator” has established laws of the universe, but has a hands-off approach—basically allowing the rules of nature to take its course. Other biologists were able to merge theology and science. Theodosius Dobzhansky concludes, "I am a creationist and an evolutionist. Evolution is God's, or Nature's, method of creation. Creation is not an event that happened in 4004 BC; it is a process that began some 10 billion years ago and is still under way... Does the evolutionary doctrine clash with religious faith? It does not. It is a blunder to mistake the Holy Scriptures for elementary textbooks of astronomy, geology, biology, and anthropology" (wikipedia/evolutionary-creationsim). The story of Genesis is one of many narratives that we should consider in learning how the universe came to be.


Ed. Michael D. Coogan et al. The New Oxford Annotated Bible. New Revised Standard Version, with the Apocrypha.

3rd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Sober, Elliot. Darwin & Intelligent Design Retrieved from

Retrieved from

Retrieved from divine- creator?_s=PM:WORLD

Retrieved from

Retrieved from

Retrieved from

Retrieved from

Retrieved from

No comments: