What does the theory of Evolution say about God?

 

The answer is: …

Nothing.

Strictly looking at the theory, it says nothing in favor of God, and it says nothing in opposition to God.

 

This may not surprise you, but people talk as if the theory proves all religion false. Recently I witnessed a young lad making this bold statement:

‘Yes, I used to believe in God, but then I had a biology course, so now I know about evolution … I think the reason that people become religious is because they’re not taught evolution early enough.’

For some reason, I was the only one who laughed when he said this, so I felt a bit inappropriate. I guess he didn’t mean to be funny. So in this blog post I’m going to take the statement seriously, yet I’m going to show why I think it’s absurd.

Let’s consider evolution for a second.

What is it? What does it say? Let’s be fair.

Well, unlike certain other scientific theories, the theory of evolution cannot be summed up in a mathematical equation, though that would be awesome when we had to answer tough questions like this one. E = MC2 works well for a statement about physics, but when it comes to biology, accepted truths are subject to a much more common language. It follows they will be more vague and more open to interpretation.

That’s why, what is meant by “the theory of evolution” tends to shift. In its broadest sense it means that biological organisms change and adapt over time. Such a phenomenon can easily be observed. Therefore, nobody denies it, not even young earth creationists (YEC’s). Yet, certain proponents of this theory love to make it seem that way, because it makes critics look like fools—which is how many proponents choose to handle it.

At other times, the THEORY OF EVOLUTION means a whole lot more than what I’ve already stated. It means the whole package. It means common descent of all species. It obviously means millions of years, which is less controversial, of course. It states that all complex biological systems came from simpler forms through a process of natural selection. The idea of natural selection is rather simple and quite logical when you think about it: The less advantageous forms die, and the more advantageous forms get to live long enough to breed and spread their genes. Charles Darwin was not stupid! What he came up with makes a lot of sense.

Having said that, let’s return to the point I set out to make:

What does the theory say about God?

I hate to repeat myself—actually, I don’t mind—but looking at what I just described, it should be even more clear now: Absolutely nothing.

God’s existence simply isn’t in there.

You see, the theory of evolution is not a theory about God, about Jesus or about Christianity. It’s not about philosophy at all, it’s about biology, a completely different subject. It’s not about divine beings or angels or miracles or virgin births. It doesn’t adress the origin of the universe, either. Why? Because it’s about bacteria and DNA and animals and bones and feathers and things of a completely different sort. It’s a specified topic within a limited field of study—and it doesn’t even begin to deal with the philosopical questions of deism and theism.

Which raises the question: Why do so many people come to the conclusion that if evolution is right, Christianity must (necessarily) be wrong? Admittedly, it’s because that’s the way certain Christians put it, and I don’t think that’s very helpful to the conversation. Personally, I don’t think the theory of evolution and the Creation story fit very well, either—but the notion that you must abandon the Christian worldview entirely in order to embrace mainstream biology, that seems ludicrous.

Regardless of evolution, I may still think Jesus rose from the dead. And that the Holy Spirit is real. The self-sacrificial attitude of Jesus appears no less ingenious to me because of evolution—it still undermines evil powers in this world, and it continues to transform human lives. The way of the cross—a life of service and love—still rocks! Jesus is my Lord, no matter the explanation behind my genes. And God may still be the creator of it all, the initiator of the process that caused our existence.

In summary, I see no reason whatsoever that accepting a theory from biology should make me deny Christian realities. I don’t get why someone would think that this theory is sufficient reason to deny the existence of a god/God altogether. 

Om Lars

Previously a Seventh-Day Adventist pastor in Silkeborg and Aarhus (Denmark), I am now a Bachelor of Rhetoric and Media and live in Norway
Dette indlæg blev udgivet i Religion, Videnskab. Bogmærk permalinket.

2 svar til What does the theory of Evolution say about God?

  1. Vidar Hovden siger:

    I think the reason why there is such a dichotomy between Christianity and Evolution, is exactly because classical evolutionary theory has some opinion about the origen of life.

  2. Lars siger:

    Notice, I’m not saying that the theory doesn’t have theological implications when it comes to understanding creation and origins, perhaps even God’s character. I just think that most theological questions are far outside its reach.

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