Skip to content

Creation vs Evolution: Does it really matter?

February 25, 2011

The science and faith debate seems set to continue to rumble on for the foreseeable future. With Richard Dawkins making programmes about faith schools and interviewing American fundamentalists there is no end of debates taking place. Christians often feel inadequate in the face of such a debate and when non-christian friends start asking questions we often feel unable to give an adequate response. There are many Christians who see this as a hot issue and have spent hours researching it all so they can give an answer when ask for the reason for their faith. I think that it is really important that there are Christians who have an in-depth knowledge of science and can discuss and debate the finer details with a sceptical public but at the end of the day I wonder whether it really matters all that much. What I mean is, does it really matter whether God created in six days or through an evolutionary process which took millions of years?

WHAT MUST WE AGREE ON is that God made the world, He designed it and created it. God chose what would exist and what wouldn’t and as a result we all owe our allegiance to Him. We must agree that we are made in the image of God and are therefore unique within the Creation. We ought to believe that we are responsible for sin entering the world and that as such the ‘fall’ was our responsibility and not God’s. This is the orthodox Christian position, based upon the teachings of Scripture, and as such must be something which we believe and teach. These I would argue are what are known as ‘first order’ issues, from which Christians can not depart.

WHAT WE ARE FREE TO BELIEVE is how God did this. Christians have discussed among themselves for many years exactly how God did all this and what answer you come to, I think isn’t as important as the fact that God did. Whether you believe the world was made in six days or whether He did it in any other number of ways doesn’t really matter as long as you hold to the ‘first order’ issues listed above. This freedom should help when it comes to evangelism, particularly for those who have a little understanding of science. Faced with a question about God and evolution, it seems we are perfectly able to say, that it isn’t that important, what matters is that God is in control. Save the complex arguments for those in the field, save the detailed questioning for those who can handle it. If you have friends who have this as a main issue then by all means point them in the direction of someone who knows more, or buy them a Christian book on the subject and let them think those details through. For most people though, this kind of information isn’t really of interest to them but our society says it is important so they toss it into any discussion. Having realised we’re free to hold a variety of beliefs, we can then re-focus the conversation on God and get back to what should be the heart of our discussions, telling people about the God who came to us in Jesus Christ.

For those who are interested here are a few links, from Christians with different opinions, which may be of help:

Can Christians believe in evolution here,

interesting discussion on ‘A Faith To Live By’ blog here,

and Jane Williams in the Guardian here.

Advertisements
31 Comments leave one →
  1. February 25, 2011 7:41 pm

    Mike interesting point of view – loved reading your post.

  2. February 25, 2011 8:36 pm

    Very interesting Mike! I agree that this debate isn’t something that should become a major sticking issue. I do, on the other hand, find it a fascinating subject and like seeing how the likes of McGrath and Lennox stand up against the likes of Dawkins in the dabate stakes. As for me I don’t know exactely where I stand on evolution or creation as a matter of origins, I would probably lean towards the former as I feel the ‘young Earth’ theory has a couple of big holes in it. Obviously ‘Evolution’ has its own holes aswell, but none of these differing opinions make me doubt God’s control or existence, or our need for His grace. But it still is a fascinating topic, which I plan to explore further! Good post mate, keep them coming.
    The Stef.

    • February 25, 2011 9:27 pm

      Thanks Stef, explore away and then may be post on blog on your site. I think its great that people find this interesting but I know lots of Christians who are just scared of the subject coming up. Hope you’re well, Mike

  3. February 25, 2011 9:59 pm

    I will mate, may take some time though :o)
    Me and Sharon are very well. Just read through my comment, huge apologies for the poor grammar and spelling in it, always been a stickler for good grammar and spelling :o)
    Speak soon.
    The Stef.

  4. March 3, 2011 12:12 pm

    I like your post, but i wonder if the danger in doing as you say is that we withdraw from facing the challenges most Christians are faced with every day. How often in evangelism do we get stopped by the usual ‘hasn’t science proven mankind evolved from apes?’ True ‘Neo-Darwinism’ doesn’t leave room for a Creator who started it all off.

    If we want people to take our beliefs about reality seriously, do you think we need to show that we’re not afraid to stand by the biblical account? We’re making a truth claim about reality that we should expect, if true, the science to support. What we actually find is Science DOES support the biblical world view, hence the growing number of people begining to recognise the merrits of the’Intelligent Design’ movement within secular science.

    I worry that if we don’t at least offer resources to our friends/family who have concerns about evolution and simply duck the issue, we will not see many people take our views about Christ that seriously. If you like, to get to the door at the back of the garage you need to clear a path through the clutter! Do you have to have a degree in the subject? I don’t think so, but i think the Christian has a responsibility to equip his or herself with the resources and basic tools needed to tackle these barriers. Then we can expect our message to be taken seriously and with credability, showing that we’re not afraid to stand against the thoughts and ideas this world throws against us.

    • March 3, 2011 12:26 pm

      Thanks Martyn. I agree to a point, which is to say that if you are able to understand science and make coherent arguments then by all means go for it. I’m certaintly not telling Christians to withdraw from the arguments and in the post I commend those that do. Three quick points though i)There are many Christians to which the whole debate is a bit confusing and I want to encourage them not to withdraw from evangelism because of their lack of scientific knowledge. ii) Non-Christians often just throw the science argument out there as a kind of reaction and then Christians spend ages going through details, only to find that really the non-Christian isn’t really interested and I’d rather spend time on who God is that on what can be a slight red-herring. If science is an issue then by all means debate it, I have many times and/or point the non-Christians to a good book (‘Reason for God’ by Tim Keller maybe) so they can research it further. iii) Christians disagree on what the right answer is in this debate so why not, were it isn’t important to the non-Christian, just move past it. Have a look at the links posted to see the diversity!

    • May 3, 2011 11:41 am

      I agree, Martyn, and am glad that someone said that. 8^)

  5. March 3, 2011 9:09 pm

    I think we agree, Mike. I think we need to be careful we don’t slip into the post-modern way of thinking when it comes to areas Christians disagree on. Just because there is disagreement doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t work to find out the truth. Not all of these different views are right, they can’t be. On the other hand, you are right in thinking that we shouldn’t ‘air our laundry’ in public – there’s nothing worse than people watching us fight amongst ourselves.

    What I would love to see amongst Christians is a willingness to engage these every-day issues in a way that’s non-threatening, non-aggressive but thoughtful. To paraphrase Greg Koukl, ‘our evangelism must be Diplomacy, not D-Day!’ If people want to engage in evangelism, then they need to be ‘prepared to give a defense for the hope they have’. That means even if they don’t understand the tough topics, they have the resources at their fingertips to go away and learn and come back with good answers.

    • March 3, 2011 9:27 pm

      Martyn, I agree that we should not go ‘post-modern’ but equally if God hasn’t told us something we can’t go round demanding others believe it, just because we do. The Bible isn’t a science book, its a book about God, so it tells us WHO not HOW! We can of course try to answer the HOW questions but probably never with complete certainty. If God hasn’t given us the HOW then we don’t need to know! I’m not saying we shouldn’t work and study. I’m not saying we shouldn’t take time to think through complex theological questions but I am saying that when it comes to evangelism we should focus on the key issues plus any issue which is key to the non-Christian. We should of course be able to give reasons for our faith, but I don’t think every Christian has the type of mind which will enable them to discuss complex science and its unfair to burden them with such expectations. We’re all gifted in different ways, as Paul tells us, and those who are gifted in explaining science should do that and those that arn’t should use the gifts God has given them.

  6. March 20, 2011 10:57 pm

    I never understood why some Christians (some, because most have by now accepted evolution, it’s just the ones who haven’t are very loud) cannot accept this. Evolution compliments God so well. It shows a patience craftsman, not a spontaneous child in creation. God is playing, having fun, testing, experimenting. That is beautiful. Even more so that after billions of years he has chosen us for here and now.

  7. April 14, 2011 12:23 pm

    After reading the comment thread here, here are my two bits….
    Personally (I mean not to offend anyone and their culture or religion… ) God created human beings first and for most and religion/culture was created by man to be different from one another…
    Study of science is progress and with that, knowledge about man and it’s working was studied. Hence the two go hand in hand Science and Faith…
    One cannot exist without the other. Some have Faith and some may find Faith through science….

  8. April 14, 2011 12:24 pm

    Whether God exists or not it is up to us as an individual to believe. Whether evolution is real (which I believe to be the case) is again up to the individual to believe. It is a debate not worth debating about as we are here. Enjoy it! Believe in what you feel in your heart to be true and let others believe in what makes them feel secure.

    Many thanks Mike as it was a good read.

    Cheers A

    • jan neel permalink
      April 14, 2011 5:47 pm

      I enjoyed reading your post , I must say I agree with A., on this matter. We are here, enjoy the time you have ; don’t worry to much about why we are.

      • April 14, 2011 8:14 pm

        Thanks Jan, I’m not worried, life with Christ now is far better than life without Him and in the next life far better again. The only thing I worry about is those that don’t know Christ for they don’t yet have life.

  9. April 14, 2011 2:33 pm

    Great post! If everyone believed the same thing (no matter what it is) we would not be the ‘unique’ individuals that we are:)

  10. Just Poetry permalink
    April 14, 2011 6:21 pm

    Hm! Very interesting post. I think you can believe (as I do) in both. And it’s true that there are holes in both ~ however, there was a starting point somewhere (the big bang) that He must of created. I do believe that there is God, and then there is religion, two seperate things in my opinion. And if we could all live in peace as God teaches us through Jesus, the world would be a wonderful place.

  11. Denise Lester permalink
    May 2, 2011 1:55 am

    Totally disagree! We could not have evolved…God CREATED us along with everything else day 1-6. To confim and end evolution discussions, God said in Genesis:

    vs 5 “So the evening and the morning were the first day”
    vs 8 “So the evening and the morning were the second day”
    vs 13 “So the evening and the morning were the third day”
    vs 19 “”So the evening and the morning were the fourth day”
    vs 23 “So the evening and the morning were the fifth day”
    vs 31 “So the evening and the morning were the sixth day”

    Evening and morning have always been the same. There have always been 24 hour in a day. This disputes the 1000 years for each day theory.

    The more I have learned through homeschooling my son, the more I am amazed by God as our creator. The way certain living creatures were created and how the live it can not be from evolution but a Master Designer the Almightly Living God.

    It is discouraging to hear believers making excuses that they leave it up to scientists. They are brainwashing people, and we as Christians have God’s word and his creation to prove the scientists are wrong.

    “Do not take away or add anything to the Word of God”

    We don’t have to be legalistic, but we should KNOW the TRUTH and not compromise! Otherwise, you are preaching another gospel and it isn’t the Gospel of Christ Jesus our Savior.
    Respectfully,
    Denise

    • May 2, 2011 5:50 pm

      Denise, thanks for your post and for your thoughts. I agree that we should know the truth and not compromise and preach the gospel of Christ Jesus as saviour. I do however find problems with 6 day creationism, not least that Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 put things in different orders and if you take both literally then you’re in trouble because you have to pick which order you think happened and explain why the other order is in the Bible. Also Genesis 1:13-15 tells us of the creation of the sun and moon but this happens on the fourth ‘day’. If this is the case then the idea we have of a day, the time it takes the earth to go round the sun, can’t be what the writer of Genesis means by a ‘day’ at least in ‘Day’ 1 -3 because the earth isn’t going round the sun, because the sun hasn’t been created yet.

      The point of my post was to say that Christians shouldn’t spend ages arguing over these points but rather that they should spend time working together to spread the gospel of the saving work of Jesus Christ. When we get to the New Creation we can ask God to teach us about HIs creation so lets spend the time we have bringing others to know Him.

      Thanks for your thoughts and I hope you’ll keep reading and pointing out where I’ve gone wrong,

      Mike

      • May 3, 2011 11:53 am

        Denise, I am glad to rerad your comment, too. Mike, in Genesis 1, the Bible says,

        “1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
        3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.”

        To your point about the sun and the moon being created on the fourth day, lightness and darkness were already separated, and then God created the great lights to govern the day and the night. The point is that lightness and darkness were separated on the first day, thus creating day and night.

        I agree that we need to be knowledgeable and understand our Bible AND that we need to focus on sharing Christ’s love. If we are working to share Christ with others, yet we cannot even be clear on what His Word tells us, how are people to take us seriously?

  12. May 9, 2011 2:55 pm

    Thanks Dug for your post and its not that I disagree with what you say but taking both Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 both literally has its problems doesn’t it? How do you reconcile the order which is different in each? Why is it a problem to say that the Genesis account is talking about theology (the who and the why) and science talks about the how?

  13. May 27, 2011 2:23 pm

    Hello Mike –

    I have struggled with this debate in my mind since middle school. As a firm believer in God, and also a lover of science, the whole concept of evolution is silly in my view. Science offers us an “explanation” that the the complex creature we call human beings, evolved from matter. It sounds good to non-Christians so they buy that. Even people whom call them selves Christians are confused by this issue…some of them believe in both! Now how can be so? Thanks for a wonderful post. 🙂

  14. May 27, 2011 6:22 pm

    But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 2 Peter 3:8

    Since God transcends time, this debate will always remain a moot point.

    We must learn to treat more things as mysteries to be enjoyed rather than as problems to be solved. Which, I feel, is the point you are making here Mike.

  15. May 28, 2011 12:44 am

    Just sitting on the fence here and because I love to hear your views – why MUST we agree that GOD created the world. It’s not that I don’t believe. It’s because I believe that everyone is entitled to their own belief and by insisting on that we must agree defeats the objective that people are free to make their own decisions.

    • May 28, 2011 9:35 am

      Thanks SJ, the ‘must’ is related to Christians. Clearly non-Christians can and do believe whatever they want and I think they should have the freedom to do that. For Christians though believing that God is the Creator is a must!

  16. July 22, 2011 5:43 pm

    Hi Mike, as an atheist I can appreciate the distinction you have made. I generally have very much more respect for Christians who recognize that the Theory of Evolution and belief in God are not mutually exclusive. Moreover, the Theory of Evolution is very well-supported, documented, and scientifically valid and falsifiable. That some Christians understand this and can still respect logical scientific evidence is very pleasing to me.

    Thank you for your effort, although we do disagree on what we ‘must’ believe. Please take the time to check out my website BlazingTruth. In particular, I have written a post describing my loss of faith (my mom is a preacher) and welcoming of reason and secular reality (http://www.blazingtruth.com/2011/06/faithfully-reasonable/). It may be of great interest to you.

    Regards,
    David Masten

    • The Real Truth permalink
      July 22, 2011 10:32 pm

      “Theory of Evolution and belief in God are not mutually exclusive. ”

      They are if a theist claims “theistic evolution” or “god-guided evolution” or “god-initiated evolution.” All of these are creationism, meaning by one means or another, a god did it. This IS mutually exclusive to the scientific Theory of Evolution. If one thinks it is ‘god-guided,’ then he or she is a creationist and must claim it, if he or she is intellectually honest. (there are many forms of creationists – YEC, OEC, etc. This is just one more form.).

      • July 23, 2011 9:38 am

        Thanks for your post and of course if you mean by ‘creationism’ is that God created the earth then you’re right, as I said in the article ‘God made the world, He designed it and created it’. All Christians believe that God created the earth, its one of the fundamental Christian doctrines. However, that is not what people usually mean by creationism, which usually refers to a strict literal understanding of Genesis 1 & 2. The point of the article was to say that Christians can believe whatever they like about HOW God created, so long as they hold to the fact that God created. The Theory of Evolution in its basic scientific form isn’t in contradiction with theistic creationism though many atheists use this theory to go further with their beliefs which of course goes beyond the scientific evidence into their own beliefs systems! Thanks for the post!

  17. September 28, 2011 5:28 pm

    It does matter what we believe. For instance, let’s say we subscribe to the idea that dinosaurs died out before man arrived on the scene. That idea alone hurts the trustworthiness of the Bible. Death came about as a consequence to sin entering the world. Before sin, there was no death.

    Secondly, the Hebrew term for day in the Genesis account is “Yom”. Every time in the bible when the word Yom is preceded by a number it means a literal 24 hour day.

    If we tell people that it doesn’t really matter what you believe, just trust in Christ it gives people cause to question the first 6 chapters of the Bible. If those chapters can’t be trusted then how do they know they can trust the rest of the word of God?

    I would encourage everyone to check out the ministry of Answers in Genesis.

  18. September 28, 2011 5:44 pm

    There are a lot of Christian ideals that are founded on the creation account in Genesis, not least of which is the Christ in “Christ”ian. If there is no Adam and Eve in the garden, there’s no sin, there’s no need for Jesus, no death on the cross, no resurrection, no Christians. You can’t follow Jesus and ignore the six day creation. He talks about it all through the Gospels when He talks about the Sabbath, divorce, etc.

    Christianity and the evolutionary account of man’s existence are mutually exclusive. If evolution is correct, Christianity is a farce. If Christianity is correct, evolution is foolishness.

    There isn’t a fence to ride on the issue.

  19. September 28, 2011 6:13 pm

    “The point of the article was to say that Christians can believe whatever they like about HOW God created, so long as they hold to the fact that God created.”

    Thanks Mike for the emphasis on the fact that God created. We can’t understand all the “how” of creation, but must not disregard what the Bible says, that God created all “according to their own kinds” (Gen 1:11,12,21,24,25). Also Paul writes “God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. (1Cor 15:38-39).

    Regarding the six days, Moses writes “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (Ex 20:11). This verse is in the middle of the Ten Commandments. Are we to interpret this section of Scripture as figurative language. I would hope not. Blessings.

    • September 29, 2011 7:26 am

      Thanks Royce, some interesting comments! I don’t want to get into a debate on this post about which is right creationism or evolution but merely to say there are plenty of well thought through Christians on both sides and one of the links highlights this (Faith to Love By blog) including John Stott, Tim Keller & Jim Packer on the side of evolution as part of God’s plan. The point of my post is to ask Christians to not fight over their point of view but to work together to bring people to know Christ!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: