As some of you may know, I consider myself a Christian. One of the issues that gets brought up in “religious debates” is evolution. Where by, the theory of evolution as presented by science supposedly proves – or leads to the non-existence of God, or at the very least the non-existence of the Christian biblical God. In this post I wish to briefly describe my own views on it. I would like to add that I am by no means an expert on these matters nor do I intend to pretend that I am, this is merely my attempt to share my thoughts on the matter. I hope that this post will be a means to help others, and also as a way to help better my own understanding of the matter. Lastly, before I begin, I only speak from the standpoint of a Christian perspective, I do not in any way speak for that of other religions.
The biggest issue arises, that when read literally, Genesis (the first book in the Christian bible), tells us that the world as we know it was created in 7 days – with a distinct order. Evolution on the other hand shows us that the world came to be over a significant amount of time and we evolved from various organisms, which in their own right also evolved from other cells/organisms/what have you.
Certainly, at face value these two contradict each other. Now when answering the question at hand, is God or evolution true? You must first realise there are a number of positions one can take
- One is true, one is wrong.
- Both are true.
- Neither are true.
I’m not going to delve into all these positions, only that of my own. I used to believe as a child that evolution was completely wrong, and that the literal account of Genesis was correct. This was mainly because I had only been taught of the literal account of Genesis and also that from what I had observed, many claimed that evolution proved that God didn’t exist. And so, as a God believing Christian, meant that I took the position of evolution being wrong.
Since then, my view has changed. I personally believe that Genesis is not a literal account of the creation of the world – rather that it’s a story, only a figurative description of how the world came to be. This view is generally (from what I understand) becoming more popular amongst Christians. I also however believe science is quite important in the understanding of our world, and more importantly in regards to this topic, shows the way in which God designed the world. Also, that generally speaking, what ever science deems to be “truth” then that is how God intended it. Following my principles, that logically comes to the point that evolution is thus true. Does this then mean I’m contradicting myself? No, it does not. You see, God and science are very much compatible. Certainly, it can appear that they are not compatible – at least, many would have us believe they’re not and many would use Science as evidence that God does not exist.
Using my belief that Genesis isn’t a literal account, evolution can then fit in. Evolution describes the process of what happened – not why it happened. The bible explains the why (in figurative terms). This doesn’t mean I accept evolution as the be all end all, only that I believe it is plausible and that if it is true (which science currently says it is) then it fits in just fine with my Christian perspective.
In the same way that science doesn’t cling unto past “truths” and moves onto new ones when we come to a better understanding, I too do the same. In principle my beliefs of the bible have not changed – I still believe the biblical God is real. However, my understanding of the bible may change over time.
I must also add that just because I think that evolution is plausible it does not mean that I don’t think the literal account of Genesis can’t/didn’t happen. Merely, I just don’t know, and quite frankly, whether I know or not doesn’t really change anything. The only thing that does matter to me is whether or not God is real, something which science (or anyone/anything for that matter) has yet to provide concrete evidence to support the latter. While on that note, may I add that science cannot disprove God, as science is the observation of the physical (correct me if I’m wrong?) – which means it cannot observe God should God exist (based on the biblical view of God). That’s not to say that I don’t respect those whom have different beliefs, only that I personally don’t see enough evidence to support their claims (much like they don’t see enough evidence to support the existence of God).