Did God Use Evolution? [Guest Post]

  • Genesis is not history.
  • Adam is just a metaphor.
  • The days in the first chapter of Genesis aren’t literal 24 hour days.

These types of views on Genesis seem to be turning into the norm within the church today, but are such views really in line with what Scripture teaches? Can evolutionary beliefs be compatible with the Bible?

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

One of the major driving forces behind evolutionary advancement is death. Survival of the fittest and natural selection are central to evolution and neither of them would be possible if organisms didn’t die. So when we say that God used evolution to create us, that’s akin to saying death was His creation method! No matter how you look at it, evolution requires death and suffering to work - millions of years of it.

With these things in mind, Romans 6:23 raises an interesting question. How could the wages of sin be death if God used death as His creation method? This would mean that death existed millions of years before sin came into being. In Genesis 1:31, God calls all of His creation very good; but if death is the last enemy, as 1 Corinthians 15:26 states, then how could it have been a part of His very good creation?

The Gospel is the single most important teaching in Christianity. Without Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross we could never have been reconciled to our Creator. But the foundation for the Gospel is found in Genesis, where a literal Adam ate a literal fruit and caused death and disease to come into the world. It’s because of Adam’s sin that Jesus came down to save us from death, the penalty of sin. But if God used death to create us, how can death also be the penalty for our sin? Why would Jesus come to save us from something that He Himself deemed very good? The implications of believing that God used evolution are a severe blow to the Gospel message.

So is it possible that God used evolution, and that Genesis is just a metaphorical story? The answer must be no. God could not have used evolution - and thus death - to create us, because then there would be no meaning behind Jesus’ death. It would render Jesus’ work on the cross useless. Jesus would have died for nothing.

Genesis is the foundation for the rest of the Bible, and what we believe it teaches concerning origins is extremely important. It’s not irrelevant or just a “side issue.” It is foundational to the Gospel; but without the Gospel, the entire Bible falls apart.

Do you believe evolution is compatible with the Bible? If so, why?

Guest Author: Micah Jank

20 Responses

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Judges says:

The notion that God used evolution is a fallacious one. God is a loving God. Why would He just put some bacteria to evolve on its own? Not to mention the amount of evidence for evolution (none!).

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ROMANS 1:20 says:

In response to the last paragraph:
Psalm 11:3 says, "If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?"

That is exactly what is happening in our churches (and Christian schools) today! "Genesis is the foundation for the rest of the Bible", and when we compromise in that area, we have no ground for the rest of the Bible.

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Josef says:

Right on, Micah! I was hoping that I would be reading an article from you soon! Keep them coming.

Isn't it so obvious that evolution is not compatible with Scripture? It's so sad that many professing Christians are some the most vocal opponents of biblical creation.

Micah says:

Hey Josef!

I agree, It really is a sad thing to see so many christians believing in evolution. Especially when it is so destructive to a rational understanding of the gospel.

Bobby says:

Yea, definitely not compatible. In fact I think it's telling that evolution is even in the same conversation with creation and the bible. I'm afraid it's all about what we "want to be true". I guess that for whatever reasons, there are Christians who want things like evolution to be a part of what we consider in regard to what exists and what is true. The truth needs nothing... but the lie can't exist without the truth.

Jerimiah17-9 says:

NO

I whole mindedly agree that evolution and science in general are incompatible with literal interpretation of any Bible, Qu'ran translation or Veda.
Scientific examination of evidence and consensus of experts should always trump the conjecture of ancient anonymous writers and the contemporary rationalization of the same.
Biology, geology, astronomy, physics etc. bring us more knowledge every day as the misconceptions of dogmatic thinking fade.

Science flies you to the Moon; religion flies you into buildings -- Richard Dawkins

Bobby says:

Hey Jerimiah17-9, (that's a great bible verse by the way)
You obviously mean that you whole mindedly DISagree since one can't agree with something that was not said. You are basing your comment on ideas that you yourself have introduced and not on the subject of this post. Whether science and evolution are the same or even similar would be a topic of it's own. Also, you have interjected "religion" into this, apparently assuming that we applaud religion. I'm not sure about others in this conversation, but I do not! I actually think that the quote from Richard Dawkins is quite good as far as it's literal content goes. I have a feeling it is intended to give the impression that the notion of God and creation is silly and even detrimental. However, religion is in no way synonymous with God or the Bible. Religion is man made, coming from the mind of men. and as Jerimiah 17: 9 says, "The human mind is more deceitful than anything else. It is incurably bad. Who can understand it?" Science on the other hand is discovery. Discovery of amazing things that go far beyond even going to the moon; It's discovery of things that ALREADY EXIST and we believe God is the one who put all that in place. This is not a ridiculous notion, and especially not when put side by side with the notion of evolution.

Micah says:

Hi,

>I whole mindedly agree that evolution and science in general are incompatible with literal interpretation of any Bible, Qu'ran translation or Veda. <

Okay, probably should clarify a few things here. I was not suggesting in the article that science is incompatible with the Bible (indeed that would be ridiculous since the Bible is the only rational foundation for science). I was saying that evolution (in the particles-to-people sense) is definitely incompatible with the Bible, for the reasons i listed and various other ones.
You suggested in your post that science is incompatible with the Bible, naturally i expected you would back this claim up with some rational support but alas, none was given.

>Scientific examination of evidence and consensus of experts should always trump the conjecture of ancient anonymous writers and the contemporary rationalization of the same.<

This is an Appeal to Majority fallacy. Just because many people agree on a matter does not make it true. As for 'scientific examination of evidence', well if the Bible were not true we would have no basis to do science in the first place so while i agree that scientifically examining the evidence is a good thing, it just makes no sense apart from a Biblical worldview. Take the idea of induction for example, science's foundation lies in this principle (that the future will be like the past). But how does the evolutionist know that the future will be like the past, can you explain how you know induction is true without first assuming it?


I appreciate the comment.

Micah

jerimiah17-9 says:

Josef > Isn't it so obvious that evolution is not compatible with Scripture?
Jeri: YES, just as Scripture is not even compatible with Scripture http://ffrf.org/legacy/books/lfif/?t=contra

Bobby,
I agree that Deism (you said "God is the one who put all that in place") is not a ridiculous notion at all (even though I do not find it probable).
What is ridiculous is dogmatic, fundamentalist thinking.

Although I take your point that I introduced an idea, I disagree that it was not on subject. Anyway, let me rephrase my comment to read:
I whole mindedly agree, IN AS MUCH AS evolution and science in general are incompatible with literal interpretations of ancient mythological texts.
I am giving my reasons for claiming they are incompatible.

To a greater extent, dogmatic thinking is the opposite of science.
Evolution"ism" and creation"ism" are not just two different sets of opinions; they result from very different ways of thinking.

BTW my opinion is slightly different to Dawkins's. I would say:
Science CAN FLY you to the Moon; DOGMATIC THINKING (religious or political) CAN FLY you into buildings.
Of course, Dawkins was specifically commenting on 9-11

Aloha and Shalom, Y'all

Micah says:

Hi again.

>Jeri: YES, just as Scripture is not even compatible with Scripture <

Unfortunately, the link you provided just shows that the author is quite good at taking scripture out of context.

I will address the critics points 1 by 1 below.

'Should we kill?'

We shouldn't 'murder', the Bible does not make the claim that killing is always wrong, there are certain circumstances where the taking of another life is justified (Exodus 22:2). Likewise, there were times when God commanded people to wipe out nations because of their rebellion against Him. As our judge God has the right to take any life where he see's fit, as well as command us to take life when He tells us to.


'Should we tell lies?'

I really dont see any contradiction in the scripture that was provided. Nowhere does it state, or even imply, that God lied to anyone. Just because God hates lying and does not lie Himself, does not mean that He cant use something evil like lying for his own purposes.


'Should we steal?'

Okay, i had to laugh when i read those verses in exodus being used as supposed examples of God endorsing stealing. I mean...really? If you had actually bothered to study these issues out for yourself, you may have saved yourself the embarrassment. The Israelites 'asked' the Egyptians for the stuff they received, there was no stealing involved whatsoever.

As for Jesus supposedly 'stealing' the donkey. Its obvious there is more to the story that was not explained, or do you really think that the owners of the donkey would simply let some people take their donkey away because 'the Lord hath need of him'?

Its possible that Jesus had made previous arrangements with the owners of the donkey so that when the disciples said 'the Lord hath need of him' they knew what it was about and allowed them to take the donkey. Regardless of why the owners let them take the donkey, there really is just not enough information from the text to just assume the disciples were stealing the donkey, but nice try.


About Jesus not keeping the Sabbath. I will direct you to this link since it does a much better job at explaining it then I could.
http://www.tektonics.org/gk/jesusignorelaw.html


‘Shall we make graven images?’

Now this really is just grasping at straws here. Apparently the critic thinks when the Bible makes the claim that we shouldn’t make any ‘graven images’ it means we cant make anything at all. But this is not the case, a ‘graven image’ in the appropriate context here means an object of worship. God did not want the Jews to be worshiping other gods with graven images. The Cherubim on the Ark of the covenant were not objects of worship, and neither were the bulls Solomon made.


‘Are we saved through works?’

We are saved through faith, not works. James is talking about works being evidence of our salvation. If the works are not there, then that person cant really have a saving faith. (Matthew 7:19, 1 John 2:4)
This doesn’t mean your works are what SAVES you, it means that if you really had saving faith then your works would come through.


‘Should good works be seen?’

Jesus is not saying in those versus that you shouldn’t do good deeds in public. He is saying you shouldn’t do good deeds in public so that you will be seen and praised by people.


‘Should we own slaves?’

For the slavery issue, to sum up. The ‘slavery’ the critic is thinking of, is nothing like the ‘slavery’ that old testament endorses. For a more extensive answer you can visit this link. http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2007/02/02/feedback-bible-slavery


‘Does God change His mind?’

The critic needs to take Jeremiah 18:7–10 into account. And most of those verses where it say’s God ‘repented’ are just a mistranslation. The more appropriate term would be to say that ‘God was sorry’. And yes, it is possible to grieve and feel sorry for something that you caused.


And with that I will stop with the answers to the supposed contradictions, these have all been answered many times over on various places so I don't really see the need, all it takes is a little searching to find the answers.
It’s clear that the critic didn’t bother to do much research at all on the matter anyways.

Thanks for the comment though.

Will Harris says:

I had a question, then through further consideration I think I answered it. Let me know if y'all think this is correct. I'll start with the question I had originally after reading the article. My question was,'could it not be possible that we did have to go through some changes after being cast out of the garden since in the garden our bodies did not have to fend off disease or infection/ the wear and tear of everyday toil producing 'thorns and thistles'?'. But then I thought of Micah's particles to people comment earlier and realized that such (comparatively) small changes would not be considered evolution, they would only be considered minor adaptations rather than conversion from one species to another. This, it seems to me, would be well within the range of plausibility. Am I thinking about this correctly? Let me know if my thinking breaks down somewhere.

Micah says:

Hi Will,

Although i do think its possible that God could have altered Adam and Eve slightly to be able to adapt to the new environment, i think the more likely scenario would be that He gave Adam and Eve those abilities when He created them. Since He knew Adam and Eve would disobey Him and eat from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, i would say He probably built Adam and Eve with this in mind and gave them the necessary things they would need for adapting in the post-fall world.
So there wouldn't have been any need for them to go through changes, since everything they need to survive would have already been built into them.

I hope I am making sense here.

Thanks for the comment!


Bobby says:

Jerimiah17-9,

Hey thanks for taking the time to get back on here with more of your thoughts. It's so impossible to know for sure if we are getting across what we want to in a context like this where we are mostly just mentioning the "tip of the iceberg" in regard to what we believe and would want to say. I appreciate the care you are taking to say what you mean.

So, I'd just like to comment on two things. One is your reference to "dogmatic" type belief and the other has to do with the theory of evolution.

1. Dogma... I know that many times people who express dogmatic views will use their "basis" for it (like a bible verse for example) as a way to feel strong and invincible in what is actually just their own opinion or what they would like to be the truth. There is manipulation and lack of true integrity in the firm stance that they take. I would think this sort of thing is distasteful to anyone who sees it for what it is. HOWEVER... I do think that there is an argument to be made in favor of dogmatic and fundamentalist thinking when it comes to certain things. I think that what is really going on has to do with what we think about the existence of God, and who or what we believe he is. If God exists… (a supreme, eternal, creator of all that exists etc.) Then there is surely reason for dogmatic adherence to what he says and to consider that everything else is subject to what he says and that there is no rationalizing or looking for a better way of looking at things etc. (Is that fundamentalism??) Everything about science would be a part of what he has done. We could not presume to understand better than he does through our feeble efforts to observe and record what he has done. A good example of this is the very topic of this post. Genesis says that God created the heavens and the earth in a certain time span. If we think we know better because of how smart we have become, then we do not truly believe in God at all. Maybe we believe in our own idea of what God could or should be… but if we ourselves are deciding who God is, I think it's safe to say we do not believe that God is real.

2. Evolution. I wish I could turn off my belief in God for a while just to prove that my thoughts about evolution are not merely guided by it's contradiction to what the bible says. I don't want to get into the many arguments that I'd love to get into about this subject, but I do want to point out that there seems to be a dogmatic and fundamentalist type of attitude in the way many people cling to the evolution argument that could only be explained as a religious fervor! With the advocates of the theory of evolution, I often get a sense of dogmatism and a fundamental belief that something along the lines of evolution HAS TO be the way because were that not so, then the existence of God would necessarily enter the conversation… again. :-) Maybe that's not fair, but I think it's equally not fair to equate evolution with science, and religion in general with God as described in the bible.

Jerimiah17-9 says:

Thanks Bobby,

I found your "I wish I could turn off my belief in God for a while ..." comment very interesting.
You certainly seem far more thoughtful and open-minded than other "defenders of the faith" on here.

Still I find it strange that you seem to just assume the inerrancy of "the Bible".
Also, just the fact that you call god 'He" puzzles me; does it (god) have Y-chromosomes?.

Moreover, if god -- Allah or YHWH -- existed, belief in it could stand on its own merit. It (god) would not need to be interpreted by humans, and certainly would not need the disgusting, unfair threat of eternal damnation for those of us whose truly cannot believe and who see no valid reason to pretend to.

My Background: By the time I was 13,
I had pretty well figured out that what you call scripture was written by humans for humans, and the only way an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent god made sense to me was for "god" simply to be EVERYTHING -- which eliminated any need to call it "god". This was no act of faith for me, as I was being raised a church-going Presbyterian in what seemed a totally Christian environment. It was pure reason.
I especially could not come to terms with Original Sin and Vicarious Redemption.
I could only see faith in Salvation through Jesus to be some kind of indulgence.

I am sure that most people take evolution on faith more or less, as you suggest -- but certainly not on DOGMATIC faith.
I cannot imagine any secular person I have known (or any non-dogmatic religious person) who would not rationally consider any evidence against it.

i went to Wabash College 1962-66, where only 1% or 2% of the students even pretended to be religious,
and Indiana U. which might have been 10%. or 20%. I have lived 17 years in very secular San Francisco and ten years in Japan,
which is < 5% Chistian and maybe 15% "religious" at all.

But I have also spent 2 years teaching high school in rural Idaho -- 39% Mormon + 59% Christian -- and am now in El Paso TX on the edge of the Bible Belt.
I have had many seriously Wahhabi Muslim students, European Catholics and atheists, Korean Christians, what have you.

I am just gob-smacked that any rational, educated adult could accept biblical mythology as unquestionable fact.
That fascinates me. Visiting that AiG theme park in KY was surreal.
On the other hand, everything that Danniel Dennett writes/says makes perfect sense to me (though I disagree here and there with Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris).
If you are truly open-minded and have the time, I would challenge you to read his "Breaking the Spell" and/or to
watch any of his YouTube appearances -- especially TED Talks.

So, that is why I enjoy debating y'all here. But it is time consuming, and I am more interested in science and history in general.

Anyway, as long as you respect the separation of religion (including creationism) from government, and do not attempt to indoctrinate children with fundamentalist dogma (it should stand on its own merit),
I completely respect your freedom of conscience and ask you to reciprocate. (On the other hand I have little respect for Lisle, Ham, the Hovinds et al, who strike me as charlatans.)

Keep the Rationality, Jeri

Bobby says:

Hey Jeri,

I take your latest, more in-depth post as a kind of "good bye" and that's fine if that's what you want. I feel a bit bad about it though because it seems like you want to leave on a certain footing which though I can understand, seems at the least, a bit lacking in class… and at the most, like a desperate attempt to keep on track. It just seemed a little much to me the condescension that you started to show this time with statements like "if you are truly open minded…" I don't know when you became our gauge for open mindedness or what respect ought to be. That last bit where you talk about "rationality" seems a lot more like trying to "stack the deck". Maybe it's just your "school teacher" coming through. I don't want this to sound worse than what I intend, but it's like you just laid down a bunch of rules and said, "Now as long as you follow these… I can respect you.

I want you to know that I care about you as a human being regardless of any and all of that and I have no resentment toward you. I hope you understand and believe that. I don't really understand how you think my statement about wishing I could stop believing in God for a while was anything special either. It's not even a stretch for me to say that I hope for your sake, that you are right and I am wrong about everything! I have nothing at all to lose if in the end, God does not in fact exist. On the other hand, you have so much to lose if you are wrong! To me, a statement like "I wish I could stop believing in God for a while" is not significant at all. That was meant only to emphasize my confidence that evolution is a ridiculous notion.

What I had hoped to make abundantly clear in my last comment was that I think that belief in God is the crux of the matter. For example, in your last paragraph you bring up the idea that it would be wrong to teach children that God does exist and that the bible is God's word. (paraphrased… tell me if I'm off) It's like you are not even trying at all to follow through with the point that I have been trying to make. If I believe… actually believe… that God exists, then I ABSOLUTLY SHOULD teach my children this. I don't think you are entering in to my example at all if you don't see that you would feel the same way. Why in the world would you not tell your children something that important??! Of course you would. You are simply not making room to even consider our arguments, you are only looking for a chance to make your own. This is the conclusion I have to come to when after all that was said, the thing that tickles your fancy is that I said I wish I could stop believing in God for a while. And by the way, I suspect that the real reason you don't like people like Lisle and Ham is that they are ready and able to specifically refute so much of what you hold dear.

Keeping it real… as requested. Bobby.

Ed Hettman says:

Nice reply, Bobby. Well thought out, hopefully read. I might have pointed out his demeaning reference to fascination with dealing with young earth creationists - as if studying insects or writing and anthropological thesis. There is no respect given from those who've disavowed the King because to them humans aren't created in the image of God but of a long insidious chain of randomly mutated genes from something that didn't have genes to stat off with.

Micah, thanks for the links. I'm looking forward to perusing the Tekton site. Great article and comments! God Bless!

Micah says:

Thanks Ed! and thanks for taking the time to read the article.

Micah

derp says:

hello their Micah,

are you the same one who posted on Jason Lisle's website? at anyrate i cant say that the stuff you posted about how logic is responsible for logic is very accurate, care to talk about it?

derp says:

"For the slavery issue, to sum up. The ‘slavery’ the critic is thinking of, is nothing like the ‘slavery’ that old testament endorses."
no its not, it clear that you havent read your bible when it is taking about slavery, and the AIG article just misses the point

Micah says:

Hi Derp,

>'are you the same one who posted on Jason Lisle's website?'

Yep, thats me. I frequent Dr. Lisles blog quite a bit.

'at anyrate i cant say that the stuff you posted about how logic is responsible for logic is very accurate, care to talk about it?'

You're going to have to be a bit more specific, i have talked about logic on the blog quite a bit so it might be best to quote the specific issue.
Regardless, you say it is not accurate, but then fail to provide substantiation for this claim. What is it that is inaccurate? I can't 'talk about it' until i know exactly what it is that you have qualms with.
Also, I don't hold to the idea that 'logic is responsible for logic'. God is responsible for logic, it is a reflection of the way God thinks. I hope this helps.

>"For the slavery issue, to sum up. The ‘slavery’ the critic is thinking of, is nothing like the ‘slavery’ that old testament endorses."
>>'no its not, it[sic] clear that you havent read your bible when it is taking[sic] about slavery, and the AIG article just misses the point'

-Sigh- You are only making assertions here. You claim, 'it[sic] clear that you havent read your bible when it is taking[sic] about slavery', but you fail to show how this claim is true. I could simply throw this statement back at you, but where would that leave us? This is why it is important to provide substantiation for the claims we make (granted, i'll admit that i fail to do this properly sometimes to but hey, none of us are perfect!).
You assert that the AIG article 'just misses the point' but again its hard to respond to merely an assertion. How does it miss the point? What specifically do you think is wrong with it? I cant have rational dialogue if you wont take the time to support the claims you make.

Thanks for the comment.

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