Since the 19th century, Americans and Europeans alike have debated over the theory of evolution. “Darwin himself struggled with the issues of natural selection as either a substitute for God or as an explanation of God’s activities”, (Day, 2009). This debate has caused a rift amongst teachers, school systems, and Christians, causing people to feel they must choose between one or the other. To choose one theory over another, one must understand the truths and controversies of each before making a decision. Once gaining an understanding of both and the history behind the movement, a conclusion has been made- that one theory does not counter act the other. Consequently, facts suggest there is no true conflict; evolution does not go against divine intelligence instead working together to explain the progress of life on earth.
Cline refers to evolution as the, “cornerstone of all modern biology”, (2012). Even before Darwin’s theory, many scientists believed in the possibility of evolution. Defined as, “the gradual unfolding of new varieties of life from previous forms over long periods of time”, evolution explains how reptiles descended from dinosaurs and how water mammals evolved into land mammals, (Day, 2009). In addition, some scientists theorize that humans developed from apes. The idea that humans evolved from animal to human form is at the heart of this controversy. It is human evolution which has creationist standing their ground on theology and biblical fact.
Creationists are opposed to the theory of evolution despite the relevant facts of its existence. “Seen as presenting an alternative explanation to creation”, most creationist feel that evolution denies the existence of God and that the world was created under a supreme authority of a deity, (Day, 2009). Evolution suggests God had no input to creation and development of life. Due to this, creationists are against evolution. As a result, “Creationist do not want God’s hand removed from the creation of species and they see Darwin’s dangerous idea doing just that”, (Good, 2003). Feeling as if their religion is being threatened, Creationists are doing what they can to maintain biblical stories as historical fact.
Both evolution and creationism have faults. Although evolution is theorized by science, it goes against references made in the Bible. This includes:
- The earth was made and established in six days
- God had no hand in the existence of animal species that evolved through evolution
- Considers man to be part of the biological world, (Day 2009).
Furthermore, “creationism does not address certain aspects of origin” including:
- How God created
- Does not indicate creation in time but of time
- Does not imply instantaneous creation as told in the Genesis story, (Day, 2009).
In this era, it is hard to deny the truth of evolution. “Genetics, biochemistry, ecology, animal behavior, neurobiology, and especially molecular biology- have supplied powerful evidence and detailed confirmation”, to the theory of evolution, (Ayala, 2008). With this new information at hand scientist are able to develop medicine. This includes the study of diseases and viruses to explain how bacteria have evolved. Science indicates that some microorganism have begun to adapt and defeat modern medicines. In this way, evolution is significant to advancements made in science. “The detailed results of the Human Genome Project on the structure of human DNA have been interrupted by biological scientist as a very strong evidence for evolution”, (Robinson, 2011). With evolution no longer a theory and an absolute fact, evolution continues to be up for debate. As many as 60% of teacher refuse to take on the subject in modern biology classes, in fear of backlash from the school board, parents, and students, (“Huffington Post”, 2011).
With evolution a reported fact creationists are on board to except evolution as an explanation of God’s design. As iterated earlier, “scientific truth and biblical truth are not in conflict”, (Day, 2009). There is no indication of why Creationist cannot maintain their current belief that the world was created by God and concur with the evidence of evolution. “In 1950, Pope Pius XII issued a papal encyclical letter Humani Generis which encouraged belief in evolution”, (Robinson, 2011). Ironically, the Pope agreed with evolution before additional facts supporting evolution were founded. As a result, “scientist and religious authors… see no conflict between the evidence for evolution and their belief in God”, (Ayala, 2008).
Scientist base their ideas and theories on fact, experiments, and information gathered. However, religion is based on faith. Although the Bible can be seen as a historical reference, it also “holds multiple genres including literary, narrative, poetic, [and] allegorical, thus a literal interpretation is not necessarily the appropriate one”, (Day, 2009). The Pope also agrees. The Bible indicates that the world was created in six days. Most creationists take this meaning as historical fact. However, since the 1950’s the Catholic Church has “taught that the Genesis creation story should not be interpreted literally but symbolically”, (Robinson, 2011).
In many ways, science and religion cannot be mixed or intermingled. Religion, in various aspects, transcends science and “concern different aspects of the human experience”, (Ayala, 2008). Both religion and science are important to human life. “Before 18th century the age of the earth and the date of creation was established from biblical data and creation was not questioned”, (Day, 2009). As the development of science and biology continues to be explored, the bible is no longer the primary source to answer questions of scientific matters. Today, Christians continue to have different responses towards the idea of evolution versus creationism. However, as time moves on and new developments in science are discovered, more individuals such as myself find no fault in believing both evolution and creationism. “As a scientific mechanism [evolution] does however potentially explain the way God acts in nature”, (Day, 2009).
In conclusion, there is no indication that one must choose evolution or creationism. Evolution does not deny the existence of God, nor does it go against His hand in creation. However, as proposed by Darwin in his own battle with science and religion, evolution provides a valid explanation of how God works. Through evolution the Creator is able to transcend animal species from one into another, developing new species of animals with different skills and additional value to Earth and life on Earth. As a result, organisms “have been designed for serving certain functions and for certain ways of life… only an omnipotent creator could account for the perfection and functional design of organisms”, (Ayala, 2008). Although these organisms were created by God, evolution allowed organism to transform into the various species that we know and see today.
- Ayala, F. (2008). Science, Evolution, and Creationism. PNAS-Proceeding of the National
Academy of Science of the United States of America, 105(3) Retrieved from: http://www.pnas.org/content/105/1/3.full
- Day, A. (2009). Notes on science and christian belief. Informally published manuscript,
Religious Studies, Ridley College Certificate of Bible and Ministry, Melbourne, Australia. Retrieved from http://www.iscast.org/science_faith_intro/Chapter_7.pdf
- Evolution vs. creationism: Study reveals public school science lagging. (2011 Jan, 31)
Huffington Post. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/31/evolution-vs-creationism-_n_815664.html
- Cline, A. (2012, May 27). Evolution and creationism: Issues, science, and religion.
- Good, R. (2003). Evolution and creationism: One long argument. The american biology
teacher, 65(7), 512-516. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/4451550?uid=17731&uid=3739616&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=3&uid=67&uid=17729&uid=62&uid=3739256&sid=21100825128091
- Robinson, B. A Brief history of the conflict between evolution and creation science.
(2011, April 5). Retrieved from: http://www.religioustolerance.org/ev_hist.htm