Christian, evolution and origins

Hi ! I am a student and grew up in a Christian family. I recently came into contact with questions about the relationship between evolution and Christianity. Although I have heard of some conflicts between the theory of evolution and Christianity before, I have not yet understood it in depth. Recently, I started to touch this topic again. Personally, I don’t particularly think that the theory of evolution and the theory of Christianity conflict with each other. They can compare each other and explore the world created by God. For example, I think they are fossils. Regarding origin, I believe that in Genesis 1-3, God created the world, the world and people, but I did not consider the direction of science, so I want to hear different people’s views on origin. And I still have some questions. When Christians disagree with science and the Bible, how should they answer wisely? Does conflict with Christians believe in evolution? Looking forward to your reply! Hope you all have a nice weekend!

Welcome to the forum, Gaby! You will find a variety of viewpoints here, but most would probably agree with your general statement that the theory of evolution (and other theories in science) are not in conflict with Christianity. The tricky part can be in how we understand what was intended to be conveyed in the book of Genesis, especially since we are not the culture it was written to.

I think Christians who disagree should prioritize finding common ground and being peaceful with one another, but also be sure to evaluate science truthfully, rather than starting with a conclusion and cherry-picking results from there. That’s one of the biggest issues I’ve seen. I grew up in a very strongly young-earth environment, so I’ve had some work to do in getting out of the “conflict” mentality. I wish you the best as you explore these questions!

2 Likes

Neither do I. In fact, I couldn’t believe in Christianity without evolution. For me it is the best argument against the philosophical problem of evil and suffering. It basically establishes that life requires suffering. It simply means we have to shift from the Deist understanding of God as a divine watchmaker (creator of dead things) back to the Bible understanding of God as a shepherd (creator of living thing). Self-organization is the essential nature of life and that means you cannot have life without the possibility of making mistakes. Life is all about growing and learning. But living things do not do this in a vacuum but in an environment with parents, teachers, farmers, and shepherds.

Yes, but it does not say that God designed living things in the same way that we make machines. God actually says “let the water bring forth swarms of living creatures” and “let the earth bring forth creatures according to their kinds” – sounds like evolution to me.

The truth is that these anti-science Christians have to twist, distort, and rewrite the Bible in order to make their magical necromancer version of God work – inventing sisters and incest never mentioned and ignoring Cain’s fear of an earth filled with people who would kill him if he wandered about. It has to invent giants from angels breeding with women in order to avoid the more natural understanding of Genesis 6 as God’s chosen taking their wives from all the other people on the earth, with children being giants in the sense of heroes, men of renown character and leaders of human civilization.

The plain fact of science is that there is no “life stuff” which you can add to non-living material in order to make it alive. Life is a complex process of interaction and organization by which a system learns and adapts to the challenges of an environment. So when it says God formed Adam from the dust and breathed into him the breath of life, what it is talking about is our bodies coming from the process of evolution and our minds brought to life by the inspiration (divine breath) of God.

This is how I would answer Christians regarding science and the Bible, anyway.

As for your second question

I do not understand. Are there some missing words in that question?

Do you mean “Does conflict exist when Christians believe in evolution?”

If so then I would say that there are some challenges which require thinking through. And not all the answers people come up with are agreeable to everyone. For example, some like to say the story of the garden is nothing but a metaphor and “Adam” meaning man represents all men somehow. This plays havoc with a lot of theology. But I don’t care for this approach and don’t see why science would require such a treatment of the story.

3 Likes

In a nutshell I look at it like this.

What is the purpose of Genesis 1-11( and specifically 1-2). When most Christians read it they are reading it from the paradigm that it’s mean to be read as literal history and literal science.

But there are two main problems with that. One is the issue that a literal interpretation of those verses ignores the clear genre of those stories. They are not wrote like the other stories in the Bible accepted as a more historical narrative. When we read even about the fantastic tales found in the stories of Moses we see it hammering out a lot more details. The pace is wrote closer to the stories found in kings and so on. But when we read the stories of genesis 1-11 we see a very fantastical tale that speeds through thousands of years in the matter of a few pages full of supernatural events and very catastrophic events. As soon as you hit chapter 12 it slows down, is more down to earth and teases out a lot more details and those details also hyperlink back to the narratives of the creation account.

But when you read genesis 1-11 you see that it more closely resembles books like Revelation or psalms like 74 which mentions God battling a multiheaded dragon in the ocean. When we read revelation we know it’s about real events that would happen and about events that did happen. But it’s wrote in a very hyperbolic symbolic way. In the same way genesis 1-11 is a creation mythology we see that revelation is an apocalyptic mythology.

The second issue is that if genesis is taken literally then it means that almost all scientists are wrong. It means biologists are wrong, geologists are wrong, botanists are wrong, and so on. It means that God intentionally tried to trick us because the fossil record supports evolution.

I think one of the best things to do is to read genesis 1-11 and do word studies. Look up the actual meaning of many words. Such as the word translated rib about Adam and Eve is actually half. It’s about Adam being cut in half and the other half becomes Eve. That’s why it says flesh and blood and the two come together and becomes one.

Look at the words translated as great sea creatures snd see that it actually means great sea monsters, specifically sea serpents.

Also consider some of the contention within the narrative. In genesis 1 it says that God created all earth creatures of the land and both humans, male and female, on day 6.

In genesis 2 we read that God made Adam, saw that it wa snot good that he was alone and so Adam named every single creature of the land, put him to sleep/given a vision and he was cut in half and put back together and the other half was a woman Eve. The story uses morning and evening. That means that for both accounts to be true that on Day six in the mornin he made Adam and all land animals. Then around lunch Adam begin naming all millions of species. Then he was placed in a deep sleep and a woman was made for him and he woke up. Even if there was only 1,000,000 animals including insects and Adam named then all in 3 seconds that means he spent 3,000,000 seconds naming all species. That’s over 800 hours of a lightening round. That’s impossible for a single day or even a single week. Even if that number is cut down to 1/4th it’s impossible.

Who was Cain afraid of? It says Cain was the vagabond drove off. Ever says any other potential siblings fled. It does not even mention potential siblings. When Cain Killed Abel it shows that his mother was grieving and that it was not until Seth was born that Eve felt he was replaced. If she had other kids she would not have felt like Cain was replaced.

There are literally dozens of issues with a literal reading.

2 Likes

It’s OK Gaby, don’t sweat it. Just be kind.

[As for these NOMA, this NOOMA guy tells it better than anyone I know.]

1 Like

This is also one of the few points I thought! Thank you so much for answer my questions!

1 Like

Sorry for my mis wording , I didn’t check it clearly. What you said can give me further thinking, thank you very much for your sincere answer!

It is true that there are loopholes literally speaking, so I think we can combine the content of the Bible and science to authenticate the world created by God. I also quite agree with what you said. Thank you for your answer, it is very helpful to me!

Thank you so much!

Thank God Gaby! It’s OK to believe God only due to Jesus :slight_smile:

1 Like

Well Gaby, you have raised a few good questions. Is the Bible a science book? Can science explain the spiritual? Is God sovereign over all of creation? How did God create the universe? When Jesus claims the universe is held and sustained by his spoken word, what would science say? Was Adam a real person? Is it important that he was real? Jesus spoke about Adam, as did the Apostle Paul. There are many questions like this that you will grapple with and should never become despondent

1 Like

Where’s He do that Paul?

1 Like

Hebrews 1:3

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.

It was through him that God “made the universe.” The Greek word here rendered “universe” is aiōnes, which primarily means “ages”; but its meaning cannot be restricted to “ages” either here or in 11:3, where it reappears in a similar context. The whole created universe of space and time is meant, and the affirmation that God brought this universe into being by the agency of his Son is in line with the statements of other New Testament writers that “all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3) and that “all things were created through him and for him” (Col. 1:16).

1 Like

So where does Jesus Himself make that claim again?

God has always made universes for sure, at the least as the ground of autonomous being in Himself. What did the writer (Clement? Paul? Luke? Timothy? Barnabas? Apollos? Priscilla? Junia (Joanna)? ) of Hebrews know that we don’t? [And how?]

1 Like

@Klax, it’s orthodox Christian belief to assert that the Bible is God’s word, all of it, not just the parts that quote Jesus. You don’t have to accept it, but no one else needs to defend it either.

Per the guideline: “Also, since this is a Christian discussion forum, we expect that basic Christian presuppositions like “God is good” and “the Bible is true” will not be constantly challenged by those who do not share those presuppositions. People of all beliefs are welcome to discuss evolutionary creationism here, but this is not the right place for debates on God’s existence or the general merits of the Christian faith.”

On a Christian discussion forum, people are allowed to assert, “The Bible is the word of God” unchallenged.

3 Likes

OK Christy. Might I ask where I did any of that on this thread? Or are you saying that Jesus claims the universe is held and sustained by his spoken word automatically, by possession, through the stylus of the author of Hebrews? And evolutionary creationism isn’t dependent on how God exists? I.e. how He is, goes about, with regard to nature. And Christian beliefs about that? None of which is core of course. Nobody has to answer a challenge to a particularly modern Protestant formulary. Nobody has to stop and think that all of these claims are interrelated. That one can be a creedal, orthodox Christian without them.

It’s just a general reminder, based on my general sense of where you are coming from. Jesus did not say the universe is held and sustained by his hand. But if Hebrews says it, then it is acceptable within Christianity to use the shorthand that “God says the universe is held and sustained by his hand.”

1 Like

:musical_note: We’ve got the whole world in our hands. :musical_note:

Just because something says it, doesn’t mean it is meant literally. And this is one where the metaphor is rather obvious. God is not Atlas, holding up the earth and heavens.

Stuffed with parables, dreams, and poetry, clearly a huge portion of the Bible is not meant to be taken literally.

This is one where I am even more of an opponent of the literal interpretation than Klax is, for it makes God a dreamer and poor carpenter rather than a competent creator who can make something which stands on its own. AND that is what we see in science – not a dream with no need for logical coherence but a concrete system of natural laws by which everything exists. God is a creator, not a dreamer (like any kid on the block) – that is not only itself a long Christian tradition but one with far more prominence in Christianity than this twist on a single phrase of a single passage of a single book in the Bible!!!. To be sure God does not simply sit back and watch. He is a participant and very much holding things to the purpose for which He made the universe. And in that metaphorical sense, YES, the universe is in His hands and sustained by His active presence.

Oh and the version quoted above is the Christian Standard Bible… some other versions have

RSV: He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power.

KJ: Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power.

Young’s Literal: who being the brightness of the glory, and the impress of His subsistence, bearing up also the all things by the saying of his might.

It is always a chancy thing to make one passage like this bear the weight of too much (theology and metaphysics in this case).

P.S. Perhaps this exchange/dialog (in this thread) is an example of how a feedback loop of responses can end up blowing things out of proportion. LOL

1 Like

[Content Removed By Moderator]

Hi, This is my first day and reply as a member.

Would you consider a new theory, about “evolution” being a misinterpretation of Darwin’s discovery of biological transmutation leading to specification?

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

This is a place for gracious dialogue about science and faith. Please read our FAQ/Guidelines before posting.