Evolution theory vs God?

Hello everyone!

I am student currently attending a Christian school, and while I share similar beliefs I am not a Christian. With that said, in bible class we are exploring the very controversial topic of origin and God, and I wanted to ask can evolution and God coexist or are they two opposing entities? Please share your honest perspective.

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Hi, Marley - and welcome to the forum!

You ask:

They can coexist - in the same way as God and gravity or God and mathematics, or God and inertia can coexist. Or I should put it this way … the existence or non-existence of God does not rest on the validity of our understandings of physical phenomena. In fact (I would way) God’s existence does not ride on our opinion about it at all - but more to the point: it would be a strange thing, would it not, for our philosophies or theologies about God’s existence or Christ’s identity to ride on scientific things. To be sure - some creationists draw a straight line between all that and the trustworthiness of scripture - really meaning: their particular understanding of said scriptures, which they see as making scientific claims that ought to be verifiable in the science arena. But I think all of those jumps already involve more than one misstep. The final misstep, in my opinion, is to treat the scriptures as a sort of monolithic entity, independent of any context or culture, and finally subject to our modern empirical verifications.

Many Christians here reject nearly all of those presuppositions, and see no reason, from scriptures or otherwise, why scriptures should be demeaned, dismissed, or defined as only one recent modern tradition has chosen to approach them.

Sorry - that may have gotten into some weeds there just a bit. But if none of that was useful to you, hopefully others here will be able to fill the gap.

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

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

Thank your you for sharing, I found your comment very insightful! I wanted to ask what contributed to your perspective on this matter as well as how you handle perspectives that conflict against such notions?

The process of evolution can be demonstrated by anyone following published written procedures. Therefore it is not reasonable deny that evolution happens. Furthermore the evolutionary origin of the species can also be demonstrated by anyone following published written procedures. So it is not reasonable to deny that the species have an evolutionary origin. The existence of the God of Christianity and the Bible is not demonstrable, but neither is the non-existence of this God demonstrable. Therefore it is not reasonable to expect other people to agree with whatever decision you make about the existence of such a God.

As to whether the two ideas are logically compatible, that would depend on how you choose to understand the God of Christianity and the Bible. If you insist on interpreting the Bible with a lot of twisting, bending, and adding things to the Bible which are contrary to the findings of science then of course the result will be an incompatibility with science.

God 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 Bible doesn’t speak of Cain and Seth having sisters let alone marrying them. Instead we read in chapter 4 that Cain is afraid all the people out in the world would kill him if he wandered. Reading Genesis chapter 6,

Genesis 6:1 6 6 Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, 2 that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. 3 And the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” 4 There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.

This sounds to me like an explanation of who the sons of God’s chosen, Adam and Eve, married, which were the daughters of all the other people out there which Cain was so afraid of.

So what then of Genesis 2:7? Is God a necromancer animating golems of dust and bone with magic? Well science has discovered 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, I think it is talking about our bodies coming from the process of evolution and our minds brought to life by the inspiration (divine breath) of God.

Personally, 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, shepherds, and perhaps God.

Over all for me, it’s been a process of observation, both of scientific consensus as well as how various camps represent themselves or their positions … who is able to produce more coherent and complete responses, able to explain the most what geological and cosmological features of the world and universe. I’m also interested in understanding history and scriptures accurately, since I believe God is a God of all truth and reality. So I am always in pursuit of that, and this is where God has led me thus far. I’ve read from various camps on this issue from many different authors (both believers and nonbelievers) - and of course always reading and re-reading all of scriptures themselves. So I suppose those readings and studies, along with discussion and interaction with many people either in person or in forums such as this one have all helped bring me to where I currently am.

Like you I am not a Christian but even so I don’t believe the Bible makes any claim to being an empirical reference book. I personally don’t believe the cosmos was the deliberate product of any being’s intention but I do believe what gives rise to God belief is real and important.

“What gives rise to God belief” might be the acceptance of legitimate testimony and the rejection of false testimony. That makes it real and important.

Right, who knows?

Maggie, among others.

Yes. Many are certain, often of different things.

Hi! I’m a student and I was wondering if you’d be able to answer the question, Can you believe in both Genesis and the idea of evolution? and also do you think the bible is meant to be taken literally or not? It would be awesome if anyone answered!

Hello, and welcome. :slightly_smiling_face:

The answer to your first question is definitely ‘Yes’, but with qualifications. The answer to your second question is also definitely ‘Yes’, again with qualifications. What is in question is what parts to take literally and which parts to take figuratively. There is both literal history in the Bible as well as parables and poetry, the latter two obviously containing metaphors. There are also other kinds of literature included, apocalyptic and prophetic, for instance, and there is a lot of affirmation that early Genesis is of an ancient Near Eastern (ANE) creation story genre.

Thank you for your response! I really enjoyed your perspective. this helped.

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(Note my edit, adding the last sentence.)

Got it thanks!

I don’t think evolution and creation are a big problem in the Christian community. I too have never understood the point in arguing over it. It doesn’t matter where we come from but where we’re going. Why does it matter if genesis was or wasn’t literal? As Christians, we know that God loves us and that Jesus died for us and that we have a mission to love our neighbors while we’re still here on this earth. Isn’t that enough in terms of meaning?

Yes you can believe in both Genesis and the idea of evolution. Some parts of the Bible is meant to be taken literally and some metaphorically. You should note that many stories and parables in the Bible requires interpretation because of the nature of the words, which sometimes makes it hard to be taken literally.

I think there is a lot of conflicts because i guess evolution is saying that humans evolved from animals and in scripture, it says God created us. This conflicts with each other and therefore creates a big problem in both the Christian and science communities.

Thank you for your insight. This was very helpful!

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

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