God and Evolution

(Daniel) #21

Richard Dawkins

(Christy Hemphill) #22

Can you provide a link where he documents his representative survey? Or even a link to this supposed claim of his?

(Daniel) #23

No because it doesn’t exist. Though Dawkins has contradicted himself about this many times…

What I don’t understand is all the fuss about reconciling scripture and evolution (Theistic Evolution)
If Theistic evolution is based on origins and evolution can’t explain origins.

(George Brooks) #24


Evolution is about changes in genetics.

In contrast, The creation of life, assuming it wasn’t totally in the hands of God, is how we get to the point where there is such thing as genetics.

There are lots of people who are relatively satisfied with the state of our knowledge regarding Evolution … but who are still waiting for the big breakthrough for the Origin of Life scenarios!

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #25

Then why did you say,


I’ve tried for a few minutes to understand these two sentences (actually a sentence and a fragment, but who’s counting), to no avail. Would you mind elaborating a bit on what you mean here? I thought Christy made it pretty clear when she said,

Glad to have you here interacting with the Forum (sincerely, despite my pushback).

(Christy Hemphill) #26

Welcome to the forum, by the way. (Probably should have gotten that out of the way before getting all over your case for your bad definitions of evolution. Sorry, I was distracted. :slight_smile: )

The “fuss about reconciling scripture and evolution” as you put it, is based on some presuppositions. As a Christian, I believe the Bible reveals God’s truth about reality. As a rational, thinking person, I believe nature reveals true things about reality, and science is the method we use for studying nature. As a Christian, I believe God created nature and all the laws that govern it, so any truth revealed by nature is just as much God’s truth as the truth he revealed in Scripture. I believe any apparent contradictions and conflicts between God’s truth revealed in Scripture and God’s truth revealed in nature can be “reconciled” by a proper understanding of both.

Evolutionary creation (which is the term preferred over theistic evolution) is not a scientific model, it’s a theological truth claim. I don’t propose some special kind of evolutionary model because I believe God is the creator. Science excludes the supernatural in its explanations. The science of evolutionary creation is the same science as the science of “atheistic” evolution.

There is nothing about the evolutionary model in my mind that “explains” Scripture. Science doesn’t explain the Bible and the Bible doesn’t explain science. Reconciling science and the Bible is about not insisting on contradictory truth claims. The problem is that many Christians don’t make this distinction and insist that either you have to let the Bible tell you things about natural history and you have to believe them even if they contradict everything we know about natural history from studying nature. Or they say that you have to impose a scientific understanding of natural history on the narratives in Genesis and pretend that is what they are talking about. Neither of those options are good options.

You are right that evolutionary creation is about “origins” in that biblical interpretations of the origins of life and humanity that contradict established scientific facts like common descent or an ancient universe are considered problematic. But that does not mean evolution explains the origin of life. Science does not (yet) have an explanation for the origin of life. I believe God is the origin of life and the evolutionary process describes how God created the diversity of life we see.


Others are handling the theological side of things, so I thought I might make some comments on the scientific side.

Nearly all theories in science cover a limited part of nature. For the theory of evolution, it only covers how life changes over time. It doesn’t attempt to explain where life came from. In fact, if the very first organism was created by God and all life evolved from that very first organism then nothing in the theory of evolution would change. This is what Darwin had to say about evolution and the origin of life:

"There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved. "–Charles Darwin, “Origin of Species”

Even Darwin has the first life having life breathed into it, and then they evolve from there.

I suspect that your confusion may lie in the fact that people like Dawkins who talk about evolution also put forth the idea of abiogenesis. Obviously, just because Dawkins talks a lot about evolution does not mean that everything he talks about is a part of the theory of evolution. If Dawkins starts talking about how solar systems form, this is obviously not a part of the theory of evolution. Most scientists (perhaps all) do not believe that the evolutionary mechanisms of inheritance, mutation, selection, and speciation can explain where life came from since those mechanisms would not apply to nonliving matter.

(Daniel) #28

Agreed, but if what you are saying is correct, and I would argue that it is… It is impossible for evolution to explain the origin of life?

So then why bother with it. In my mind there is no way that we need to make the creation story “work” with a theory that is questionable at best, and isn’t even capable of talking about the same things that the creation story is talking about.

(Daniel) #29


I agree science must match the Bible…
Thy Word is truth… Science isn’t truth, science is us observing… that is a big difference btw the Word of God and science (the observations of men)

If we don’t have one unquestionable standard like the Bible then we are in a sorry mess.

(Christy Hemphill) #30

Actually both making observations about the natural world and understanding what the Bible means involve fallible human faculties. The meaning of the Bible is not magically implanted by God into human brains.

But the Bible needs to be interpreted. How did your interpretation become “one unquestionable standard”?


How much of “the Word of God” is a product of human effort?

We don’t have the original written words so there is much human effort spent on piecing together the various manuscripts and reconciling the differences found.

Once you have a source then it has to be translated. This requires knowledge of the ancient culture and languages and as Christy can tell you this is no easy task.

Once you get it in your native language you have to interpret the text. You have to understand what the text meant to the original readers in their culture and then what it means to you in your culture.

All of the above is done by the dint of human labor.

Given the process that understanding the Bible requires how do you end up with an “unquestionable standard”?


It is impossible for the germ theory of disease to explain the origin of life. Does that mean we throw out the theory which explains the cause of infectious diseases? Is the Germ Theory of Disease questionable because it does not explain where the first germs came from?

The creation story doesn’t talk about the origin of biodiversity, which is what the theory of evolution talks about? Do we throw out the Germ Theory of Disease because it does not talk about everything that the creation story talks about?


What is the literal interpretation of the Bible?
It can equate to the dictionary definition of literalism: “adherence to the exact letter or the literal sense”, where literal means “in accordance with, involving, or being the primary or strict meaning of the word or words; not figurative or metaphorical”.
If the bible says God created the heavens and the earth in 7 day, that is literally what it means. Science can prove that the heavens and earth began billions of years ago and are literally changing everyday. The heavens and the earth or not static as the literal interpretation of the bible would suggest, but dynamic as science can prove.

(George Brooks) #34


The issue here is terminology.

Asking Evolution to explain the Origin of Life is like asking Masterpiece Theater to weekly televise a wrestling match: this isn’t what Masterpiece Theater was intended to do.

It requires a different discipline of science (biochemistry, and the like) … or of multiple sciences … to explain how we got to the first life forms with DNA or related genetic information.

If what you really want to ask is: can science explain the origin of life. … I will concede, I don’t know. But that’s why I’m on the BioLogos pages… we acknowledge the role of God in ways that pure science doesn’t accommodate well.

Do you understand these distinctions?

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #35

This one got a hearty laugh out of me, George. Wow… Masterpiece Theater. That’s one I hadn’t thought of in a looong time. I can just imagine that Rondeau opening theme playing as various WWE Wrestlemania characters growl at each other menacingly onscreen…

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #36

I am going to disagree a bit with everyone making everyone happy, of course.

First of all and most importantly, according to my Bible God’s Word is not the Bible, it is Jesus Christ, the Logos of God. See John 1:1.

Second, this means that the Bible is holy and good, it is the product of inspired humanity and thus has the limits of inspired humanity as recognized by Hebrews 1: 1-2. The Bible is primarily about theology, which is how we understand God. Science is our understanding of nature, which is subject to change.

Third, Darwin wrote in the final paragraph of the Origin : “Thus from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely the production of higher animals, directly follows.” p. 459. Pelican pb ed.

This long violent (war) process is not a 24 hour day, but neither is it creation through the Logos, Jesus Christ. Thank God, we can reconcile Genesis 1 with John 1:1-3 by reconciling Darwinian evolution with Ecology so that science and theology are in agreement.

I wish that BioLogos would do so instead of peddling a version of S. J. Gould’s NOMA, Non-Overlapping Magisterial Authority.


(Mervin Bitikofer) #37

When or where has Biologos or any of its scholars / writers ever done this? NOMA essentially means Team A gets this turf over here, and Team B gets that totally separate turf over there. Biologos (to my knowledge) says science gets this turf over here, and its turf is entirely inside and subsumed by God’s turf which includes everything. That’s what I’ve heard Biologians supporting, but maybe I’m only hearing what I want to hear. Will be happy to be corrected if that is needed.

(Christy Hemphill) #38

It has been asserted that science doesn’t give us special insight into the Bible and the Bible doesn’t give us special insight into science. But that is different than NOMA.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #39

What I hear Christie saying is that science is right because it is based on God’s Creation, not that Science is wrong if it is based on a misunderstanding of God’s Creation.

(Christy Hemphill) #40

:confused: Don’t quite understand that…