Did God Use Evolution?

It is now commonly accepted in western culture that humans are the product of evolution. The idea is that all life (including humans) have evolved from simpler forms of life over the course of a very long period of time.

Let’s start by asking the following question.

How does the Bible explain the origin of human beings?

The Bible account in the book of Genesis tells us that God created the first human beings directly himself.

7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8 And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.

Genesis 2:7-8 (ESV)

If we are to take this account literally and on face value then the theory of evolution appears to be incompatible. For the Christian, God directly breathed life into man and formed him.

This of course creates some problems with navigating the culture that we live in because evolution is commonly accepted.

What are the implications of the Biblical account?

We are then faced with the possible options:

  1. The Bible is not accurate or reliable. We might as well not bother following Jesus at all then.
  2. Evolution did not take place.
  3. Genesis is describing events that are taking place metaphorically not literally.

The latter option seems unlikely and most likely comes from our desire to fit in with our peers but we’ll consider it as a possible option for now.

A footnote on adaptation

It’s worth noting that the Biblical view in Genesis is completely compatible with the idea of adaptation (gradual mutation within a species) but rejects the idea that a species could become something else entirely (e.g. evolution asserts human beings have evolved from apes).

Could God have used evolution to create humans?

Let’s pursue the possibility that our final option is correct and the events of creation described by the Bible are not literal.

Even still, the theory of evolution remains thoroughly incompatible with central Christian doctrine. Here’s why.

Evolution says death isn’t the result of sin

Evolution necessarily requires death in abundance to work. Mutation theoretically occurs over millions of generational iterations. This means that death was already present in the earth before the creation of man.

But we know from the rest of scripture that sin is a result of man’s disobedience to God. And the wages of sin are death. Therefore sin didn’t cause death and who could blame us for sinning if we are a product of death itself?

This also has huge implications on the nature of God.

Evolution says God is evil

If God used evolution to create man then God used the deaths of countless generations of pre-human species to do so. Not only does this mean that God is the author of death but it also raises huge ethical questions around these previous generations.

God is good therefore he cannot do anything evil. Now that sin and death is in the world, God uses it (think Jesus on the cross) to redeem humanity. But he is not the originator of it. Yet evolution implies he is.

Evolution has moral implications

There have been many periods of history when a group of human beings (usually identified by race) have been treated as sub-human. Yet this is the inescapable conclusion of the theory of evolution. When we consider those previous generations of pre-human life, at which point did they become human beings, made in the image of God?

God did not use evolution to create human beings

Although it’s tempting to try to fit the culture we live in by asserting God could have used evolution, it’s clear to see that the Bible teaching is directly contradictory to the theory of evolution.

Interested in finding out more about the philosophy of a Christian worldview? Watch this teaching that explains why evolution cannot be true here.

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