NEW HARVEST’S POSITION ON EVOLUTION
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Evolutionary theory sees its roots as lying in a work presented by Charles Darwin in 1859 with the title “The Origin of Species”. The core of his observations was that “all organisms compete for resources, and those that had some innate advantage would prosper and pass on that advantage to their offspring. By such means would species continuously improve.” (A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson p.465). Despite the title the book does not explain how species originated. “Darwin’s theory suggested a mechanism for how a species might become stronger or better or faster – in a word, fitter – but gave no indication of how it might throw up a new species.” (Ibid p.473). It was only when Darwin’s observations were linked to work done by a monk named Gregor Mendel on dominant and recessive genes that the theory of evolution began to gain credibility. “Darwin saw that all living things are connected, that ultimately they trace their ancestry to a single, common source; Mendel’s work provided the mechanism to explain how that could happen.” (Ibid p.475).Evolution only gained widespread acceptance towards the middle of the 20th century and has now become the dominant palaeontological theory.
The theory of evolution challenges Christian faith at two levels: The reliability of the Bible (it presents an alternative to the Genesis explanation of creation) and the existence of a Creator God (it has led to the Big Bang theory and the concept that everything in the universe has come about by chance).
NEW HARVEST’S POSITION
This article will not attempt to address the theory of evolution on a point-by-point basis for the following reasons:
- After more than 150 years it is still just a theory. Not enough evidence has yet been found to establish evolution as fact, and while the jury is still out Christians have no reason to abandon their position on the veracity of the Bible or the existence of a Creator God.
- The evidence that does exist to support the theory of evolution is so scanty that a greater leap of faith is required to “link the dots” in the evolutionary path than is required to believe in a Creator God.
- Christians have no quarrel with Darwin’s evolution/adaptation observations or with the influence of Mendel’s dominant/recessive genes. These can be seen in the refining of dog breeds, horses, plants etc. It is not the observed data from which evolutionary theory is drawn which is in contention, but the conclusions themselves.
- Christians acknowledge that the Genesis presentation of creation is not a scientific one (what is the length of a “day” if the sun was created on day four of creation? [Gen.1:14-19]; who did the sons of Adam and Eve marry?[Gen. 4:17-26]) . Its purpose seems to be to answer the question “Who made all this?” rather than “How was it made?” It is this issue which is for us at the heart of the evolution vs creation debate.
As Christians believing in a Creator God we hold that all things in existence originated from God and were made for His pleasure (Isaiah 45:12; Rev. 4:11). We believe that mankind has been created in God’s likeness to rule the earth on His behalf (Gen. 1:26-30). This implies that our existence on earth has meaning and purpose as we are created to have fellowship with God and to seek His plan for our lives so that His will might be done “on earth as it is in heaven”. More than that we believe that God has sent His Son into the world to rescue us for an eternity in His Kingdom, a Kingdom which far exceeds anything we have experienced in the physical world. Our world view is therefore positive and encouraging, enabling us to make sense of our existence and that of the universe. It gives us a purpose for now and a hope for the future.
On the other hand the theory of evolution has spawned a world view which is nihilistic. If we originated by chance from a primordial slime and our existence is merely the result of evolutionary adaptations and genetic permutations, then life can have no meaning. We are simply part of a random biological process living out our brief span of existence for no apparent reason. If there is no Creator God then there is no ultimate authority from whom would come notions of “right” and “wrong”. We have an irrational origin, an irrational existence and no means of choosing right from wrong. Everything becomes relative to my personal pleasure and survival, and my pleasure and survival becomes meaningless anyway!
As Christians we see no value in adopting a worldview like this, especially on the basis of the scanty evidence at hand for the theory which has spawned it. One has to take a tremendous leap of faith to believe that the evolutionary worldview is correct, a leap of faith which we would rather encourage folk to take in the direction of a Creator God who has ultimate authority, cares for His creation, loves humankind, gives us meaning and purpose, provides us with direction and counsel, and has prepared an eternity for us far beyond the beauty of the created world.