Can a Christian believe in the Bible and evolution?
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
Evolution and the biblical creation account virtually start in the same way: there was nothing, then there was something. The evolutionist argues that this something come about by chance given enough time, while the creationist would say that this something come about because God spoke it into being. One view has no space for God, the other view has no option but God. Keeping these two distinctions, can a Christian believe in the Bible and evolution? What are the options?
Evolutionist. The first option is full blown evolution – the evolution theory is wholly true thus there is no need for God, and in fact (as some may consider) the very thought of a God is offensive. Therefore, it is safe to say that a Christian should not throw out Genesis and hold to a pure evolutionist view.
Under this view it needs to be clarified that there are two main forms of evolution: macro – a whole new species evolves from another species, e.g. an elephant to a dassie; and micro – within a species adaptive changes can occur, e.g. the numerous differences in birds around the world. Both forms are upheld by an evolutionist, but the main argument centers upon macroevolution.
Creationist. The second option is full-blown creation – as the pages of Genesis explain the creation of the world, so it happened (also known as fiat creation). There is no option but to have God at the center of this view. Therefore, it should be clear that a Christian can wholeheartedly uphold this view (see the book references below to read some thought-provoking arguments for the creation option).
Here it would seem good to briefly offer my personal opinion on the two forms of evolution. As a Christian, I have a problem with macroevolution, but I would consider microevolution as part of God’s amazing and good creation.
Theistic Evolution. The third option is right in the middle, God created as specified by Genesis but because the time in each day is argued to be unknown, God created through the means of evolution – those who have subscribed to this option appease both the creationist and the evolutionist by saying yes to both of them. Therefore, it is possible for a Christian to uphold this option as it does not deny Genesis or the existence of God.
This is where it would seem most of modern Christianity finds itself, but as a consideration, read John 1:1-4 and Colossians 1:15-20 and meditate on the power of God, Job 38-42. The thought that God took millions of years and was very uninvested in his creation does not seem to fit the rest of Scripture.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for creating the world. Please help us understand how our world was created by you. Your invisible attributes and divine nature are clearly perceived in your creation ever since you created all things. Help us to live in your creation as you designed us to. Amen.
Our next journey will take us through
Genesis 1:1-2:3. Why is a high view of Genesis so important for humans?
If you are interested in doing some personal reading and investigation into Genesis and evolution here are three great books to add to your library:
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (evolution worldview)
Snubbing God by Victor Kuligin (evolution worldview)