Evolution is the process by which less complex organisms gradually change and mutate over time into entirely different species. The theory of evolution as put forth in most science text books today claims that the first living cell emerged on earth something like 3.7 billion years ago. There was no life on earth and then this cell started it all. Then this single celled organism eventually evolved into more complex forms of life which in turn evolved and so on and so forth to produce every form of living thing that exists on earth today.
Does the Bible Disagree with Evolution?
It depends on who you ask. There are several different views on evolution. I'll mention the three that relate most to the Christian worldview.
Atheistic Evolution: This view believes that evolution is true and rejects the existence of God and denies the truth of the Bible. Humans and life were not created by God but, instead, the entirely natural process of evolution explains the origin of life. That's it.
Theistic Evolution: This view holds God, the Bible, and evolution together on equal ground in an effort to use the modern theory of evolution to interpret the Bible's creation account. God created the universe and the earth. Then God created the first living cell. Ever since then, God has been guiding the process of evolution to produce all of the creatures we see today, including mankind. There is variation among those who hold to this view. Some would say that humans evolved in this way as guided by God just like everything else. Others would say that God used evolution to create everything else, but He uniquely created mankind as described in Genesis 2.
Literal Interpretation of Genesis: This view holds to the creation accounts of Genesis as a literal account and therefore must reject the theory of evolution. Here are some of the reasons a literal reading of Genesis is incompatible with evolution along with a typical Theistic Evolutionist's response to it.
- The creation of the plants, animals, fish, birds, insects/lizards, and Adam and Eve occur in what Genesis 1 says is a time span of seven days. The fact that these are 24 hour days is emphasized by the fact that the phrase "and there was evening and there was morning". This is incompatible with the modern theory of evolution which teaches that the process of evolution took millions of years to go from single celled organisms to plants, plants to animals, animals to birds, etc.
- Theistic evolutionists would say that the Bible here is using the word "day" to represent an undefined period of time, which is technically possible with that specific Hebrew word. Each of these "days" could have been millions of years. They would also say that the phrase about there being evening and morning is a metaphor for the beginning and ends of these million year periods.
- In Genesis 1:11, when God creates plants, He commands them to produce seeds after their own kind. A similar phrase is repeated for the fish and the animals. This seems to indicate that God created plants that would reproduce more of the same kind of plant, fish that would reproduce more of the same kind of fish, and animals that would reproduce more of the same kind of animal. This is incompatible with evolution which says that species eventually reproduce entirely different species.
- I have never heard what theistic evolutionists would say to this. If you know, drop it in the comments section!
- Genesis 2 gives us a zoomed in account of how God created mankind on the sixth day. In this account, God forms Adam out of the dirt and breathes life into Him. Then, He takes a rib from Adam and forms Eve. A literal reading of this is incompatible with evolution which says that the first humans evolved from some form of monkeys or apes (I can't remember which exact species the current theory would claim).
- There are differing opinions for theistic evolutionists at this point. Some would say that this account did literally happen and humans were created uniquely and separate from the process of evolution. Others would say that this account in Genesis 2 is a poetic story told to teach us that God is our Creator who cares for us.
To clarify though, I won't brand you a heretic if you hold to Theistic Evolution as long as you still agree that God created all things out of nothing and that God created mankind in His image. If you do, then I consider you my Christian brother or sister, though I would lovingly tell you I think you have a very poor way of interpreting the Bible.
Is Evolution a Proven Fact or a Theory?
This one is a tricky question. In the strictest terms, I don't think evolution could ever be proven as a fact because we can't go back in time and find out. However, speaking from personal experience, I have seen science textbooks at school, professors and teachers, average people on the street, family members, and scientists on the Discovery and History channels who all claim matter-of-factly that evolution is a proven fact.
However, I have to disagree with this assumption. Why? Do I disagree because I just don't like the theory and it hurts my feelings as a Christian? Those things are true, but not the only reasons I find to highly doubt the theory of evolution. Here are a few...
It has yet to be reproduced in an experiment: The scientific method states that for something to be considered a fact, it must be repeatably observed in experiments by more than just one scientist. We have never seen one species produce another species under any experiments. We have observed small adaptations, such as larger teeth, small changes in size, variations in color, etc. However, these differences do not make something a whole new species. Its like a short woman giving birth to a tall son who is bigger and stronger than his parents and calling it evolution.
The only exception to this has been experiments done using radiation. In some cases insects have been produced with more eyes than normal or more wings than normal. These insects die quickly and cannot be considered beneficial mutations that would lead to the evolution of new species.
Spontaneous generation was discredited: Spontaneous generation is the idea that a living thing could arise out of non-living things. This was thought long ago to be an explanation for where maggots or mold came from when you leave meat out. How did those maggots get there? They spontaneously generated on the meat. Life came from non-life.
Well, in the 1800's, Louis Pasteur carried out several experiments which have ultimately disproven this theory all together. It was shown that the maggots come from eggs laid by flies on the meat. Life comes from life. Life cannot come from non-life.
How does this affect evolution? It brings up the question of where that first living cell came from on earth? Evolution teaches that the first living cell arose out of the non-living materials on earth billions of years ago. Atheistic evolutionists are left with spontaneous generation as their answer. Take a look at this quote from atheist scientist Francis Crick, which he said when accepting a Nobel prize.
"There are only two possibilities as to how life arose. One is spontaneous generation arising to evolution; the other is a supernatural creative act of God. There is no third possibility. Spontaneous generation, that life arose from non-living matter was scientifically disproved 120 years ago by Louis Pasteur and others. That leaves us with the only possible conclusion that life arose as a supernatural creative act of God. I will not accept that philosophically because I do not want to believe in God. Therefore, I choose to believe in that which I know is scientifically impossible; spontaneous generation arising to evolution."
Darwin's Doubts: Darwin himself wrote of some doubts he had about his own theory. Below, I'll quote two of his objections from his book Origin of Species, explain them, and share why I think we should reject evolution as a theory.
Geological record: "Why, if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? Why is not all nature in confusion instead of the species being, as we see them, well defined?… But, as by this theory innumerable transitional forms must have existed, why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth?… Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory." -- Charles Darwin, Origin of Species
You know those pictures of a monkey evolving into an man that you see in books and on TV and the joke ones you see on the internet?
But there isn't. There should be dozens of transitional stages between one species and the next. Multiply that by all of the species of animals in existence today and that is hundreds of thousands of transitional stages of animals. If so many of them existed, then where are their fossils? Surely we must have found at least one such fossil? The answer is no. We haven't found a single fossil of a single transitional stage from one species to the next. The ones you may have heard about (Piltdown man, Nebraska man, Java man, Orce man, Neanderthals, Haekel's embryonic drawings, and Archaeoraptor) have all been proven to be fakes and frauds. For example, Nebraska man was supposedly a missing link between monkey and man. The truth is, all Nebraska man consisted of was a single tooth we found in 1922 and further testing showed it was actually the tooth of a wild pig.
Irreducible complexity: "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down." -- Charles Darwin, Origin of Species
Evolution is a slow process of minor changes over lots of time that add up to major differences that separate whole species. If animals possess organs or body parts that simply will not work unless all of the pieces are there, then random evolution could not have produced those organs or parts. They are irreducibly complex.
Congratulations! You read the whole thing (or skipped down to the bottom). When we read the Bible literally, it leaves no room for evolution. There are those who are Christians that attempt to mix evolution with what the Bible teaches but I think they are practicing a dangerous method of interpreting the Bible. Evolution is not a scientific fact and there exists a lot of problems in the theory of evolution as well as a lot of evidence that refutes it.