Does evolution disprove creation?

Evolution does not disprove creation

There are those who think that evolution has once for all disproved `creation’.

It may look as if the universe was organised by an outside Mind. We know now that all of it can be explained through evolution. Physical evolution produced galaxies and stars from the initial explosion, the Big Bang. Biological evolution produced complicated forms of life through chemical processes and the struggle for survival. There is no need of a Creator.

R.DAWKINS, The Blind Watchmaker, Harmondsworth 1988.

Dawkins has a point. In the past, the hand of God was seen in specific examples of plant or animal design which we now recognise to have been shaped by evolution. Birds do not fly because God sketched wings on an imaginary drawing board in heaven. It was aerodynamics that helped animals jump from trees, and this paved the way, very gradually, through a process of genetic mutation and elimination of the unfit, to all the marvellous features of flight: the shape of the wings, the superfine structure of strong, flexible feathers, the correct balancing of body weight.

I want to state this very clearly. Modern believers accept wholeheartedly all the physical, chemical and natural processes that moulded our galaxies and that drove the evolution of life. Our own emergence as human beings was part of those processes. But that does not diminish the necessity of postulating creation.

Everything inside the universe is subject to the laws of nature. However, these laws do not explain the existence of the universe itself, nor why it follows these laws and not other ones.

Formerly people imagined that God designed each plant and animal separately and that he created them one by one. We know better now. We understand now how the whole universe is interrelated, how new species of life are formed in response to pressures and opportunities.

But we still have no explanation for the existence of our marvelously integrated, steadily evolving universe. In fact, the mystery has deepened. Without a creative force present in the process, evolution could not happen.

But does biblical creation not exclude evolution?

Since six-day creationists appeal to the Bible, atheists will naturally see a conflict between the Bible and the scientific theory of evolution.

It is easy for you to say that evolution and creation go together. But Scripture teaches another kind of creation. According to the book of Genesis, God created the world in six days, making the sun, the moon, the plants, the animals, the fishes and human beings on separate days. You cannot be both a believer and admit evolution.

Wrong! The creation story in Genesis 1,1 – 2,3 does not teach how God created the world. In fact, it never intended to teach this, in spite of later generations of believers reading it that way. The story has a spiritual and theological purpose, not a scientific one. Spreading creation over a week was a literary device to highlight the meaning of the sabbath worship. On the seventh day people were expected to take time off to acknowledge their Creator.

Here are the first verses in a literal translation:

In the beginning God created
the heavens and the earth.
The earth was formless and void,
and darkness lay upon the face of the deep.
And God’s mighty wind swept
over the face of the waters.
And God said: “Let there be light!”
and there was light.
God saw that the light was good
and God separated the light from the darkness.
God called the light Day,
but the darkness he called Night.
Evening came and morning.
That was the first day . . . .

This is not a scientific account, it is poetry!

world

The structure of the story is clear. The world is created as a house for its human occupants. The sky is the ceiling, the firm ground the floor. The sun and moon are lights. The plants and animals are furniture and food supplies. Human beings are at the centre of the world: they are created in God’s image, because they have intelligence and free will (see the sketch of the Hebrew universe as in Origins, ed. L.PEREIRA, Poona 1964, p. 245.

In presenting this picture Scripture obviously follows the popular imagination of the time, as Galileo Galilei already pointed out. Scripture’s purpose is spiritual, not scientific. It is interested in how we go to heaven, not how the heavens go (see: GALILEO GALILEI in a letter to the Duchess of Lotharingen, 1613 AD. Briefe zur Weltgeschichte, ed. K.H.PETER, Munich 1964, pp. 80-82).

The purpose of the story is to teach the fact of our being created, of our depending on God; not how it was done. Fundamentalist Christians who still defend a six-day creation are not only scientifically out of date; they also misinterpret Scripture.

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CREDITS

The text in this chapter is from How to Make Sense of God by John Wijngaards, Sheed & Ward, Kansas City 1995. Tom Adcock designed the cartoons. The Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada awarded the book a prize on 25 May 1996.

View the following film on the meaning of creation