The Bible does not contradict 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!

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.

Next? Go to:

The laws of causality apply to the whole universe

Still the lake of your mind Think aloud in God's presence Talk to God by talking to friends Join a community of believers Make selfless love your highest priority Feel God's presence in all the love you meet


The text in this lesson 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.

The video clips are from Journey to the Centre of Love (scriptwriter & executive producer John Wijngaards) which was awarded the GRAND PRIX by the Tenth International Catholic Film Festival held in Warsaw (18-23 May 1995). It also received the prestigious Chris Award at the International Film Festival, Columbus Ohio, in 1997.