God or evolution? The answer is yes.

We got a comment on one of our older but still popular posts yesterday that I wanted to share.

Ok, so to me this is really messed up. Christians are those who believe every word Christ said about life, death, God, heaven and every aspect of life. For us, Christians, the words of Jesus are always truth. We are not to question or doubt about anything that Christ said (it is normal to have doubts, but to live with a doubtful attitude towards Christ means that there’s something wrong with your faith). In Matthew 19:4-6, Jesus said that man and woman were a result of evolution. I’m sorry, what? No, it says that man and woman were CREATED. I think you should rethink your point of view on this “theory”.

A brother in Christ that loves you.

A lot could be said about this person I’ve never met in my life describing himself as a “brother in Christ that loves you,” which sort of reminds me of when my dad would say, “This is going to hurt me a lot more than it will hurt you” right before beating me with a medieval cudgel. But I’m going to focus on the bolded part instead.

This is called a false dichotomy, also known as a false dilemma, false choice, bifurcation fallacy, or total, epic logic fail.

This is like when my wife tells me, “You either do the dishes, or you’re sleeping alone,” which isn’t true, because there are more options than just those two. Like play video games until after 2 a.m., then I can crash wherever the heck I want. Plus, we have a 1-month-old, which means no number of parents is getting much sleep, regardless of how many dishes get done.

This commenter’s argument, which is stunningly common by the way, is a false dichotomy because he managed to find the word “create” in the Bible and thinks he has disproved the theory of evolution.

Now, he might have a case (at least among folks like me, who place an awful lot of stock in the Bible) if the evolution of life and God as creator were mutually exclusive ideas, but of course, they aren’t.

Scripture also says, and Christians believe, that God carefully, lovingly crafts each person in the womb by hand (Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139). Does that mean that the well-documented, natural process of prenatal development, wherein a baby grows gradually over a period of nine months with absolutely no observable intervention by supernatural forces, takes away from God?

To quote the Apostle Paul, “Oh, hell no!” God exists outside of nature, so the existence of a natural process does not preclude his supernatural oversight, involvement and authorship, regardless of whether you are talking about the water cycle, a single birth or the development of all life.

It’s not one or the other, or at least, it doesn’t have to be.

We are a thread in a glorious tapestry, woven by the hands of God. We are a fruitful branch on the tree of life, and God is the gardener. We are a drop of bright color on the canvas of a master artist.

We are the product of millions of years of biological evolution. We are also a master work of God, fearfully and wonderfully made.

Evolution may be true, as the evidence suggests, or it may not be. But if it is not true, the reason won’t be because God did it instead.

God is the creator, period. That is what we believe. The only question is whether evolution was his tool in creation (as the water cycle is his tool in bringing the rain, and prenatal development is his tool in kitting us together in utero), or whether he used something else.

When it comes to evolution and the proper interpretation of the Bible’s creation accounts, there are certainly some great and valuable conversations to be had. This is not one of them. Let’s drop it in the dustbin, right alongside “Why are there still monkeys?”

Also, check out this cool picture I made. Please feel free to share it all across the nine realms of the Interwebs.

god and evolution

Tyler Francke is founder of God of Evolution and author of Reoriented. He can be reached at tyler@godofevolution.com.

  • The idea that “created” in the Bible MUST mean that God did it and that Evolution is therefore wrong is so entrenched in the YEC worldview that it is going to take a lot of persistent digging to free them.

    I once hosted a Home School Mums’ gathering where mums could come and share curriculum ideas and what-not. One mum came and shared about a set of CDs which taught YECism through (far-fetched) drama. The series explicitly lays down the foundation from the get-go that “There are only two worldviews: Creation vs Evolution. Since Evolution is wrong, Creation must be true.”

    I mentioned ‘Theistic Evolution’. No one knew what that meant. After I explained it, I was told by another guest that Genesis clearly says that we came from God, not amoeba. And then she asked whether I am a Christian.

    Poor woman! She was brought along by one of the regulars and was probably told that it was a “Christian” (ie like-minded) group. I guess anyone who doesn’t believe in YECism is not a True Christian (TM).

    Enjoy that new baby of yours!

  • Matthew Funke

    I feel your pain, Tyler — as a parent, yes, but also as someone who believes that a creator God and evolution are not mutually exclusive concepts.

    Our church is currently hosting an adult class that highlights a series of films by Lee Strobel. The second one, “The Case for a Creator”, was especially excruciating. And in the “discussion” afterward, I found it distressing how many seemed to think that “evolution” and “atheism” are synonymous.

    I was a YECist myself for many years, so I kind of understand. Still, it pains me to know that this barrier exists between myself and so many in my spiritual family, when it fills me with such joy, awe, and wonder to behold the kind of Creator *actually revealed* in the universe. (The power, drama, and intricacy revealed in the story of evolution is a testament to the amazing God we serve. Now that I understand evolution and the evidence for it so much better, the idea of a god who would have to magically poof the universe and the diversity of life on Earth into existence seems so much smaller and more pathetic.)

    • Thanks for sharing, Matt. I tried to read “Case for a Creator” one time. I had to stop. That guy is so smug; reading his stuff is like trying to choke down a fistful of peanut butter.

      I so wish we could have this discussion without the completely false baggage of “EVOLUTION=ATHEISM, YEC=BIBLE, BIBLE WINS WOOT!” tied around our necks.

      • Matthew Funke

        Ha! Brilliant, yes. The man likes to paint himself as a skeptical, hard-nosed investigator who goes where the evidence leads. Curiously, though, he only seems to interview people with minority views; he never talks to anyone who holds the view he doesn’t like to see how s/he makes sense of the facts; and he never seems to notice or care when the people he *is* interviewing contradict one another (as long as he can still press their words into appearing to support his foregone conclusions).

  • Daniel Justesen

    Thank you for this website Tyler. My pastor, and one of my close friends from the church I attend just shared Banana Ray’s movie Evolution vs. God on facebook (sigh). I only have one friend in my church that believes in evolution. Reading your articles and the comment section’s is like therapy to me. When it comes to acceptance of evolution in the churches, the situation isn’t much better in Denmark, than in America.

    The same God who works in miraculous ways (like when he raised Jesus bodily from the dead) also set up the natural laws. If God is both responsible for miracles, and the physical processes in the world, why then does he only get the credit for the creation of biological life, if he chose to do it by supernatural means? I don’t understand this line of thinking.

    (please excuse any spelling errors. Im from Denmark so english is only a second language to me)

    • Greetings from across the pond, Daniel! Thanks so much for your comment. I’m so glad the community here has been helpful to you. We know how you feel! Hang in there!

  • Belac

    You know? Before I found this blog, I thought I was one of the only ones who thought evolution wasn’t a bad idea. I was taught about it when I was in elementary school, but my parents were somewhat against it (they honestly didn’t know). I’m now currently at a Christian school in the southeastern U.S., and one of the few to swim against the flow of YEC. The only other one I know is my Bible teacher, and he’s an old-earther. I do, however, know a world history teacher who knows Lucy was a biped, but doesn’t accept evolution (more of a “God made everything for us to use” kind of guy) So, I just wanted to say thank you, and God bless you on your own journey.

  • Andrew

    Personally I’m not 100% sold on evolution, but I don’t see any theological issue with it. By the way it’s great to see you posting again. I was starting to get worried. I guess with a 1 month old there is not a lot of time for writing.

    • Thanks, Andrew. That is a perfectly reasonable stance to take, and I thank you for it.

      And yes, two children under 2 is quite a handful, but we seem to be adjusting to it.

  • Mark

    I just read the book “Darwin on trial” it’s by a Christian Author. Don’t worry not a YEC book, it more displays how naturalistic metaphysics can creep in to evolution, and shows how it is being used beyond it’s purpose to exclude God. Showing some of the weaknesses in the theory that are being ignored because of lean towards atheistic bias in the scientific community. But a very interesting read I think you’d like it Tyler (and anyone else interested in this topic) . Highly recommend for anyone interested in Theistic Evolution.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Both/And instead of Either/Or.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Plus, we have a 1-month-old, which means no number of parents is getting much sleep, regardless of how many dishes get done.

    That explains why your posting rate went WAY down…

  • PaddyOConner

    Ha! Nice graphic…5 out of 6 lines are gospel truth. Line 4 sounds like it came straight from the mouth of Richard Dawkins himself.

    • That analogy doesn’t really help your case, since Dawkins knows what he’s talking about when it comes to evolution. Which brings me to my next point, and I’m sorry, but all six lines are true.

      • Mark

        Tyler, Have you ever read the Book “Darwin on Trial”?

      • PaddyOConner

        Simply knowing your topic does not make an argument true (or even compelling). Dawkins is also an expert on Panspermia but that doesn’t make it any less harebrained or kooky. You may believe all 6 lines to be true but nonetheless that pesky line 4 smells of propaganda and seems totally out of place in a meme trying to sound biblical.

        • Simply knowing your topic does not make an argument true (or even compelling).

          I didn’t say it did. The fact remains that your statement was nonsensical, because you clearly intended it as some sort of insult, but all you did was say a line containing a noncontroversial tenet of scientific and evolutionary thought sounds like it was written by an expert on science and evolution.

          It’d be like if you wrote something about general relativity, and I tried to tear you down by saying it sounded like it was written by Einstein.

          You may believe all 6 lines to be true but nonetheless that pesky line 4 smells of propaganda

          “Smells like propaganda”? Seriously? Come on, what planet do you people come from? Grow up.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy

          Paddy, you know how Panspermia hit the big time?
          Sir Fred Hoyle, who was famous in the scientific community for proposing outrageous theories and daring everyone to “Prove Fred Wrong”. Just like he dusted off Aristotle’s Eternal Cosmos as the Steady State Theory when Lemaitre proposed The Big Bang (and got piled on from all sides because The Big Bang sounded too much like Creationism).
          Gould said a LOT of astronomical and cosmological research came out of Hoyle’s challenges to “Prove Fred Wrong”.

  • Colin Hull

    The suffering on the natural world is much better explained by evolution than by a loving creator. If we consider that so much of the natural world is full of death and violence, with horrible diseases and parasites. Either this is a result of natural process of God has created it all and inflicted this on all creation. Even innocent children suffer and die having committed no sin in their lives. If God has inflicted suffering on all creation because of human sin (as some would claim from Genesis) that makes God an unloving monster unworthy of worship.
    The alternative is that God has created a cosmos that freely develops and evolves, in which suffering is an unfortunate bi-product fof freedom but which God ultimately takes responsibuility for in the Incarnation, and by the suffering of the Word in union wtih Jesus.