Is it Reasonable to believe in both Creation & Evolution?

by Steven Chan

What is the theory of evolution by natural selection, first formulated in Darwin’s book “On the Origin of Species” in 1859? It refers to the process by which organisms change/evolve over time as a result of changes in physical or behavioral conditions/traits. According to this theory, these changes allow an organism to adapt to its environment and help it survive and have more offspring. Given a very long time (millions of years) and the accumulation of changes through numerous mutations, the evolutionist contends that the process of natural selection can create entirely new species; this process is referred to as “macroevolution.” It can turn dinosaurs into birds, amphibious mammals into whales and the ancestors of apes into humans. There is no necessity for God to have a part in this evolutionary process.

What do we understand by creation? This refers to the belief that there is an Intelligent Designer for the complex world that we live in with clear indications that the universe and man were designed for life. According to those who believe in the Bible account of Genesis, the Intelligent Designer is God who created “the heavens and the earth” and all things in it in six days.

Let’s consider the Bible account of Genesis 1-2 and compare it with the theory of evolution: –

  1. According to Gen 1, each day of creation ended with a declaration of the time taken for each days’ creation: “So the evening and the morning were the first day…So the evening and the morning were the second day…So the evening and the morning were the third day So the evening and the morning were the fourth day…So the evening and the morning were the fifth day…So the evening and the morning were the sixth day…” (Gen 1:5,8,13,19,23, 31).

The day started at sunset in the evening, darkness followed by morning when light dawns. This is how the Jews reckons the start of the day, at sunset. The Genesis account states clearly and unequivocally that each day’s creation was completed in one day marked by evening and morning.

One single day is too short a timeframe for the process of evolution to produce all the things that God created in each of the day. The evolutionary process requires a very long time.

So, those who sought to harmonize the Genesis account with the process of evolution speculates that the day stated in Genesis must be understood in a symbolic manner such that it accommodates sufficient time for evolution to do its work, and so they contend that the day actually referred to a very long period of time (“day age”) and not a literal day as marked by “evening and morning”.

But such an arbitrary decision to understand the explicit declaration of God’s creation in each day in a symbolic manner just to accommodate the theory of evolution contradicts God’s clear demarcation of each day by the expression of “evening and morning”. There is nothing in the immediate context of Genesis 1 or in the overall context of the entire Bible that suggests that evolution was the process by which man came into being. One who wishes to compromise the plain truth of the scriptures by injecting the process of “evolution” into it is practicing the process of eisegesis of Scriptures (i.e. reading one’s pre-conceived idea into the Scripture) instead of exegesis of Scriptures (i.e. reading what comes out from the text itself).

If that’s how one seeks to “harmonize” God’s word to the various theories of man – through “spiritualization or attributing arbitrary symbolic meaning to words” not warranted by the context, then the Bible can be used to justify many practices and philosophies of men – many of which would otherwise be clearly forbidden by God. Each person can then exercise the liberty to attribute his own understandings to the Scriptures disregarding its plain meanings, via his own symbolic meanings.  Unfortunately, the Bible warns that this would amount to “wrestling or twisting the Scriptures” and will end in one’s destruction (2 Pet 3:16). It will give rise to confusion among bible students and God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor 14:33).

    1. According to Gen 2:1, the entire creation process was completed or “finished” in 6 days; each day characterized by “evening and morning”. “Thus, the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” (Gen 2:1-3)This declaration that all of creation by God was “finished” in six days is not consistent with the theory of evolution as the process of evolution through natural selection is a continuing process. Evolutionists believes it continues till this day.
    2. According to Genesis 1:11-12, “God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb thatyields seed, andthe fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. 12 And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good….” “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so” (Gen 1:24)But this process of “yielding fruit according to its kind, or yields seed according to its kind” and each living creature producing its own kind, is not consistent with the theory of evolution which actually requires “other kinds to be produced” via the process of natural selection and mutation – that’s how new species evolved. So, the theory of evolution conflicts with God’s design for each specie to produce after its own kind.
    3. Genesis 2:7 states: “And the LordGod formed man ofthe dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”  “

It is important to note that the Genesis record states that man became a living being only after God formed him from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. This implies that prior to God breathing into him the breath of life, man was not a living being – but if man evolved from a living animal or ape then he ought to be a living being before God breathed into him the breath of life – but such was not the case; so man did not evolve from a living animal.

Gen 2:21-23: “…And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 23 And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

When Man and woman were made by God, they were grown-ups; they were not babies. Neither did they evolved from the apes.

Woman did not evolve from a female ape. She was formed by God from the rib which the Lord took from man. It is just simply not possible to “harmonize” the process of evolution with the clear and plain statements of Scriptures that God created them in this direct manner. There is nothing in the immediate or remote context of the Genesis record to suggest that woman evolved from a female ape through a long process of time.

Given the above considerations, there is no reasonable basis from the Scriptures to try to straddle the middle ground by advocating that God used the process of evolution to make the “heavens and the earth” and all things therein.

Evolutionists do not need and in fact most of them reject the necessity of an Intelligent Being to help facilitate the evolution of all things. Yet, sadly, believers seemed keen to want to accommodate macro-evolution in the process of creation by God at the expense of the clear declaration of the Genesis account. By trying to accommodate evolutionists, we destroy the case for God as the Creator, the Intelligent Designer of the universe because evolutionists reject the need for an Intelligent Designer to explain the origin of the universe.