Updated: Apr 24, 2020
I've wanted to write a short story about Eve for a while, but I've hesitated. The story of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden is one of the most well-known Bible stories, and often one of the most hotly contended. Evolution theory (with the belief that the world is very old and life as we know it happened in small steps through a series of small changes) has been accepted by most scientists—and seems to stand opposed to Genesis.
Are Creation and Evolution at odds with each other?
I grew up in a world where you had to pick one or the other. Evolution or the Bible. With the same fervor that led the church to rally against Galileo's theory that we orbit the sun because of verses like Psalm 75:3, 104:5; Isaiah 11:12; Matthew 4:8 and Revelations 7:1, I believed I had to stand by a literal six-day creation and that the world is 10,000 years old or the entire Bible would crumble into myth.
My stance has changed since then, or at least, it has become more open.
Whether through a slow process, or a creation of six exact days, or something else entirely, the scientific process of our existence doesn't threaten me anymore—even as an ardent believer in God.
Now, to be honest, I haven't seen a lot of convincing arguments for evolution as it is presented in schools and the media. Sure, it could happen, but the chances are so small it boggles my mind. A great point someone once made was that if I put all the elements of a wind-up watch in a bag and shook it, how long would it take for all those cogs and springs to fall into the right places AND wind-up on its own AND be set to the right time? And we are so much more complicated than a watch!
The other part I could never understand with the Big Bang theory is that all these swirling elements are colliding randomly in the universe—hold up—where did those elements come from? If people can accept that elements can just be there without explanation or origin, why do they laugh at my belief in a God that exists without explanation or origin?
Yet! If evolution were proved true beyond the shadow of a doubt, I would not lose one drop of faith that God and the Bible are true and worth pinning my eternal hopes to.
Evolution does not diminish my faith
My faith in God does not rest on a six-day creation story as if to question the veracity of that story undermines that there was an Abraham who received promises of descendants beyond count, a king named David who was promised an everlasting kingdom, and a Messiah named Jesus who changed the course of mankind forever.
The Bible is an old book. Yet, no human was standing there at creation to record the sights and wonders of that moment when God said, "Let there be light!" I believe the Bible is inspired, meaning God guided its formation and what was included in the scriptures to be a teaching guide for His people. (1 Timothy 3:16-17) The Bible was not written specifically for scientific minds of the 21st Century as an answer to the six-day-creation/evolution argument. It wasn't written as a book of science at all! It was written to tell us about God, God's plan, and where we fit into it this wonderful story that God is writing for His creation.
My guess is that God was less concerned with telling us HOW the world was created, and more interested in us understanding WHY it was created, and WHAT kind of creation it is, and WHO is the mastermind behind this whole thing we call life.
When we read the first chapter of Genesis, we see a creation of order. God sets things into a rhythm. Day and Night. Seasons. Things reproducing after their kinds. We see God creating wondrous creatures, plants, and celestial lights. In the first chapter of Genesis, we see creation described as “good” six times, and “very good” for the seventh! There is comfort in this. God did not create a bleak and cruel world for His creation. He didn't cast us to the whims of a chaotic order where one day the sun might not rise, or apple trees suddenly grow poison fruit, or gravity might just shut off. He made us a good world, and one that is amazing in design.
Scientists today are discovering amazing and complex patterns in the world around us. They see symbiotic relationships between elements of plants, animal kingdoms, and weather that are simply astounding. Our universe is incredibly intricate and precise, and it is based on laws that govern it. We are in awe as we learn that a slight change in our orbit and life as we know it would cease. The more we learn through science, the more astonishing our world becomes.
We are not an accident!
If our world was crafted slowly, using a process of little changes over vast amounts of time, I still believe that God was the one orchestrating it.
Nothing happened by accident. We aren't the result of freakish mutations, we aren't lucky mistakes. If the process was slow, it can be likened to an intricate tapestry growing thread by thread in the hands of a master weaver. It is not like throwing a hunk of wool and random dyes into a pile, shaking them about, and hoping it turns out okay.
Whether creation happened through a slow process or a six-day building plan, the Bible is clear, God was behind it. So if evolution is true, it is still a creation by a masterful God!
How the Bible answers the question, "Why are we here?"
Being created gives our lives purpose. We were created out of love, to be image-bearers of God. We are wanted, we have a job to do. (Genesis 1:26) In Genesis 2:15 we see man was put on the earth to “cultivate and keep it.” We are to take care of this world.
Of course, we know the rest of the story.
Things go south fast and sin enters the world. In the form of a snake, mankind meets the temptation to be like God, and we want to do things our own way. The result is a broken creation, with broken people living in it. The idyllic innocence of Eden is lost, but hope remains in the form of this prophecy against the serpent:
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.” - Genesis 3:15 NASB
At first glance, this sort of sounds like the reason we are afraid of poison snakes, but scholars agree that this is saying more. Evil might crow victory over this first battle in the garden, but it has not won the war. We see the promise that sin will be dealt a killing blow to the head by a descendant of Eve. As Christians, we believe this seed is Jesus Christ. In Jesus' death on the cross, the serpent thought it had won the day, but Jesus instead deals a crushing strike to the serpent by his sacrifice to atone for our sins.
So whether the moments leading up to mankind's fall and promise of redemption took days or eons, the promise still holds true. We might be broken, but Christ makes us whole. Creation might be struggling, but there is a plan to make it right.
“For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subject to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” - Romans 8:19-23 NASB
Pain, suffering, disease, death—these are not what God wanted for us, we see that as we read the first chapter of the Bible. His heart is to bring us back into relationship with Him. Though our journey has been difficult, there is a plan to bring mankind through the other side. This is the hope we have planted in the creation story. I believe this is why the author of Genesis was inspired to write these words. To help us know God, and know God's plan, and where we fit in it all.
So what do you think, can a Christian believe in evolution and the Bible?