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The design-evolution debate (part 2): Is evolution compatible with creation?

 

by Andrew Lansdown

Evolution does not enjoy an advantage over creation so far as science is concerned. It is true that science cannot verify the major premises of creationism, but nor can it verify the major premises of evolutionism. Creationists must take on trust that God has existed from all eternity, and that he created all things by his wisdom and power. Similarly, evolutionists must take on trust that life originated of its own accord from inanimate matter, and that all living things originated from a common ancestor.

 

Evolution, creation—both are faith positions, depending on premises that cannot be tested by science. So, as there is no conflict between fact and faith, there is no necessity to integrate the two positions. But can evolution and creation be integrated, nonetheless? Are the two faiths compatible or not? Can we believe a combination of both, or should we choose one against the other?

Theistic evolutionists maintain that the two are compatible and can be combined. Motivated by the idea that evolution is scientific, and concerned to reconcile religion to science, they maintain that God created through the evolutionary process. There are many variations of this belief. For example, some theistic evolutionists believe that God started things off, then stepped back and allowed them to take their own evolutionary course. Others believe that God actually guided the evolutionary process. Still others postulate that God intervened in the evolutionary process to give man a soul. The common and crucial factor, however, is that evolution is the process by which God created the universe and all life.

Unfortunately, regardless of how it is argued, theistic evolution is a self-contradiction. It defies logic to say that God created through the evolutionary process.

To begin with, evolution is a naturalistic theory, attributing the origin of life to natural causes. By contrast, creation is a supernaturalistic theory, attributing the origin of life to supernatural causes. Naturalism maintains that nothing exists but matter, while supernaturalism maintains that there is also a spiritual component to the universe.

It is impossible to reconcile a view that there is only matter with a view that there is also spirit. Logically, a naturalistic theory cannot admit the supernatural without ceasing to be naturalistic. The evolutionary theory ceases to be a naturalistic theory the moment God is introduced to it. If God started life off, or guided the development of the species, or intervened to give man a soul—if he did anything at all, then the evolutionary theory has failed in its attempt to explain the origin and development of life in purely natural, non-spiritual terms. Regardless of where or how they introduce the supernatural, theistic evolutionists destroy both the foundation and the intention of evolution.

In a similar vein, it is illogical to claim that God created via the evolutionary process because the concepts “God created” and “evolutionary process” cancel each other out. “God created” implies that life originated and/or developed according to the power and purpose of a supreme Being. By contrast, “evolutionary process” implies that life originated and developed according to spontaneous and random events. In short, “God created” involves order and purpose, while “evolutionary process” involves chaos and chance. The two concepts contradict each other utterly.

Also, the evolutionary process, being a natural process, is free from outside (supernatural) interference. It is self-contained. Hence, to say that God created via the evolutionary process is to say that God used a process in which he was not involved. It is to say that he created through a sequence of events that he neither initiated nor directed. This is illogical.

Even if theistic evolution were conceptually plausible, it would not be philosophically acceptable to most evolutionists, because they object to any hint of the supernatural. They value the evolutionary theory precisely because it allows them to explain matters without reference to God. Julian Huxley expressed the essential atheism of evolution when he wrote triumphantly earlier last century: “The time is ripe for the dethronement of gods from their dominant position in our interpretation of destiny, in favour of a naturalistic type of belief-system. The supernatural is being swept out of the universe in the flood of new knowledge of what is natural” (Religion Without Revelation, 1957, p.62). Dethroning God and sweeping him out of the universe is evolution’s triumph. Theistic evolutionists will get no thanks for trying to sneak him back in.

Evolution and creation are mutually exclusive worldviews. They cancel one another out at every point. Attempts to combine them arise from ignorance and result in absurdity.


Part 3 of “The design-evolution debate” will appear in the next issue of Life News and will address the question, “Is evolution consistent with reality?”

 
Web Design and Development - abcplus Publishing Australia
Web Design and Development - abcplus Publishing Australia
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