Creation and Evolution (Part 1 of 3)
Are creation and evolution mutually exclusive? Does believing God created the heavens and the earth exclude belief in evolution? The short answer is, “Not necessarily,” but unwarranted assumptions often dominate both sides.
Christians should not assume Genesis explains creation with scientific precision. That was not its purpose. For example, “kind” in Genesis does not correspond to what scientists define as species. Christians should not assume all species were created just as they are now.
Genesis groups all plants into just two categories -- seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it (Genesis 1:11). Scientists estimate there are about 400,000 species of flowering plants.1Scientists know how many things work, but not why they work that way. By contrast, Christians know why God spoke the heavens and the earth into existence (He wanted a relationship with us), but not the details of how He did it. As long as Christians receive God’s word as authoritative, even though their understanding of parts of it may vary, they are on solid ground.
Frequently, scientists come to science with atheistic assumptions. They assume God is not needed to explain the existence of the universe. Miracles don’t happen. The universe is a closed system of cause and effect in which nothing can interfere. These are as unprovable as assuming they could duplicate the Mona Lisa by an infinite number of explosions in a paint factory.
Genesis 1:12 does not explain how the earth produced vegetation or how the animals appeared. A wise, good, and powerful God made earth for human beings to enjoy and to manage carefully and responsibly. Scientists should use their God-given human intelligence to help people fully enjoy His creation and manage its resources wisely.
Genesis’ description of creation does not require that it took place during six twenty-four hour days. Christian interpreters have understood these six days as 24-hour periods, as a sequence of geological ages where each day corresponds to a geological age, as workdays for God, or as a literary tool representing the week of creation as if it were a six-day period even though it was not. Each of these can be squared with Exodus 20:11 (NIV), “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy,” where day simply means what it means to them in Genesis 1.
Was creation in 4004 BC as Archbishop Ussher calculated based on the genealogies in Genesis? Not necessarily. The Hebrew word for “father” and “son” are not fixed but can refer to distant ancestors and descendants, respectively. The genealogies in Genesis should not be used to calculate the passing of time. When unwarranted assumptions are removed, there is far less conflict between Genesis and science than many people imagine. #freechristiandiscipleshipresources #freechristianleadershipresources
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