Monday, May 18, 2009

"Can evolutionists believe in God?"

The short answer to this question is yes.

There is a spectrum of beliefs about the origins of life and the universe. The belief that everything was created by God in six 24 hour periods in the last 10000 years (Young Earth Creationism) is possibly the most well-known in our churches, but doesn't necessarily date back terribly far in its current incarnation.

Scientists understand the age of the universe is about 13500 million years (MY) old. The age of the solar system (including Earth) is considered to be about 4500 MY. If you accept these as accurate, you may still have a variety of beliefs about the issue of origins. If you exclude the possibility of the divine (which is a presupposition, not something derived from evidence), then you will believe that the presence of the universe is no more than a quantum phenomenon, and life just happens to be present - after all, if it wasn't present, we wouldn't be discussing it, would we? On the other hand, you may believe that the presence of the universe is a consequence of divine action - this implies some level of theism (belief in God). You may believe that God acted in a kind of "miraculous" way on one or more occasions to bring about what we see today - this would, I suppose, be an "Old Earth Creationist" position. Or you may believe that God used "regular" laws of science and physics to bring about what we see today - perhaps that apparently "random" events were controlled by him in some way. This is something like what could be called "theistic evolution" - and is the most obvious way in which you might say an "evolutionist" (defined as somebody who believes that life came about no more than imperceptibly guided by a divine hand) believes in "God" (defined as the God of the Bible). As with many such questions, definition of terms is very important.

Even if you believe that the universe appeared on its own, and life appeared without the involvement of God, you might still believe in God. However, the god that you believe in, not being involved in the creation, would have little resemblance to the God who reveals himself in the Bible.

Perhaps there is another interesting question, which is also relevant - namely, if I believe in the Christian God, what should I make of evolution? But that is for another post ....

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