Did God Use Evolution to Create Life?
“You are worthy, Jehovah, even our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because you created all things, and because of your will they existed and were created.”—REVELATION 4:11.
SHORTLY after Charles Darwin made the theory of evolution popular, many so-called Christian denominations started looking for ways to marry their belief in God to their acceptance of the theory of evolution.
Today, most prominent “Christian” religious groups seem willing to accept that God must have used evolution in some way to create life. Some teach that God preprogrammed the universe to develop in such a way that living things inevitably evolved from lifeless chemicals and eventually produced mankind. Those who subscribe to this teaching, known as theistic evolution, do not feel that God interfered with the process once it started. Others think that, in general, God allowed evolution to produce most families of plants and animals but occasionally stepped in to move the process along.
The Marriage of Teachings—Does It Work?
Is the theory of evolution really compatible with the teachings of the Bible? If evolution were true, then the Bible’s account of the creation of the first man, Adam, would be, at best, a story meant to teach a moral lesson but not intended to be taken literally. (Genesis 1:26, 27; 2:18-24) Is that how Jesus viewed this Bible account? “Did you not read,” said Jesus, “that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and will stick to his wife, and the two will be one flesh’? So that they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has yoked together let no man put apart.”—Matthew 19:4-6.
Jesus was here quoting from the creation account recorded in Genesis chapter 2. If Jesus believed the first marriage to be a fictional story, would he have made reference to it to support his teaching on the sanctity of marriage? No. Jesus pointed to the Genesis account because he knew it to be true history.—John 17:17.
Jesus’ disciples likewise believed the Genesis account of creation. For example, Luke’s Gospel account traces Jesus’ genealogy all the way back to Adam. (Luke 3:23-38) If Adam were a fictional character, at what point would this genealogical list have turned from fact to myth? If the rootstock of this family tree were mythological, how firm would that have made Jesus’ claim that he was the Messiah, born in the line of David? (Matthew 1:1) The Gospel writer Luke said that he had “traced all things from the start with accuracy.” Clearly, he believed the creation account in Genesis.—Luke 1:3.
The apostle Paul’s faith in Jesus was linked to Paul’s trust in the Genesis account. He wrote: “Since death is through a man, resurrection of the dead is also through a man. For just as in Adam all are dying, so also in the Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:21, 22) If Adam were not literally the forefather of all mankind, the one through whom “sin entered into the world and death through sin,” why would Jesus have needed to die to undo the effects of inherited sin?—Romans 5:12; 6:23.
To undermine belief in the creation account in Genesis is to undermine the very foundations of the Christian faith. Evolutionary theory and the teachings of Christ are incompatible. Any attempt to marry these beliefs can only give birth to a weak faith that is prone to being “tossed about as by waves and carried hither and thither by every wind of teaching.”—Ephesians 4:14.
Faith Based on a Solid Foundation
For centuries the Bible has endured criticism and attack. Time and again the Bible text has been vindicated. When the Bible touches on history, health, and science, its accounts have repeatedly been proved reliable. Its advice regarding human relations is trustworthy and timeless. Human philosophies and theories, like so much green grass, sprout and then wither over time, but the Word of God “will last to time indefinite.”—Isaiah 40:8.
The teaching of evolution is not limited to the realm of scientific theory. It is a human philosophy that blossomed and then flourished for decades. In recent years, however, the traditional evolutionary teaching of Darwin has itself evolved—in fact, mutated—as efforts have been made to explain away the increasing evidence for design in the natural world. We invite you to examine this topic further. You can do so by reviewing the other articles in this issue. In addition, you may also want to read the publications shown on this page and page 32.
You will likely find that after researching this subject, your trust in what the Bible says about the past will be bolstered. More important, your faith in the Bible’s promises for the future will be strengthened. (Hebrews 11:1) You may also find yourself moved to praise Jehovah, “the Maker of heaven and earth.”—Psalm 146:6.
A Book for All People Specific examples of the Bible’s authenticity are discussed in this brochure
Is There a Creator Who Cares About You? Examine more scientific evidence and learn why a caring God would permit so much suffering
What Does the Bible Really Teach? The question What is God’s purpose for the earth? is answered in chapter 3 of this book
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Jesus believed the Genesis account of creation. Was he mistaken?
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WHAT IS EVOLUTION?
One definition of “evolution” is: “A process of change in a certain direction.” However, the term is used in several ways. For example, it is used to describe big changes in inanimate things—the development of the universe. In addition, the term is used to describe small changes in living things—the way plants and animals adapt to their environment. The word is most commonly used, though, to describe the theory that life arose from inanimate chemicals, formed into self-replicating cells, and slowly developed into more and more complex creatures, with man being the most intelligent of its productions. This third notion is what is meant by the term “evolution” as used in this article.
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Space photo: J. Hester and P. Scowen (AZ State Univ.), NASA