The concept of evolution has caused such a great deal of controversy. This controversy is between evolution, and its belief of creation; and Christianity, and its belief of creation. Evolution is summed as being the “doctrine of change (Ross 24).
Christianity is the science of God (McCollister 74). This tension is between concept of a Creator-God and that of an impersonal chance process that nature undergoes and has undergone throughout time.To better understand, this so-called tension or controversy, one must have a basic knowledge of both evolution and Christianity.Both views, regarding creation, try to prove their belief and disprove the other.
Evolutionists believe their proof lies with the fossil record (Peters 17). The Christians is a faith built upon the writings of God. These writings are referred to as the Scriptures, or most commonly the Bible. So as stated before, the tension is between the belief of a Creator-God, and the belief that nature simply undergoes a chance process.
Evolution is a Latin term meaning unrolling. The term evolution is used to explain the belief that all living organisms have came from the evolving of earlier organisms.Evolutionists believe that living organisms do not arise spontaneously in a sterile environment, however, might have risen from inanimate matter long ago. Not only were the conditions of the earth different, but back then the original process was different than the ones trying to duplicate them (Ross 71).
First of all, the total length of time it took for the original process to take place is probably impossible to duplicate today. Secondly, if some form of life did originate it would have to compete with the millions of organisms that already exist, and because of this it would not likely survive(72).While there is still uncertainty about these things, there is reason to believe that the gaps will be filled as our understanding develops. The possibility of doing experiments to answer some of these questions is fairly good.
This does not mean that scientists will ever be able to create life, however, it does mean scientists do have faith that life did arise from inanimate matter through a series of chemical processes no different from the ones occurring today (Klinkenborg 111).If man, in fact, descended from some pre-existing form answers would have to been given to these four questions: “Does man vary like other animals? Does he increase so rapidly that there is a struggle for existence in which the most beneficial variations are preserved and the least favorable eliminated? Does his body structure show traces of his descent? Could his special qualities of mind and morality have been produced by evolution (Gelernter 53)”? The face and the form of man and gorilla show a common ancestral origin. The earliest primates were small creatures of the trees (Moore 137).From them developed monkeys with fairly large brains and dexterous hands.
Over 10 million years ago apes may have split into two lines: the forest apes, and the prairie Prehumans such as the Australopithecus. Prehumans like Australopithecus split off early from other primates. Early men roamed the prairies, while apes kept to the forests and monkeys to the trees (159). Contrary to popular belief, there is more than one way of looking at organic evolution.
The idea of evolution has itself been evolving long before Darwin, and is still changing today. Some of the modern day evolutionary theories are as follows:1) Atheistic evolution – which is the idea that there is no God and that natural laws originated by chance. Atheism took advantage of Darwin’s explanation of the origin of species by only natural means. Atheism’s weakness is that life must have a starting point, and this theory does not explain this starting point (Helweg 85).
2) Deistic evolution – which is the belief that the evolutionary processes are more or less, controlled by a Mind behind the universe. It also states that the Mind or the Creator is concerned only with events, not with individuals. Deistic evolution takes the middle of the road and offers the advantage of avoiding the objections from design, as well as the inconsistencies of the theistic evolution. However, this theory does face some opposition.
It seems inconsistent that the Creator would take the time to make this vast universe and then not have a personal interest in it (Farrington 19).3) Theistic evolution – is the belief that God directs the evolutionary process himself. This view is growing in approval today, and is taught in some church related schools. Many theistic evolutionists see no problem believing in both evolution and the Bible as long as evolution is a God guided process (Beardsley 112).
Though very popular today, theistic evolution also faces several problems. The numerous biblical implications that the human descended from only a single pair of parents are where this theory faces its problems (Farrington 96).4) Pantheistic evolution – is the concept that as nature evolves, God too evolves. This means that God is Nature.
Pantheistic evolution’s weakness is the violence in nature, this would make God the merciless killer as well as the helpless victim (Moore 42).5) Agnostic evolution – is noncommittal in regard to the supernatural. Its main appeal is to the intellectuals; its main weakness is that being noncommittal it provides no real answer to the problem (43).6) Natural selection – is the overpopulation and scarcity of food, thus, resulting in the survival of the fittest (Farrington 53).
This is the theory that Darwin is most famous (Moore 10). According to natural selection, the strongest, most experienced animal gets the prey. The problem to natural selection is that it may explain the survival of the fittest, but can’t explain the arrival of the fittest (64).7) Sexual selection – is the theory that tried to explain why males and females are so different.
Sexual evolution can explain the maintenance of sex differences, but cannot explain how the sex differences appeared in the first place (Ross 45).8) Mutationism – is the theory that states that species do more than just improve, but that they originate completely new traits. Mutationism was faced with growing problems such as: the fact that the number of original mutations, of any kind, is extremely low, beneficial mutations are even less common, and no mutations have been recorded as producing new organs (112).Charles Darwin has had a great effect upon modern biology.
Many of the modern evolutionary theories arose because of the evidence that the studies of Darwin uncovered. For some time prior to his book, The Origin of Species anatomy was characterized as praises to the Creator or was simply descriptive. Darwin himself believed all organisms to be descended from a few common ancestors. There is no record, however, that these few ancestors arose by mere spontaneous generation (Klinkenborg 108).
Charles Darwin’s major work on the subject of evolution was studying the “origin of species.” In his study of the origin of species he was faced with two problems, one being the investigation of the true nature of a species, and the other being the investigation of the processes which determine that nature and separate one species from another. The majority of the book was on his theory of natural selection. Natural selection, as stated before, is the survival of the fittest (Farrington 44).
He believed that evolution took the path of natural selection. He considered natural selection to be a form of population control as well as a way to weed out the weaker species (45). To summarize, the theory of evolution is the process that nature goes through, whether it is started by spontaneous generation or by some higher being.The source book for the Christian belief is the Bible.
Christians do not expect to find in the Holy Scriptures a detailed account of the how the universe came into existence. The basic purpose of the Bible is to tell who created the universe not how it was created.Christians believe that God created the whole visible and invisible universe without the use of pre-existing materials. Therefore the universe is something completely different from God, but yet totally dependent upon him for life to continue.
The Bible opens with answers to three important questions, one being the origin of the universe, the other two being the origin of life and the origin of man.The Bible states that God is the Author of the whole universe and all that it contains.The passages in Genesis describe his creative activity in the form of a brief but poetic narrative, placing importance on his divine purpose, and the orderliness of his plan. The orderly sequence in which God created the universe is as follows: Day one he created light, Day two he created the sky and the waters, Day three he created the land, seas, and vegetation, Day four he created the sun, moon, and stars, Day five he created fish and birds, and on Day six he created animals, man, and woman.
So as you can see, the Bible gives little specific information about the ways in which he worked, possibly because it was of little importance to him. The Bible does state, however, that we as humans are both indebted and responsible to the Creator. Men may believe in him as the Creator or reject him, but they cannot claim to do so on the grounds of their understanding or their lack of understanding of nature. To any person who regards the Bible as God’s revelation there remains, of course, the question of limitation imposed by the actual words of the Scripture (McCollister 76).