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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: Why Do Some Christians Believe in Evolution?

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Don Stewart
As we have seen, a study of Scripture shows that God did not employ the mindless, chance methods of Darwinian evolution. This being the case, why do so many Christians believe in some form of evolution? There are a number of reasons as to why this is so.

Lack Of Knowledge

First, many people lack knowledge of what the Bible says about the subject. They are unaware that the Bible and evolution are not compatible. They suppose that theistic evolution is a philosophy acceptable to the Christian faith, not having contemplated the contradictions involved. They have not yet encountered or fully considered the Bibles teaching on this subject.

Reinterpret Scripture

Some people attempt to make the Bible fit the evidence. A person may feel the need to reinterpret the Bible to fit the so-called assured results of contemporary evolutionary science. Albert Pieters wrote:

If a Christian believer is inclined to yield as far as possible to the theory of organic evolution, he can hold that mans body was prepared by God through such a natural process, and that when this process had reached a certain stage, God took one of the man-like brutes so produced, and made him the first human being, by endowing him with a human soul and a morally responsible nature . . . In such a conception there is nothing contrary to the Bible (Albert Pieters, Notes on Genesis, Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1943, p. 45).

Theologian R. Laird Harris offers an appropriate comment:

I am appalled at the freedom with which our Christian scientists are toying with the Biblical texts. I may soften that by adding that our theologians are doing so too and so the scientists naturally are taking it up. But the scientists should have a chance to hear the criticisms of various theologians rather than jumping to the first far out exegesis of Genesis that seems to meet the scientific need (R. Laird Harris, "Letter to the Editor," Journal of American Scientific Affiliation, December 16, 1964, p. 127).

Overestimate Evidence

Scientists, Christian and non-Christian alike, can easily overestimate the supposed evidences of evolution outside of their particular field. A paleontologist, for example, may be persuaded that modern biology has genuine proof of the theory of evolution. As a scientist he respects the reports of other scientists, even though the evidence in his particular field may be lacking. This being the case, a Christian scientist could advocate the idea that God did create the universe in the beginning but allowed things to develop through gradual natural processes. Consequently, he keeps his Christian faith and also keeps in line with present-day scientific theory.

Convinced It Is True

A final reason that many Christians believe in evolution is that they sincerely believe that it is the correct answer to the question of origins. Having examined the evidence, they conclude that the theory of evolution best fits the facts.

These are some, but by no means all, of the reasons why some people hold to the theory of theistic evolution. However, as we have seen, both the scriptural and scientific evidence do not encourage one to accept this position.

Does It Matter?

It is important to keep this issue in perspective. Creationism is not the gospel, though some treat it as such. A person can be a Christian and still hold to theistic evolution. However, one who holds such a viewpoint is not being consistent with what the Bible teaches. The theistic evolutionist has to assume much of the Bible is meant to be read poetically or allegorically. J. H. Newman wrote:

When I show a man he is inconsistent, I make him decide whether of the two he loves better, the portion of truth he already holds, or the portion of error.

We conclude, then, that theistic evolution is not a consistent position for a Christian to hold.
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