Home‎ > ‎

Theories of Origins


Some theories of origins, with their strengths and weaknesses, also, different meanings of the word, "evolution."

This page underwent a major revision in January 2008. A minor revision was made on December 22, 2009, and another on June 7, 2011. Two links were added on February 13, 2015.

See also my page on principles of scripture that relate to science

As many links as are appropriate are to the Wikipedia, an Internet encyclopedia. I am not aware of any bias toward Christianity in articles posted there. For links to the Bible, I have used the English Standard Version, a modern version. Other versions are available. (One way to find them is to access the Blueletter Bible, search for or enter a reference, and use the Tools, at the left of a verse.) There are, in my opinion, no substantial differences between the versions in the passages cited in this document.

For particular views on origins, I have tried to link to a page produced by some entity that holds that view. (I was not able to find authoritative web pages holding some of the views listed.)


Ever since men were able to think, they have been wondering what this universe really is and how it came to be there. And, very roughly, two views have been held. First, there is what is called the materialist view. People who take that view think that matter and space just happen to exist, and always have existed, nobody knows why; and that the matter, behaving in certain fixed ways, has just happened, by a sort of fluke, to produce creatures like ourselves who are able to think. . . . The other view is the religious view. According to it, what is behind the universe is more like a mind than it is like anything else we know. That is to say, it is conscious, and has purposes, and prefers one thing to another. And on this view it made the universe, partly for purposes we do not know, but partly, at any rate, in order to produce creatures like itself--I mean, like itself to the extent of having minds. Please do not think that one of these views was held a long time ago and that the other has gradually taken its place. Wherever there have been thinking men both views turn up. And note this too. You cannot find out which view is the right one by science in the ordinary sense. . . . Do not think I am saying anything against science: I am only saying what its job is. . . . But why anything comes to be there at all, and whether there is anything behind the things science observes--something of a different kind--this is not a scientific question. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity: What One Must Believe to Be a Christian. New York: Macmillan, 1952. p. 31-2.


Four points to bear in mind

1) It may be easier to gain supporters, including financial supporters, if you can characterize your view as a crusade. Thus, saying that all the science teachers at state universities are godless atheists, or that all Christians are ignorant yahoos, will often get you an audience, whereas saying that you believe you can reconcile most of the scientific evidence with scripture may not.

2) Christians, on this, and all other issues, should set an example by their honesty. For instance, a claim that "there is no such thing as evolution," by a Christian who knows science fairly well, may not be honest.

3) Christians should be willing to fellowship with other Christians who do not agree with them on these matters, and humbly recognize that their own particular views may be wrong. Differences between them on these issues are usually because of differences in interpretation of scripture, not differences in whether or not they believe in scripture. As a pastor friend of mine once said, "The Bible is inerrant. My interpretation of it isn't." All views are surely considerably short of God's understanding of origins.

4) Just because a scientist says something doesn't make it a scientific statement. As an example, the late Carl Sagan, one of the most important scientists, in terms of popularizing science, in North America in the 20th century, wrote ,
 and said on TV, that "The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be." That was not a scientific statement. He had no scientific proof of that. How could he have? He believed it. It was a statement of his faith. As Hebrews 11:3 puts it, "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible." (NIV) (The link is to the ESV version of the Bible.)

Naturally, the same could be said for statements made by people who don't share Sagan's world view. Just because someone is talking about a scientific subject doesn't mean that what she says has been, or even can be, scientifically proved.


 

Different meanings or types of evolution

Evolution means "change," and there have probably been several kinds of this. Evolution may refer to a process, or it may refer to the results of that process. The list below gives different possible results. Failing to distinguish between the several possible meanings, or to identify which kind you are talking about, leads to confusion. Unfortunately, some have deliberately confused on this point.

Just because something is listed here doesn't mean that it occurred. It may or may not have. These different types of evolution do not necessarily have the same likelihood of having occurred, and, if they did, did not necessarily occur by the same mechanisms. The further down the table you go, the less evidence there is for a particular type of evolution having occurred. (Which is, by the way, what you would expect, even if all of them did occur--it would be difficult to obtain evidence of anything which happened in the remote past.)

It is possible to teach biology without referring to evolution, or to organisms being related by descent, or that they are subject to natural selection, but doing so presents a type of biology which leaves an awful lot out. Adherents of every view of origins below believe in at least some relationships between different types of organisms, and in natural selection.

 

type of evolution

examples, and remarks

 

secular change, or the evolution of new varieties

The descent of all human races from a single common pair of ancestors.
Bacteria which are resistant to antibiotics descending from bacteria which weren't, and the same for insects which resistant to an insecticide descending from insects that weren't.

As far as I know, every biological scientist believes in this type of evolution.

 

speciation: new species from old

Several species of Galapagos finches descending from a common ancestor, wolves and dogs from a common ancestor.

See here for more (and more recent) examples, and critical discussion of "what is a species?" Here’s the Wikipedia article on speciation.

 

origin of humans from pre-humans

This is a case of speciation. I separate it because most people believe that humans are special, however they got here.

I am not aware of any scientist who believes that humans evolved from chimpanzees. There are many who believe that humans and chimpanzees both evolved from a common ancestor.

For many Christians, this proposed type of evolution is the sticking point. They have trouble believing that humans could have descended from anything else. One of the reasons for that, of course, is that, after all, we are human! A much more serious reason is that the Bible indicates quite clearly that humans are special -- Genesis 1 and 2 include descriptions of the creation of humans, while no other species is named in these chapters. Humans are described as being in God's image, and given responsibility, as no other type of organism is. Most importantly, God Himself appeared among us as a human, God made flesh.

Not only does the Bible say that humans are special, it seems to literally describe the creation of humans from dust, not from some non-human form. I am not an expert in the original Hebrew language, nor in Biblical interpretation, but some Bible scholars, who take the Bible very seriously, are not sure that that description is meant to be taken literally. Even Billy Graham wasn't sure that it is. There are, of course, other Bible scholars who believe that the descriptions given in Genesis describe what happened, and are meant to be taken literally.

It is possible to believe that other species have come about by descent from common ancestors, but that humans were created specially.

 

Some people would call the types of evolution listed above this paragraph microevolution, and those listed below, macroevolution. Others would use these terms, but would move the boundary between up a little.

 

origin of larger groups, families or orders

Origin, if it occurred, of the primates (monkeys, apes, hominids) from non-primate animals.

 

phylogeny: origin of classes, phyla, divisions or kingdoms

Origin of large groups, such as birds and mammals from reptiles, or reptiles from amphibians.


The phenomena below are sometimes called evolution, or included in what people mean when they use that word. This is unfortunate, but not much can be done to change it. None of the phenomena below could have occurred through Darwinian natural selection. When people say that life originated through evolutionary processes, or that the types of matter did, or that the universe did, they are usually referring to a naturalistic origin, that is, one that didn’t take a special act of a supernatural being. If they are referring to a natural selection process, they are in error. Natural selection only works on living things.

 

origin of life

The origin of life from chance events in an ancient body of water, containing dissolved minerals and organic materials, through chance processes. If this actually occurred, it didn't occur as a result of natural selection. Natural selection may have worked on the result. See here for the Wikipedia article on the subject.

 

origin of the elements

Took place because of the properties of sub-atomic particles, which gradually became assembled into all the types of atom we have today, and probably a few unstable types that don't occur naturally now. Some elements may have arisen as a result of nuclear reactions in supernovae. Since this doesn't directly involve living things, and wouldn't have involved natural selection, some Christians who don't believe that phylogeny took place by natural selection may nonetheless believe that the elements originated as described.

 

origin of everything

From the Big Bang, probably. This does not address the question of what came before the Big Bang, or what started it. Some Christians believe that God started the Big Bang, and that He designed it so that many properties of the universe, such as physical laws and the properties of the elements, would emerge from this event.

 

 

Since there are so many possible meanings of the word, evolution, it would be best if people discussing the subject indicated which one they were talking about. Unfortunately, they usually don't do so.


Theories of origins

Strengths

Weaknesses

 

1. Naturalism, or atheistic evolution, claims that there is no purpose to the universe, or to our existence. We are here as a result of chance processes. (This is sometimes called materialism, meaning that there is nothing real but physical material.)

See Methodological Naturalism, a related, but not identical, philosophical concept.

Accepts the scientific evidence on origins, especially the similarities between living things, the fossil record, and radioactive and fossil dating of the age of the earth

"29+ Evidences for Macroevolution: The Scientific Case for Common Descent"

If the evidence suggested to the left, in the strengths column, is shown to be false, that's a weakness.

Often claims that questions of purpose in nature are scientific in nature, when they aren't. No experiment can possibly answer the question "why is the universe here?" or "why do I exist?" I personally don't believe that any experiment can determine whether or not God exists. But there are naturalists who claim that science has proved that God doesn't exist, when no such proof exists.

Rejects belief in an omnipotent and omniscient God. This rejection is an assumption, not a provable statement.

Most people, even atheists, aren't really comfortable with the idea that there is no purpose in the universe.

Some thinkers have suggested that, if the human mind is the result of chance processes, there is no good reason to trust it.

 

The view above, and the one immediately below, or the view above, and Intelligent Design (see below), often claim that they are the only alternatives (or the media do this for them) which, unfortunately, limits discussion, and keeps much of the public in ignorance of other views.

Hebrews 11:3 applies to all of these views. Prior belief or unbelief in the nature of God almost always is important in determining what view of origins we will have.

 

2. Young-earth creationism claims that the earth is but thousands of years old, and that most of the geologic phenomena we observe are the result of the flood described in Genesis, and that that flood was world-wide.

Unfortunately, this belief is often known as just creationism, thereby making it seem as if, for instance, Gap Theory proponents don't believe that God created.

Also known as creation science

 

 

Note: Intelligent Design (abbreviated ID -- see below for more information) and Young-earth creationism are often confused. Important proponents of both are agreed that they aren't the same thing. See here for more information.

Major strength is that it accepts scripture mostly at face value, both in the first few chapters of Genesis, and in what it tells about Jesus. However, YECists do interpret scripture, whether they think so or not.

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary, for one, asserts, in its article on the flood, that the flood was world-wide, although it acknowledges that some believe that it just affected the local area, and others believe that the flood was not literal. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's commentary says the language of Genesis 7:20 "is not consistent with the theory of a partial deluge." Wesley seemed to believe in a world-wide flood. Calvin did. If the flood wasn't world-wide, why didn't God just tell Noah to walk away from everybody else? Why have an ark?

(Note that, even if there was a world-wide flood, this does not absolutely prove that most geologic phenomena are the result of that flood. It merely means that such a flood could have been responsible.)

Willing to question common interpretations of scientific data.

Perhaps the biggest weakness of this view is that two of the most important young-earth organizations have recently acknowledged that the scientific evidence from radioactive dating appears to indicate that the earth is much more than a few thousand years old. Thus, scientifically, the central claim of young-earth creationism is very weak, at best.

Some young-earth creationists claim that the earth is only a few thousand years old, probably about 6,000. This claim is weak scripturally, because this date is based on genealogies which can't be compared with any other scripture, whereas many of the genealogies which can be compared with others indicate that people (thus years) have been left out. See my age of the earth page. However, it is difficult to suppose that gaps, if any, in the genealogies account for, say, 10 million years.

Very few scientists, and, so far as I know, none who are not already committed to young-earth creationism, believe that the flood could have been responsible for most of the geologic data. See here for a revealing quote from a Christian geologist who was trained as a young-earth creationist, who has come to doubt young-earth geology entirely. Geologic strata are more consistent with slow deposition than with a single catastrophe which laid down a lot at once. The geologic evidence related to plate tectonics indicates that the earth is very old. The apparent expansion of the universe, and the background radiation left over from the Big Bang, indicate that the universe is very old. (but see below)

Some details of the flood story, if it was a world-wide flood, are difficult to understand. How could so few people have cared for so many animals for so long a time? How could, say, the Australian animals have come all the way to the Middle East before the flood, and gotten all the way back after, leaving no traces between? Where did all the water come from, and where did it go? See this article, or this one, if you are interested.

Not everyone believes that Young-Earth creationists are interpreting the Bible correctly.

Smith's Bible Dictionary says this (in its article on Noah): The language of the book of Genesis does not compel us to suppose that the whole surface of the globe was actually covered with water, if the evidence of geology requires us to adopt the hypothesis of a partial deluge. It is natural to suppose it [sic] that the writer, when he speaks of "all flesh," "all in whose nostrils was the breath of life" refers only to his own locality. This sort of language is common enough in the Bible when only a small part of the globe is intended. Thus, for instance, it is said that "all countries came into Egypt to Joseph to buy corn and that "a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. " (emphasis in original)

Here's an article by Carol A. Hill, who claims, using Biblical evidence, that the Flood was local, not world-wide.

Meredith G. Kline, in "Because it Had Not Rained," comments on interpreting the days of Genesis 1 as consecutive 24-hour days, and argues that, if literally interpreted, Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 contradict each other. In particular, Genesis 2:5, which has the phrase used in Kline’s title, seems not to fit into six literal days of creation.

The Parableman blog has a post on the interpretation of Genesis 1:1-2:3. I quote: "Many of the best Genesis scholars don't think the passage requires a time period corresponding to each day at all, though. The commentaries by the above-mentioned Bruce Waltke and Gordon Wenham, whose commentaries are at least among the very best of evangelical commentaries on this book (and Wenham's is probably the best commentary on Genesis from any perspective), do not take such a view." I consider the author to be much more theologically sophisticated than I am.

Parableman's author has kindly corresponded with me, and we have agreed on this statement about his interpretation of Genesis 1:1-2:3: "if he [Parableman] is correct (and he presents some good evidence) this indicates that this passage was not meant to be interpreted in what most people would describe as a strictly literal fashion (though he wouldn't describe his view that way for technical reasons)."

Tends to ignore the scientific evidence.
"Creation science" is a matter of looking for weaknesses in evidence about similarities , the fossil record, or dating methods, and has little or no research program of its own. There are weaknesses in this evidence, but they are all-too-often reported with poor scholarship, without understanding of their real meaning, or in a biased or even dishonest manner.
Here is a web site countering most of the claims of young-earth creationists that scientific data proves that the earth must be only a few thousand years old. (Most of these claims are that the rate of some physical process is incompatible with an earth more than a few thousand years old.)

This blog, by a well-qualified scientist who is also a young-earth creationist, agrees that the scientific evidence against young-earth creationism is strong.

The Presbyterian Church in America commissioned a study on Genesis 1-3, completed in 2000, which considered several different possible meanings of "day" in Genesis 1, giving strengths of each, and objections to them.

I have not yet read John H. Walton's The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate, but it is my understanding that Walton, an expert in Old Testament languages, argues that Genesis 1 is not really about material creation. In other words, young-earth creationists (and others) are reading about the days in a way that was not intended. Reviews of the book are here and here.

 

3. Gap theory holds that there was a gap between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2, perhaps a gap of many years. Generally holds that the Fall of Satan caused the earth of Genesis 1:2 to be formless and void. Also see here for a defense.

Accepts supernatural work of God, and also may accept scientific evidence that the earth is very old.

Apparently compatible with original Hebrew of the Old Testament.
 

If there was a gap, why doesn't the Bible say so explicitly?

May be attributing too much power (to destroy God's work) to Satan.

As you will see if you do a web search on "gap theory," there are a lot of people who don't believe it. Of course, that doesn't make it wrong.

 

4. Theistic evolution and progressive creation (see also items 6-9 below) are not always distinguishable. Believes that God started things, and used, or allowed, evolutionary processes to accomplish His purposes.

Some theistic evolutionists believe that God created sub-atomic particles with a tendency to form atoms, and created atoms with a tendency to form molecules, etc. In other words, God's original creation had emergent properties built into it.

See Henry Neufeld's FAQ on Theistic Evolution
.

Accepts scientific evidence for ancient earth, which evidence seems strong to those who hold this view, but also accepts God's power in creation (and after). Also accepts scientific evidence for relationship among groups of organisms, because of common descent.

Often accused of being a dangerous compromise between naturalistic views and Christian ones.

If God used evolutionary processes to bring about the species we have today, wouldn't that have entailed a great deal of suffering by non-human animals, which allowed natural selection? How could a good God do this? See here (this blog post is the one I referred to above) and here for comments on death before the Fall, as a weakness of this and the next category of theories. See here for an article by Glenn R. Morton, who claims, using Biblical evidence, that the Bible does not teach that there was no death before the Fall. See  here for links to other web pages that also claim that non-human death before the Fall is not contrary to scripture.

Requires belief in other than literal interpretation of scripture. It is possible that Genesis 1 was meant solely to teach that God is a God of order and power, and that humans are special, with special responsibilities toward other organisms, but there's quite a bit of detail there, which seems to be saying more than that.

Usually requires belief that flood was not universal, but that it occurred just where humans were. (Some Bible scholars accept this.)

 

5. Progressive creation holds that God intervened at several times during creation, and not only during the seven days of Genesis 1. For example, may believe that God acted to put a soul in a pre-human as a special miraculous event, then allowed the pre-human to evolve into humans. Here's another advocate's page.

Accepts scientific evidence for ancient earth, which evidence seems strong to those who hold this view, but also accepts God's power in creation (and after).

Often accused of being a dangerous compromise between naturalistic views and Christian ones.
If God used evolutionary processes to bring about the species we have today, wouldn't that have entailed a great deal of suffering by non-human animals, which allowed natural selection. How could a good God do this?

Requires belief in other than literal interpretation of scripture.

Here's a page from Answers in Genesis, criticizing Progressive Creation.
 


Vern S. Poythress, in his book, Redeeming Science: A God-Centered Approach (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2006), has presented a different classification of theories of origins. See also this web page for a list of several theories, with brief explanations. I shall briefly give an explanation, strengths, and weaknesses of some of these additional theories. All of those below can be considered varieties of Theistic evolution.


6. The Intermittent Day Theory holds that the days of Genesis 1 lasted 24-hours, but were not immediately consecutive – they may have been separated by long periods of time. I have not located an authoritative web page arguing for this view.

Accepts scientific evidence for ancient earth, which evidence seems strong to those who hold this view, but also accepts God's power in creation (and after).

This interpretation doesn’t seem to be suggested by the Language of Genesis 1. Also, the parallel between a week of work, with a Sabbath on the seventh day, to God’s creation “week” (Exodus 20:8-11) breaks down, under this interpretation. Also, under this theory, almost all of God’s creative work was done between the days, which seems a strange interpretation.
Might be a dangerous compromise between naturalistic views and Christian ones.
If God used evolutionary processes to bring about the species we have today, wouldn't that have entailed a great deal of suffering by non-human animals, which allowed natural selection? How could a good God do this?

Requires belief in other than literal interpretation of scripture.


7. The Day-Age Theory holds that the Days of Genesis 1 were actually long periods of time.

Accepts scientific evidence for ancient earth, which evidence seems strong to those who hold this view, but also accepts God's power in creation (and after).

Genesis 1 says that birds, and sea creatures, presumably including whales, were created on the fifth day, and land animals on the sixth. Modern zoologists believe that both whales and birds were descended from land animals, so simply stretching the six days of Genesis 1 doesn’t harmonize with common scientific belief.
Might be a dangerous compromise between naturalistic views and Christian ones.
If God used evolutionary processes to bring about the species we have today, wouldn't that have entailed a great deal of suffering by non-human animals, which allowed natural selection? How could a good God do this?

Requires belief in other than literal interpretation of scripture.


8. The Mature Creation Theory (also known as the Appearance of Age Theory) holds that, as Adam wasn't created as a baby, God also created the earth with an appearance of age--fossils and rock strata, magnetic records, and the like. This theory also proposes that God created the universe with an appearance of age, that is, with light from far-away galaxies that seems to have been on its way here for millions of years might have been created as if it had come from such galaxies, when the light, and the galaxies, were actually created a few thousand years ago. I have not been able to locate an authoritative web page arguing for this view.

Accepts scientific evidence for ancient earth, which evidence seems strong to those who hold this view, but also accepts God's power in creation (and after).

There is no way to prove or disprove this theory, any more than I can disprove that God created the earth 10 minutes ago, complete with geological, archaeological, historical, and legal records, the effects of human activity, and our personal memories, other than to invoke common sense. Most people are reluctant to entertain appearance of age views seriously. Such a view seems to make God into a deceiver. It also would mean that nature doesn't clearly reveal what God has done, which seems to contradict Psalm 19:1-4 and Romans 1:19-20.


9. The Analogic Day theory holds that the days of creation were not identical to 24-hour days, but analogous to them. I have not located an authoritative web page arguing for this view. Poythress, in Redeeming Science, discusses this view, and prefers it to all others. Explains the seventh day of rest better than some other views – God didn’t go back to creating after the sixth day, but He didn’t go on vacation, either. (Colossians 1:15-17) This view says that God stopped creating after the sixth day, but not sustaining, and He continues to do this, as he has for a long time. This is analogous to humans resting on the seventh day.

Accepts scientific evidence for ancient earth, which evidence seems strong to those who hold this view, but also accepts God's power in creation (and after). Takes a high view of scripture, unlike some variants of theistic evolution.

Might be a dangerous compromise between naturalistic views and Christian ones.
If God used evolutionary processes to bring about the species we have today, wouldn't that have entailed a great deal of suffering by non-human animals, which allowed natural selection? How could a good God do this?

Requires belief in other than literal interpretation of scripture.






Intelligent Design (ID) is not a theory of origins like the others, in that it does not have a defined position on the days of Genesis, and in that it does not interpret the scientific evidence in any particular way, and cannot be scientifically proved (Michael Behe, for one, believes that it is falsifiable -- spelled falsifyable in the document, unfortunately). A number of thinkers, Christian and otherwise, believe that ID should be considered a philosophy, rather than a science. (There is also an ID political movement, responsible for attempts to have design considered on an equal basis with natural selection in public school classes.) The other theories of origins given above are scientific, in that they are testable. Young-Earth Creationism, for example, interprets the scientific evidence in a particular way, and, in principle it is possible to prove or disprove YEC. (Most scientists would say that it has been disproved scientifically.) ID, however, asserts that certain features of living things are too complex to have developed by natural selection, but were somehow designed. If such special design events occurred, they are not subject to scientific verification. Nonetheless, I give, below, the strengths and weaknesses of ID. Although some careless (or deceitful) writers and speakers claim that ID and Young-Earth Creationism are the same thing, they aren’t.


Intelligent Design (ID) claims that some properties or parts of living things are too complex to have functioned before their present mature condition, and that God intervened to make or prepare these.

This view has become quite popular in the last twenty years. This is perhaps the most important web site arguing for it.

(See also the Anthropic Principle)

See this blog entry (and comments) for some insights about ID.

Accepts supernatural work of God

Often accepts scientific evidence that the earth is very old

This blog, featuring some of the founders of the ID movement, argues for ID. So far, there is no provision for comments, which is strange, and unfortunate.

This blog also argues for ID.

Impossible to prove (or disprove) that something was designed. (David Heddle, of the He Lives blog, argues that Intelligent Design can be disproved. His examples of how to disprove ID are on a cosmic level--for example proving that there are alternate universes--rather than something easily doable in field or lab. I am also not certain that all IDers would accept his tests as ways to disprove ID. Why couldn't God have designed more than one universe?) This doesn't prove that ID is incorrect, but means that it's not very plausible to many non-IDers, including many Christian thinkers. In a post at BioLogos, Dennis Venema compares certain genes found in humans and other primates, and casts serious doubt on "common design" as an explanation for the similarities between them.

It is always theoretically possible to argue, or even find, that a property or part functioned well in a state less "mature" than the present state. If so, this weakens ID arguments.

This blog argues against Intelligent design. Here's a recent attack, directly answering Michael Behe, the scientific founder of ID, who, in his Darwin’s Black Box, and since, has claimed that some biological phenomena are irreducibly complex – couldn’t have come about by natural selection. Behe’s examples, it turns out, can all be explained as the result of natural selection.

Answers in Genesis (which is definitely young-earth) has an article giving the strengths and weaknesses of Intelligent Design.

Tammy Kitzmiller, et al., vs Dover Area School Board, et al. was a case, decided in December 2005, that made it illegal to require that Intelligent Design be mentioned in science classes, as an alternative to evolution. This link is to the deciding opinion of Judge Jones (said to be a church-going Republican) in the case. (Warning: the file is .PDF, 139 pages, and over 300 kb in size)


One danger to be avoided is "God-of-the-gaps" belief. That is, to say something like "we don't understand how forelimbs could have evolved into wings, so God must have done that by a miracle." Just because I understand how a car works doesn't rule out intelligence in the development of cars, nor does understanding of biochemistry or physiology rule out intelligence in planning these, and bringing them into being, even if we don't see any evidence of miracles in these phenomena. Colossians 1:15-17 indicates that Christ is, somehow, involved in the day-to-day existence of the universe. Or, as a philosopher friend of mine once said, "God is not only the God of infinity, He is the God of two plus two."

Our understanding of a phenomenon by no means proves that God wasn't involved in it. On the contrary, it ought to deepen our appreciation of God. On the other hand, to say that God is solely responsible for what we can’t explain means that, as we accumulate knowledge, God will seem to be responsible for less and less.

For more on the different categories of beliefs about origins, see here . (I developed this web page without being aware of that resource.)

 

Final Thoughts

No simple harmony of science and scripture is possible. Some interpretation, and some faith (Hebrews 11:3) is a requirement for any such.

The most important question about origins is not about when, or how. It's the question of whether we are here because of blind chance processes, or because of a divine plan. In other words, it's the question of Who?

I thank various speakers and authors, both web and traditional, and many other people, especially Southern Wesleyan University students, for the insight they have given me, and the questions they have asked. I doubt if any of these ideas are original with me. - Martin LaBar

The author is not responsible for the content of web pages linked to this page, other than his own, nor does he necessarily agree with their content. However, he believes that they present material relevant to the investigation of this topic, and that they are representative of the views of their authors.


This page is (may I say it!) evolving, and is an example of secular change, or, at most, speciation.

To my blog, Sun and Shield, this often considers matters that have scriptural and scientific implications.

To a page which has my e-mail address. Any comments would be appreciated.

Another good attempt at a meaningful classification of the various types of evolution. by a Christian author, may be found here. And a summary of a different, book-length attempt, also by a Christian author, may be found here.

I have produced a flowchart of beliefs on origins. Eugenie Scott, of the National Center for Science Education, has produced a different diagram. Steve Martin, author of "An Evangelical Dialogue on Evolution," has pointed out some problems with Scott's diagram, and produced a simpler one. One weakness of Martin's work, which is otherwise excellent, is that it uses "evolution" without defining it.

The paragraph immediately above was added on May 23, 2009. The link to the last added classification scheme was added on December 15, 2014.

 

  Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. The purpose of this is NOT to prevent use by others, but to prevent other users from restricting free use. I claim no ownership of portions of the above material which are quotations from other sources.






Comments