Often, young people have questions about science, evolution, the Book of Genesis, and how to trust God in a hostile world. As we wonder about the origins of humanity, and where Biblical faith and scientific knowledge meet, a lot of questions develop.
Here’s a partial answer of what we said:
All Christians understand that God has revealed himself in the Bible, and in nature. Pastors study the Scriptures, and scientists study nature. If there are any disagreements between what we read in the Bible about creation, and what scientists tell us about the natural world, the mistake is by humans, and not God, since God cannot lie. Once we arrive in heaven, God will finally show how the Bible and nature are in complete agreement, even if we don’t understand perfectly now.
All Christians believe in some kind of evolution, especially the way some species have naturally evolved over years: like how some bird’s beaks have evolved to help them feed, or how some species of moths have evolved color patterns so that they blend in. This (micro evolution) is something we can all agree on.
However, the Bible rejects the idea that God is not involved in nature, it’s developments, or that God is not sovereign in every part of creation. Many scientists today teach a theory of evolution that has no room for God, and is actually at odds with the Bible in many ways. Macro evolution, the theory that all life evolved from one common ancestor, goes against many Biblical teachings, including the uniqueness of humanity in the image of God, and that God created with peace and beauty in contrast to the death and chaos of natural selection.
Scientists who teach a theory with no view of God (called materialism) can provide no reason for morality (right and wrong), virtuous values like love, justice, or the mind, or describe why life has meaning. (It is also worth pointing out that much of evolutionary theory today not only goes against religious ideas, but scientific ideas as well, specifically replicating tests in the scientific theory.)
Christians have debated among ourselves exactly how to interpret Genesis 1, like if each of the six days refers to 24 hours or represent a longer period of time (compare II Peter 3:9), in what sense Satan used the talking serpent, etc. But these debates among Christians all agree that everything that exists comes from God who created out of nothing (creation ex nihilo). We reject those who use science, or any human knowledge or experience, to distort or change God’s unchanging Word.
Ultimately, you are not saved based on your understanding of creation, you are saved by the new creation that Jesus brought by living, dying on the cross, and rising again, to be received through faith and repentance. The Bible is much clearer at the center (Jesus’ life and atonement), and less clear at the start and finish (Creation and End Times). Unfortunately, many Christians have gotten stuck in arguments about Creation and End Times. As followers of the Bible, we care deeply about the truth of Creation not because it saves you, but because it teaches us that God can be trusted, that this world and each person are not an accident, and that God’s laws and plan for your life are most important for understanding ourselves.
* * *
Ligonier Ministries helps remind us of Biblical truth, when R.C. Sproul explains if Scripture is at odds with science: