Several years ago, my wife and I experienced a wonderful vacation in New Zealand. New Zealand is a beautiful country with many natural wonders which, for us, undeniably point to a Creator God. Only God could design and create scenery so amazing.
During the trip, we went on a whale-watching adventure. Prior to departing on the boat, we were asked to watch an informative video on whales. In this video was a lengthy section discussing how whales evolved. According to the video, what was essentially a large wolf learned to catch fish on the coastlines, began to venture further and further into the water, and over millions of year, eventually evolved into a whale. The absurdity of the idea would have been hilarious were it not for the fact that millions of people actually believe what the video presented.
Christians are not, or at least should not be, opposed to microevolution. Microevolution, which is changes within a species, is an uncontroversial, well-documented, naturally occurring biological phenomenon. Macroevolution, which is one species developing into an entirely new species, is what many Christians are opposed to. Why? For one, it is not scientific. It is not observable, testable, or repeatable. We see species adapting all the time. But, we do not see dogs becoming horses, or lizards becoming birds. When Darwin observed finches on the Galapagos islands, he observed certain types of finches surviving better due to a slightly different beak design (microevolution). He did not observe finches becoming anteaters (macroevolution).
Theistic evolution is probably the predominant view in the world today. While I believe theistic evolution to be decidedly unbiblical, I do not view it as contradictory to the core message of the Christian faith. One can be a true follower of Jesus Christ while holding to theistic evolution. I can see how theistic evolution “makes sense,” as it would take an all-powerful Creator God to turn a wolf into a whale. But, for me, theistic macroevolution is completely unnecessary. If God wanted a whale to exist, why not just create a whale? Why take a wolf and over millions of years transform it into a whale?
Christians reject macroevolution because: (1) it is unbiblical, and (2) it is the “Creation account” for atheism. Now, I am not saying that everyone who accepts macroevolution is an atheist. What I am saying is that for atheism to be true, macroevolution must also be true. If there is no God, then everything we see has to have evolved. Protein molecules became amoebas; amoebas became fish; fish became lizards; lizards became dogs; dogs became monkeys; and monkeys became humans. Despite the absurdity of it, despite the virtually impossible odds of a single protein molecule forming by chance even if given billions of years, this is what many people believe. Why do they believe this evolutionary mythology? Atheists believe it because they have no other choice. Others believe it because they have been taught that it is true and have been told that anyone who believes otherwise is an ignorant and backwards caveman.
The consequences of believing in evolution can be readily seen in the world today. If we teach children they are nothing but highly evolved animals, why are we surprised when they act like animals? If we are told that survival of the fittest is how the world works, why are we surprised when those who think they are the fittest are willing to do anything, no matter how immoral and evil, to make sure they survive? If we are nothing but the most highly evolved creature on this planet, “Let us eat, drink, do drugs, sleep around, you know, do whatever we want, for tomorrow we die” (loose paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 15:32).
In contrast, if there is a Creator God, there is meaning and purpose to our existence. There is a reason for choosing good instead of evil, love instead of hate, and mercy instead of revenge. With God, we can recognize places like New Zealand as beautiful examples of God’s creative power instead of understanding them to be random piles of rock and dirt that just happen to cause our neural synapses to fire in a certain way.
S. Michael Houdmann