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Can a Person Believe in God and Evolution?
by Daryl E. Witmer
Yes , certainly it’s possible for someone to affirm faith in God and evolution.
I know many who do. But in order to do so, one must circumvent the traditional
definition of the term ‘God’ or ‘evolution’ or both. Which makes taking this
position a mistake.
Now I’m assuming for the purposes of this article that ‘God’ means the God
of the Bible and that ‘evolution’ means macroevolution – the system or process
that involves the descent of increasingly complex and developed organisms
(and even kinds) from ancestor organisms over long periods of time by natural
But the God of the Bible is referred to in the Bible (Genesis 1:1, Isaiah
43:1, Romans 1:25, etc.) as Creator of all that is, not developer of some system
that eventually produces all that is. To create by fiat (Genesis 1) implies
the act of bringing something into existence directly and purposefully, not
eventually and by chance.
Evolutionary theory (i.e. Darwinianism), on the other hand, has always been
based on naturalism and has never postulated a role of any sort for the Creator
God of the Bible. So believing in both the God of the Bible and
macroevolutionary theory necessarily involves a very awkward redefining
of terms, and an anomalous merging of concepts. The resulting
hybrid views are variously referred to today as Deistic evolution, theistic
evolution, progressive creationism, BioLogos, Framework interpretation,
Day-Age and Gap theories. All such views are rejected by proponents of
literal Biblical creationism AND naturalistic evolution – with good reason.
Intellectually sharp scientific minds (past and present) such as Assimov,
Sagan, Dawkins, and Provine have all been absolutely consistent in saying that if
an impersonal, inanimate evolutionary system can rearrange molecules and
chemicals in such a way as to have produced all that is, then there is certainly
no need or place for God and religious myth in this world.
The National Academy of Sciences is strongly committed to Darwinian
evolutionary theory – and only 7% of its members claim to believe in a
personal God. So they are also logically consistent within their worldview
and in regard to the historic definition of terms. I admire that, although I
certainly do not share their worldview.
Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, says it
this way: ‘I…couldn’t disagree more with their premise [but] I think their
self-analysis is correct. You cannot coherently affirm the Christian truth claim
and the dominant model of evolutionary theory at the same time.’
Respected Christian apologist Greg Koukl (STR.org) says: “If you are an
evolutionist, you are not a theist in the sense that your theism has anything to do
with the real world. If you want to believe in God and believe in evolution,
fine, go ahead and do that, but don’t act like your belief in God has anything
to do with the real world.
It doesn’t. Your belief about the real world is evolution, and that means
time and chance. If you believe that God has something to do with the real
But if all of this is true, how do we explain why sincere Christian scholars,
scientists, and theologians from St. Augustine to Hugh Ross to Francis
Collins have opted for some form of theistic evolutionary doctrine?
Author Nancy Pearcey explains: ‘Theistic evolution has enormous appeal.
It seems to offer the best of both worlds. It offers the comfort and fulfillment of
believing in God, and at the same time the security of fitting in with the major
scientific consensus.’ But the ‘concept of creation is fundamental to the
Christian worldview,” she insists. ‘In accepting evolution…theologians reject
a number of key Christian beliefs.’ It’s an unfortunate compromise.
And an unnecessary one. Because good and sufficient evidence abounds
for a strictly creationist view of origins. And the evidence is both scientific
AIIA Resource Associate Wayne Frair, Ph.D., is a credentialed scientist and
book author. He says, ‘Yes, you can [believe in both God and evolution], but
when you study the evidence carefully, you discover that God did not do it
John MacArthur, in The Battle for the Beginning: ‘Absolutely nothing in the
text of Genesis 1:1 – 2:3 speaks of evolution or long geologic ages in creation
process. The text itself is in fact a straightforward refutation of all evolutionary
principles. Theistic evolution, billion-year-old-earth theories, and ‘progressive
creationism’ are all refuted if we simply take the statements of Genesis
at face value.’
The foundational concepts of macro-evolutionary theory and the Biblical
Creator God are mutually exclusive.
For further study see this excellent ETS paper: