Why Christian Doctrine and Evolution Conflict

As scientific research continues to grow and technology gets more advanced, the more Christianity is validated. This is found in the extreme complexity and fine tuning of life in the universe. With this being the case, is it possible that someday the theory of evolution and Christianity will merge together because of overwhelming scientific research? No, it won’t.

I want to start by making a clarification. There are two kinds of evolution: micro- and macro-. In micro-evolution, slight adjustments are made to a species that enhance its ability to survive in a given environment. These are also called adaptations. Macro-evolution, on the other hand, is when changes in a species lead it entirely change species. Micro-evolution occurs for certain, this is easily observable in nature. Examples of micro-evolution include, bacteria becoming resistant to a drug and Darwin’s Finches. There is poor evidence (none) for macro-evolution in nature, for more on this check out my podcast with Sean McDowell; however, in this blog, that’s not where I want to focus. I want to focus on why the theory can be harmful to the doctrine of people following God if they chose to believe it.

Reality is the word theory has become thrown around. Both evolution and gravity are theories; however, there is clearly not as much evidence to support the first as there is gravity. Also, if (macro-)evolution was true, why do so many people doubt evolutionary theory unlike gravity. There is clearly difference in the significance of the term theory among the scientific community. Just food for thought.

Could God have used Evolution?

People have proposed the thought, “Why must they be separate? Couldn’t God have made all creatures through that process?” Why yes, he very possibly could have. He’s God; he can do it however he wants. Although, I’ll tell you why I have strong reason to believe that he didn’t.

The fossil record shows that the population of animals on the earth looks more like an inverted pyramid: starting at the top there is a high population, and it decreases as you move down the pyramid. However, other people propose that there was one single organism and then all other organisms came from that. This is not what the fossil record shows. With the evidence that there were many more species and then it got smaller, it supports God creating all the animals on the earth like it’s said in Genesis.

This is another reason I think that God didn’t use evolution. Evolution steals glory right away from God; it diminishes the creativity of God. It doesn’t make sense as to why Christ would use a scientific process to create life, when he could further display his glory by individually crafting each unique animal. This appears to be counter intuitive of how Christ does things throughout the course of the Bible. God is not random, and he does nothing blind; however, evolution is blind. On top of that, unlike the rest of creation, mankind was created in the image of God and we have souls: we are different from all other creatures in this regard.

If we were to hold true to the theory, we would be considered no different than all other animals on the planet. There would be nothing unique about us, nothing worth saving. This directly conflicts with basic doctrine from the Bible.

Why Materialism Must be False

If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true…and hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.”

– C.S. Lewis

From Ben,

One of the issues with an evolutionary perspective is the idea of materialism. First off, let’s define materialism in these terms. Materialism is the idea that everything can be traced back to physical matter; there is no spiritual aspect to things or even a mind apart from a physical brain. Everything can be explained as a chemical interaction. But how can this be logical?

How can anything be logical if all thoughts are chemical reactions occurring in our brains.

The largest issue with this point of view that often comes to my mind is the conscience found in every person- the moral compass inside of us all that separates right from wrong and produces feelings of guilt. How are human beings born with an idea of what is good and what is bad? Materialism says that it is all matter; there is no true good or bad because everything is simply chemicals reacting to create a response. Does materialism explain this idea of a conscience in humans? I believe it does not.

Another Major Issue

Another major issue with the idea that all things are only physical is the idea of truth itself. If every thought is simply chemicals interacting, then how can we trust anything that we say, or others say? The materialist point of view says that you have no control over what you say, think, and do. Because it is all simply a physical interaction within your brain that does not involve immaterial feelings or knowledge. Once again, how can we believe in ourselves and those around us to make “good” choices when they actually have no control over their thoughts or actions?

How do beliefs and values play a role in a materialistic evolutionary perspective on the world? They simply don’t make any sense. The thought that unguided evolution would produce beings that hold believes, pursue truth, and have values does not directly align with evolution, nor materialism. Evolution simply cares about behaviors, not beliefs. Materialists have no substantial argument as to how the ability of humans to think and hold personal views on things developed from only physical matter.

This leads us to the incredible complexity of the world and all processes that occur within. As science has progressed and academia has been able to study life on a much more microscopic level, the simple theories of evolution have begun to fall apart. The chances that a random occurrence would cause such complex and incredibly-designed life forms is just not plausible or rational. In this case, there had to be something (or someone) immaterial, that is supernatural, that created and designed such processes. This view completely clashes with the views of a materialist who would believe that random events caused unguided evolution, which produced human beings.

Practical Application:

When talking to someone who you know as an evolutionist, bring up the idea of materialism. Ask them if they truly believe that every thought they have and every belief they hold is simply a chemical reaction occurring in their brain. Bring up the fact that if materialism were true, how could we know anything to be trustworthy or moral. Also, ask your friend about their conscience and if they feel guilt when they do wrong, then ask them to explain how this developed simply through matter. Always be polite and respectful, showing the love of Jesus in every response and interaction.

If you want to educate yourself further on the idea of materialism, I highly suggest researching and reading articles on Thomas Nagel. Nagel is an atheist, but is not afraid to say controversial things on reason and evolution itself.