Evolution and Origins – the Beauty of “Both-And” (Evolution part 2)
The issue of faith versus evolution is so old that one college professor told me recently he was “bored stiff” with it. The basic issue is the unhelpfulness of dualistic language – did we evolve, OR were we created? Contrary to popular belief , Darwinism and natural selection theory doesn’t say anything very much about how life started, so the binary language is misplaced. More and more people are beginning to realise that the displacement of God by Darwin is wholly mistaken.
We can bring it down to the individual level to see what I am getting at. I believe that I was physically “created” at a particular moment in late 1962 (it was a very cold winter), emerging into the world 9 months later. It was a physical act (we don’t need to elaborate too much!) and a known biological, scientific process. It is process we increasingly understand and can even partially artificially replicate and sometimes fix when it goes wrong. Longstanding evils like infant mortality rates and stillbirths are much less common than they were.
At the same time, as a Christian I believe was also created by God. There was a time when neither I nor my physical body existed at all, and a single moment when both suddenly did. God formed me (Jeremiah 1:4-5, Isaiah 44:2, Psalm 139:13, Galatians 1:15), and knew me from that time, indeed from before that time. He has plans for me then, and He has them now, right down to knowing the very hairs on my head (which is not the impossible task it once was, sadly).
The point is that both of these descriptions of my origin are true, at the same time – it is not an either/or proposition. I was created BY God, granted an identity, AND formed through natural, sexual and reproductive processes. I am both a profound mystery, and eminently explainable, at the same time. Neither explanation excludes the other, indeed they complement each other, bringing the “what” and the “why” together.
So it is with all our human origins. There will always be more and more science. In fact, this field of human knowledge is still in its infancy. But the nature of our scientific origins co-exist quite happily with the claim that God created everything from nothing. They are both true, at the same time. Each new scientific discovery illuminates what God has done through the agency of the fixed laws of the universe. What is more, suddenly the eminent scientist is now my friend and not my foe – we are now both talking about the same thing and can journey together. This is the beauty of “both-and”.