Evolution and religion
|We're all Homo here|
|A Gradual Science|
|Plain Monkey Business|
Several creationists have argued that evolution is incompatible with religion, or at least their religion. Since they're scientific, logical people, they
reconsider their faith in the light of this evidence deny evolution.
Without a literal Fall, there is no need for redemption, and thus no need for Jesus or Christianity.
- Precisely. We do not need Jesus or Christianity.
- Christians can agree on the problem of sin's existence without tracing that sin all the way back to a specific historical origin. That is, it is only important that sin exists now; how sin first originated is irrelevant. One does not need a belief in a literal Fall to feel they have sinned and need redemption or a savior.
- Some Christians believe that the initial chapters of Genesis exist primarily to teach theological and moral lessons. On this view, the entire purpose of the story of the Fall is to convey the need for salvation, regardless of the historicity of the events.
- Evolution does not interfere with the idea of a literal Fall - both can be true simultaneously without a contradiction as Adam and Eve could have been real, albeit special, people that sinned against God regardless of whether their origin is a special creation or evolutionary.
- The statement is true. If a certain religious belief is at odds with what is known about reality, then such a belief should be abandoned rather than the knowledge of reality.
- There is no reason that the Fall should be the only sin committed by an ancestor for which descendants are responsible. The children of murderers are not murderers unless they commit murder themselves, so why are the great-great-great-great-great-great-great....grandchildren of people who did something much less bad than murder born allegedly deserving of damnation?
Fallacies contained in this claim
- Argument from adverse consequences and false dilemma (if we accept evolution, we have to dismiss Jesus)
- Red herring (the Fall is irrelevant to evolution and to sin's existence)
- Special pleading (eating the forbidden fruit as clearly the only inherited sin)
Problem of evil
Evolution implies billions of years of animals suffering and dying before human beings appeared. This implies that God is not really a God of mercy and grace, because the suffering was not necessary to create human beings for fellowship with himself. This, in turn, implies that the loving God of the Bible does not exist.
- God has allowed uncounted billions of lifeforms (human, other animals, and plants) to suffer and die in the years after He created Adam. If the benevolence of God is consistent with this suffering since the Fall, why would it not be consistent with the suffering before it?
- And how exactly does the destruction of all terrestrial life (animals, plants, people, or otherwise) that was not allowed onto the Ark imply a merciful God?
- This assumes that physical death is morally wrong. While physical death is an uncomfortable concept, it may be an intended part of creation. Remember, God created humanity with a spiritual component, so it's not clear at all that we necessarily were created to be physically immortal.
- If an idea does not fit the facts, it's not the facts that need to be adjusted.
- Creationists assert that this "death and suffering" was not necessary. This contradicts the well-supported concept of selection pressure, and there is no evidence cited to discredit it.
- This claim, like many others, assumes the existence of God, which is a mighty assumption indeed.
- If animals did not die, then what did animals such as vultures, sharks, lions, velociraptors, tarantulas and snakes eat? If not animals, then why are they so well-adapted to eating meat? Why would their diets have changed after the Fall?
- If no animals died, they would eventually overpopulate the planet unless they stopped reproducing. Why would they be given the ability to reproduce then, if God could simply start off with the right number that could all live forever in the first place?
- Creationists who make this claim seem to forget about the instances in the Bible where God demands the slaughter of the various enemies of the Israelites, down to the last man, woman, child and beast.
- Yes. So what?
- Also there were no animals before 600-700Ma. The statement "animals dying for billions of years" is wrong.
- William Dembski, in The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World (B&H Publishing, Nashville, Tennessee, 2009) revives the notion that the effects of the Fall could have been retroactive. Pace young-earth creativology.
Fallacies contained in this claim
- Argument from adverse consequences (if evolution is true, God is not as one wants him to be)
- Biological evolution does not equate to change, but to consistent selection to suit a given environment. In stable environmental niches, evolution by natural selection need not occur.
- Non-biological change (in the cosmos, for instance, or in society or in language or in ideas) does not necessarily equate to Darwinesque "evolution" - despite lumpers' attempts to fail to make this distinction.
- The "unchanging" Word of God evolved (for example, from Old Testament jingoism to New Testament
submissionmeek-and-mild to Koranic submission).
Fallacies contained in this claim
- Straw man
- Argument from adverse consequences - change from the Divine Order represents moral decay and is clearly a Bad Thing.
- Morris, Henry M., 1998 (Apr.). The Fall, the Curse, and Evolution. Back to Genesis 112: a. 
- Grant, Heber J., Anthony W. Ivins, and Charles W. Nibley, n.d. Mormon view of evolution. 
- Deborah B. and Loren D. Haarsma, 2007. Origins: A Reformed Look at Creation, Design, & Evolution 
- Morris, Henry M., 2000 (June). The vital importance of believing in recent creation. Back to Genesis 138: a-c. 
Dembski, William A. (2009). "Creation as Double Creation". The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World. Nashville, Tennessee: B&H Publishing Group. p. 110. ISBN 9780805427431. Retrieved 2019-05-12. "[...] unbound by time, God is under no compulsion merely to rewrite the future of the world from the moment of the Fall (as assumed by young-earth creationism). [...] An infinite God who transcends time can redeem a botched performance by acting across time. In particular, God could make the effects of the Fall evident in creation so that those effects, though attributable to the Fall, come temporally prior to it. In other words, the effects of the Fall can be retroactive.
A retroactive view of the Fall was one of several Christian options proposed in the nineteenth century to explain prehuman suffering and death."
- Smith, Calvin (2011-06-30). "Retroactive death!: What's wrong with that?". Creation Ministries International. "Retroactive death[:] To counteract what many long-agers have admitted is the clearest exegesis (most plain and obvious understanding) of the Genesis text, a new concept developed by Christian philosophy professor and Intelligent Design leader Bill Dembski proposes that God 'spanked' mankind by cursing the cosmos before Adam sinned. He did this because He knew the Fall would happen, and so extended the effects of the Curse backwards, before it actually occurred. (In effect man arrives on the scene 'pre-punished' for what he would later do!) In his book The End of Christianity Dembski argues that Mankind's Fall into sin not only marred the creation after Adam but was also 'retroactive'. (Dembski admits that the clearest exegesis supports the young-age position, but explicitly says that he rejects it because of 'science'). [...] A quick look at the related scriptures (something Ma proponents sometimes appear to neglect) reveal several passages in the Bible that actually show that God acted in the completely opposite way."
- "The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not." - Daniel 6:12