Death and the Origin of our Species

Is theistic evolution a logical compromise between Darwinism and Christianity? Can we make friends, as it were, with modern science by saying that the Bible’s explanation of our origins and the theory of evolution can be married together successfully by simply adding God to the mix?

Is it reasonable to suggest that the enormous diversity of life on earth is the product of God creating the universe and the basic life forms and then allowing death and natural selection under the guidance of time + chance to do the rest, as many are now saying, especially among the high Anglicans.

Is this the way God ended up with people whom he tells us were created in his very own image? Does this make sense when we are also told that death, is the result of the sin of Adam?

Here you have two quite different views of death. In Darwin’s world, death is one of the essential ingredients in the process that brings us to the level of complexity we now experience as humans. But in God’s story, death is the result of evil coming into his world through the rebellion of a complex creature he purposely created with the ability to make moral choices.

In Darwin’s world death is just a natural part of life, having no moral implications whatsoever. In God’s world it is the most absolute proof that we have broken away from our creator, that we are sinful and in desperate need of redemption. “Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned–“(Rom 5:12)

Darwinism is facing its toughest trial ever, thanks to the work of some very eminent scientists who have had the courage to re-examine all the claims made and shown them to be nothing more than ‘Just-so Stories’. Some are Christians some are not, but the one thing they all agree on is that you don’t get life in all its amazing forms without a designer who has been very exacting and involved in the in the outcome of all living things.

Recent research by the intelligent design group has shown that every one of Darwin’s assumptions fails when examined correctly under rigorous scientific principles. Those, like Richard Dawkins, wanting to defend Darwin of recent times have abandoned scientific arguments altogether in favour of insult and abuse of those that refuse to agree with them.

This should be good news for Christians who have long felt the need to compromise with the so called Science of Evolution to be taken seriously in their witness to the world.

While I have great respect for many fine Christians who support a God-guided evolutionary framework I still find myself having to disagree with their conclusions. That’s because I find the moral implications of theistic evolution to be quite horrendous.

I struggle to see how God could talk about death as a consequence of evil while at the same time use death in some ‘tooth and claw’ process to bring us into being. I also have to ask why God who seems to love creating amazingly beautiful things would be content to let time and chance do his work for him.

I recognise that the first two chapters of Genesis are full of symbols and it’s hard at times to distinguish between what’s literary construct and what’s literal, “that’s how it would have looked if you’d been there” history, but the idea that God created adult living organisms and sent them off to multiply, I think fits a lot more comfortably with the way things are and the way God works.

God telling the residents of that idylic garden that rebellion would lead to death, would make no sense if Adam’s mother and father were some prehuman species of ape who had already experienced death as part of a natural process to bring him into being.

God only uses ‘good’ to describe three things: The world before the fall, his Son Jesus, and the New Heavens and the New Earth waiting for the elect. One of the essentials of that goodness is the absence of the death of man which God calls the last enemy.

“Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death”. (1 Cor 15:24-26)

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