What should Christians think about evolution?
There is no single view of evolution out there. We make one distinction, for example, between macroevolution and microevolution. Macroevolution claims that all of life evolved fortuitously from a single cell—one little pulsating cell of life made up of amino acids and RNA and DNA and all of that, and then through chance, explosions, or whatever, there were mutations. First, a lower, simplistic form of life came about, and then from that came more complex things, and we all emerged, as it were, from the slime, through oozing, into our present humanity. That’s the radical view of evolution that sees life occurring as sort of a cosmic accident.
This view of evolution—the one I hear discussed publicly so often in the secular world—is unmitigated nonsense and will be totally rejected by the secular scientific community within the next generation. My objections to it are not so much theological as they are rational and logical. I mean, the doctrine of macroevolution is one of the most unsubstantiated myths that I’ve ever seen perpetuated in an academic environment.
But there are other varieties much less radical that simply indicate that there is a change, a progression involving different directions among various species that we can even track historically. The kind of evolution of the latter sort is of no consequence with respect to biblical Christianity. The big issue is with the former view, and this is the basic question: Is man in his origin the product of a purposive act of divine intelligence, or is man a cosmic accident? In other words, am I a creature of dignity or a creature of cosmic insignificance? That’s a pretty heavy issue because if I just sort of popped into being or emerged from the slime and I’m destined for annihilation, I can only fantasize that somehow in between those two poles of origin and destiny I have meaning and significance and dignity. But that’s wishful thinking of the worst sort. Obviously if I come from nothing and go to nothing, I am nothing under any objective analysis.
A Christian cannot believe that he is a cosmic accident and at the same time believe in the sovereign God and the creator God. To be a Christian is to affirm not only Christ the Redeemer but God the Creator. And we have to affirm both. Let me say, too, before we drop this question, that some of the biggest objections I have toward this more radical view of evolution are not the theological problems, as serious as they are, but rational problems. I think that it is not only bad theology, it’s bad science.
All Christians, Jews, and Muslims historically have made it a central article of affirmation that this world and all the people in it are the result of a divine act of creation. As far as Christianity is concerned, if there’s no creation, then there’s nothing to redeem.
©1996 by R.C. Sproul. Used by permission of Tyndale.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. ©1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.