Monday, 14 September 2009

Creation and Evolution

I have been thinking about whether evidence of evolution is proof that creation never happened and whether this means there is no God. My conclusion is that the answer depends on the frame of reference of the person when gathering evidence and presenting an argument. What do I mean?

Evidence for evolution seems to be that there is some identifiable evidence for a progression in development. I would argue that we can see such evidence in the human designs such as houses, cars, computers, clothes, etc. Human understanding of what is possible is revealed through the products that have been developed. I doubt whether there is anyone who would argue that such designs evolved without a human designer / creator. This is because our conception is that these items are designed and not naturally occurring in nature.

If an outsider were to visit this world without meeting humans, what would they conclude? Would they argue that on the evidence there must have been an intelligent designer of these artefacts or would they see the evidence of evolution in these artefacts and argue that they must have evolved without a creating influence. Surely this will depend on their perception of what the evidence is reporting and what they perceived as the evidence for creation.

I contend that the evidence for evolution doesn't rule out a creator / designer influence. There is the argument that says who put the rules in place by which natural selection occurs? Are they simply random rules or is there some order to them? It is my belief that there is evidence of some order to those rules. They are not chance creations. From my perspective, evidence for evolution is not evidence against a creator influence. It simply shows that the process of creation may have occurred over an extended period of time.

The difficulty is with the perspective that takes Genesis 1 literally, that is God created in seven days. Is that what the author of the passage intended to communicate or was the intent to communicate seven phases of development or may be simply that God created. Again, this is based on the perception of the reader of Genesis. This perception will influence what evidence is acceptable or unacceptable as proof of creation. A narrow focus of God creating in seven days means that evidence of development over a longer period of time rules out creation but I have a problem with that perspective.

To me, the Bible talks of God's developing relationship with man. That relationship develops and changes throughout the Bible. God didn't create humankind and say this is how I am or this is what I want you to be. The Bible seems to show a development in humankind and his relationship to the world and to God. This seems to say to me that God is more interested in evolutionary development rather than big bang creationism.

Just as human creation shows signs of evolution, I am willing to accept that God's creation would also show signs of evolution. This means that I don't see evidence of evolution meaning that creation has not occurred or that God does not exist. The more I observe the natural world, the more I see evidence of design and no chance development. There is too much order to be some chance production. Just as I would never argue that buildings or cars were created by chance, I wouldn't argue that the natural world is a chance evolution.

Since it is not possible to go back to there being nothing (i.e. creating out of nothing), I can't see whether there can be evidence that would convince me that evolution was possible from a point of there being nothing if there ever was such a point.

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