This is the first part on my mini-series Creation, Evolution and Evangelicalism.
I thought I’d start off by answering the question, “Why does it matter?” Why should we bother discussing issues of evolution – is there any difference in whether you believe in a literal 6-day creation or evolution? Well, in some ways I think the answer is “no”, in that – I don’t think it’s a salvation issue. On the other hand, I do believe it is a huge apologetic issue.
If people’s perception of Christianity is that it is at odds with science – that’s going to work as a huge barrier to many people from entering into the faith. My science / faith view is that the book of God’s word and the book of God’s works are never in conflict: God created or wrote both the Bible and nature. This is how science originally started – the early ‘natural philosophers’ believed that by doing experiments and finding out how the world worked, they were finding out about the mind of God, so to speak: a Christian worldview underpins the modern scientific endeavour.
So, I believe primarily the issue with creation and evolution is one of evangelism: it is not our job to make the gospel more offensive. If the Bible is not in conflict with science, we shouldn’t teach that it is. I could be overstating the case here, but it is my belief that people only hear “science has disproved religion” in the media so often because the creationist movement has set it up that way.
Of course, it’s not just a matter of apologetics, it’s a matter of truth. Perhaps I should have put this first, but still! 6-day creationism and evolution cannot both be true. If we’re getting the teaching of the Bible’s creation narratives a bit wrong, then it’s actually our duty as Christians to fix that and get it right.
So I hope this lays out why I believe it’s an important debate to have, and why it matters what we believe. In my next post (a teaser? On this blog? Surely not!) I will examine the reasons why I believe 6-day creationism to be false. Stay tuned. (Or, subscribe to this blog. Or, check back soon. Staying ‘tuned’ to a blog probably isn’t really a good metaphor.)