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Differing opinions on God and Evolution4 min read

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Time magazine’s cover story The Evolution Wars. Included in their coverage is a piece about conflicts between God and evolution.

They interviewed four different people with varying ideas and experiences: Francis Collins, Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, Steven Pinker, Harvard Philosophy Professor, Michael Behe, Lehigh Biochemistry Professor and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, and Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Here are some highlights of the answers the experts gave to the question of God and evolution.

Francis Collins

I lead the Human Genome Project, which has now revealed all of the 3 billion letters of our own DNA instruction book. I am also a Christian. For me scientific discovery is also an occasion of worship.

While no one could claim yet to have ferreted out every detail of how evolution works, I do not see any significant “gaps” in the progressive development of life’s complex structures that would require divine intervention.

Steven Pinker

It’s natural to think that living things must be the handiwork of a designer. But it was also natural to think that the sun went around the earth.

The theory of natural selection explains life as we find it, with all its quirks and tragedies. It doesn’t pretend to solve one mystery (the origin of complex life) by slipping in another (the origin of a complex designer).

Michael Behe

Sure, it’s possible to believe in both God and evolution. I’m a Roman Catholic, and Catholics have always understood that God could make life any way he wanted to.

I’m still not against Darwinian evolution on theological grounds. I’m against it on scientific grounds. I think God could have made life using apparently random mutation and natural selection. But my reading of the scientific evidence is that he did not do it that way, that there was a more active guiding.

Albert Mohler

Given the human tendency toward inconsistency, there are people who will say they hold both positions. But you cannot coherently affirm the Christian-truth claim and the dominant model of evolutionary theory at the same time.

Evangelicals must absolutely affirm the special creation of humans in God’s image, with no physical evolution from any nonhuman species. Just as important, the Bible clearly teaches that God is involved in every aspect and moment in the life of His creation and the universe. That rules out the image of a kind of divine watchmaker.

My only concern with the story is the addition of Mohler (as much as I admire him) and Pinker. I would have liked to see two more scientifically credentialed people defend the atheistic evolution and six-day creation positions. They are numerous scientists who would have volunteered.

By mixing both the philosophical and scientific arguments, the reader could be left with the wrong idea. On one had, one might think that while evolution is true, all major scientists in the field believe in God or are a Christian. This is, of course, not true. On the other hand, you may assume that six-day creation has no scientific basis, since Mohler only affirms Biblical support for the position. That is also not true.

I think the piece would have been stronger if someone from the science debated each position as well as someone from philosophy. This way the reader would not get the idea that creation has only a scriptural basis and you could see the philosophical implications of each idea fleshed out.

If a position is true, be it in the creation and evolution debate or in any other current issue, then both science and philosophy will hold evidence to support that position. Truth is not limited to either, but flows through out every field of knowledge.