Is evolution ‘anti-religion’? It depends.
Anti-creationism is becoming increasingly organised and shrewd. The main U.S. pressure group, the so-called National Center for Science and Education (NCSE), regularly advises subscribers to its journal on how to defeat local creationist initiatives. Its chief spokesperson, Dr Eugenie Scott, has lately been urging her constituency to promote the idea that evolution is not ‘anti-God’ or ‘anti-religion’.
A self-confessed atheist and winner of humanist awards, Scott’s advice is openly politico-strategic. Since, she reasons, most Americans are ‘religious’, and believe in God, convince them that evolution and religion can co-exist, and they won’t support creationist efforts. To the staunchly anti-God1 propagandists of evolution, compromising Christians are, in Lenin’s phrase, ‘useful idiots’ who have missed the real meaning of evolution.2
When someone asks if God could have used evolution, the answer really depends upon what they mean by ‘God’. If we are not talking about the God of the Bible, but about some abstract idea of an all-powerful being, ‘god’ can, by definition, do anything at all, including creating through apparent chance. Genetic errors, filtered by whatever environment happened to be there, might only seem to be random. (Of course, as the parable about the horse and tractor on page 53 highlights), if chance really were capable of creating this amazingly complex world, it would make the ‘god postulate’ unnecessary, even foolish.)
Most notions of ‘god’ are mental constructs, designed to fit what one would like to believe. Since invented deities are limited only by imagination, why couldn’t he/she/it (maybe a three-horned cosmic cow?) have ‘used evolution’? But the Christian God is not ‘any old god’, He is the one, true, living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is the triune God, both infinite and personal; the ‘I am that I am’ (Exodus 3:14), and the Word made flesh (John 1:14). And He has chosen to reveal much about Himself in His Word, the Bible. See also the Q&A sections on God, Jesus Christ, the Bible and Genesis.
So while imaginary ‘gods’ could do anything, the true God cannot lie—nor deceive us about origins. He tells us, via a specific historical account, of His creation of a good world, in six earth-rotation days—ruined by sin, and still to be restored to a sinless, deathless condition. It is hard to imagine anything more antagonistic to the story of long ages of death and suffering before man. Yet this long-ages story is, sadly, promoted by many otherwise sound evangelical leaders who simultaneously display their ‘anti-evolution’ credentials.
So could God have used evolution? It depends. For the true God, the answer is no—for He cannot lie, and He told us plainly what He did.
So is evolution ‘anti-religion’?
Here again, it depends. Most ‘religions’, including liberal distortions of Christianity, are man-made concepts. Most are either compatible with, or flow from, evolutionary notions. They concern man’s imaginings about how to reach/please ‘god’.
But the Gospel is about God reaching down to an utterly lost humanity. God the Son became the obedient ‘last Adam’ (1 Corinthians 15:45), shedding His blood in death, so overcoming the Curse of death and bloodshed introduced by the disobedience of the first Adam. Undermine Genesis, and thus biblical authority, and the only thing left is ‘religion’ — an empty, lifeless shell. So evolution is not inherently ‘anti-religion’, but it most certainly is opposed to biblical Christianity.
Eugenie Scott and cohorts currently expend much energy on political struggles against all shades of ‘creationism’ — including ‘intelligent design’ long-agers, progressive creationists, and the like. On such battlegrounds, she has a chance of selling her ‘evolution won’t mess with your religion’ message. For the vaguely god-believing, it’s probably true. Meanwhile, [Creation Ministries International] invites your help to keep moving ahead on the real spiritual battlefield—the true Gospel vs all man-made religion, including evolution’s neo-pagan claims to usurp God’s glory in creation.
- Batten, D., Who’s who of evolutionists, Creation 20(1):32, 1997. Return to text.
- Wieland, C., Darwin’s Real Message: have you missed it? Creation 14(4):16–19, 1992. Return to text.