Who is the god of evolution—and can he be trusted?
Was life created fully formed? Or did it evolve gradually by mutation and natural selection over millions of years? Why should anyone care? Often I hear people say that whichever way it happened, they still believe in God—though just not the God of a literal biblical Genesis.
But what sort of god could this god of evolution be? Does he qualify at all as the God of the Bible? Does he even qualify as a loving god, or as a source of power great enough to offer hope to mankind?
If the hypothetical god of evolution is all-powerful, then he has chosen evolution as his method of creation. He set the universe in motion and then sat back to watch while time, chance and survival of the fittest took their course.
Yet why would an all-powerful god have chosen to use a process which results mostly in genetic shipwrecks? Why would an omnipotent god choose to create by allowing the results of chance to come up against the hard wall of environment, either to survive or to be ruthlessly eliminated? Unless there is a reason to create in such a way, we might justifiably conclude that the omnipotent god of evolution doesn’t care about individuals. He seems only to care about the overall trend of his experiment—the continuation of life itself.
What reason, then, can we imagine for evolution as God’s chosen method of creation? Could such a tortuous process possibly be construed as part of God’s plan to bring humanity to Himself by allowing it to suffer? Punishment without prior evidence of love reaps resentment and distrust; a condition of suffering imposed upon man before he even became man speaks of a merely punitive God. If evolution has always been God’s method of creation, then where is love? The hypothetical omnipotent god of evolution has been a god of suffering and death from the very beginning—as a matter of choice. He never has created a world without suffering and death. And since there is no reason to believe that this bothers him, it is difficult to believe that he will ever have a change of heart.
Not a bad guy
What about the possibility, then, that the god of evolution is not omnipotent—not all-powerful? Perhaps he is not really a bad guy, but rather a limited god who simply can’t work miracles (or at least not miracles on the order of an instantaneously perfect creation without suffering or death). Perhaps he did the best he could to set up a process that, painful though it is, will eventually perfect itself. Maybe that is what the Bible means by Heaven.
On the other hand, what about all of us who don’t make it to that point of ‘perfection’ in evolutionary history? Is there any hope for us? Reincarnation, perhaps? Personally, I wouldn’t count on that from a god who can’t make anything except by allowing it to change. In any case, human nature isn’t showing signs of improvement by genetic change.
However, there is the notion, not without popular support, that now it is up to us as highly advanced beings to communicate with this god and to evolve in obedience to His will. Maybe if we all trusted in the Lord, then He would enlighten us and fill us with His love and there would be peace on earth.
On the other hand, even in the very unlikely event that all of humanity were to freely decide to turn to the god of evolution, how could we trust in him? Could we have any real hope for life after death? The god of evolution could hardly be counted on to create an unevolved Heaven.
And with no hope for Heaven, what reason would we have to be self-sacrificing? Sacrifice to the point of being willing to give one’s life or even to compromise that quality of one’s life for the sake of a cause requires a cause that is bigger than life itself. But if this life is all there is, then selfishness will never go away, and peace on earth will never come. And if the god of evolution is the real God, then life on earth, with all its joys and sorrows and ultimate hopelessness, is all there is.
Furthermore, this god of evolution seems not to have spoken to humanity honestly. If he has spoken through the Bible, then he has been misleading, to say the least, on the subject of his own nature. For the God of the Bible is omnipotent and loving and intentional, whether or not Genesis is accepted literally.
What reason can we think of for loving or worshipping the god of evolution? He is either uncaring in his chosen method of creation, or limited in power. Where then is our hope?
The Bible says…
The biblical point of view stands in stark contrast to the evolutionary point of view. Yes, we do see mutations, sickness, death, injustice and suffering of all kinds. But it is not because our Creator-God is cruel or not powerful enough to do anything about it. According to the Bible, God created a perfect universe. But He also wanted humans, who were created in His own image, to respond to His wonderful grace and love in creating them in the first place, by the loving response of obedience.
But mankind was able to disobey God. Otherwise people would be as machines which function according to natural laws, just like the animals and the rest of God’s creation. But as free beings, people could make mistakes and learn by them. While we are not evolving genetically or becoming more perfect collectively, we are capable of personal growth, and that seems to be the whole point of life as created beings.
According to the Bible, the first man and woman stepped outside the will of God. In response, God stepped away to allow them to experience life on their own. But without the source of life itself, suffering and death entered the world along with sin.
Life as a whole goes on, but individually we die, and collectively, through a gradual loss of genetic perfection, life is losing its original perfect design. This is the direct opposite of the
theory of evolution, which claims that life has been becoming increasingly complex and, as some wish to believe, is heading towards perfection.
Humanity suffers. And innocent humanity suffers as well. Is the God of the Bible cruel? Why does He allow it if He is so powerful? Why not stop the earth from quaking? Why not end disease? Why not stop evil from hurting the innocent? Why not make a perfect world right now?
If He did, then we would be forced to believe in His obvious power and love. And His justice. We would have no reason to reach out to Him without the need of faith. We would have no opportunity to grow in love. And what could be the reason for human life, if not to test the human spirit?
But the Bible says that God is omnipotent; He is all-powerful. He is a God of love. He performs miracles, and He speaks to us through His Word. We have reason to love this God. We have reason to trust and to worship this God. And above all, we have a reason to hope. ‘For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse’ (Romans 1:20).
Pamela McCall, B.A., received her B.A. in human biology from Stanford University. She has worked as a lab technician, and has studied music composing and arranging. She is currently teaching piano and music theory in California. Return to top.