And God created Darwin

There are people that I have met, that think that God does not exist, because the evolution theory is in contrast with the Bible. There are people that say:
I do not believe in God, I believe in the evolution theory.
As a scientist (although not a biologist) and a Christian, I would like to discuss here my ideas about evolution and/or creation.

What is it about?

In the Bible, the story of the creation of the earth is described as follows. There are six days of creation, and the seventh day God rested from his work of creation - still reflected in our seven-day week and the celebration of sunday.

I give below the description as given in the first book of the Bible, Genesis, in chapter 1, verses 20 to 27. (I chose the old King James translation here; there are other translations with more modern language of which several also can be found on the Internet. I hope to add a link.)

And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl (: bird) after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitfull, and multiply, and fill the waters in seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind, and it was so.

And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

The Evolution Theory, first described by Darwin, seems to give a different explanation of how the different species came into being. This scientific theory basically states that due to changes in the genes, sometimes children will be born of a couple of animals that are different in some aspect from their parents. Such changes are caused by coincidence, and while in several cases, they will cause a miscarriage, sometimes they will cause a change that is possibly benificial for the animal. Animals for which the genes caused a change that is benificial have a better chance of surviving, hence on the long run these kinds of animals will dominate. For instance, when there are many trees with leaves high up in the tree, animals whose genes tell to have a longer neck will have a better chance of survival, and in some zillions of years or so, short-necked animals may have evolved into giraffes.

So, it seems that while the biblical view is that the species were formed as a result of the creation of them by God, the evolutionist view is that the species were formed as the result of a randomized process combined with selection - and often this is seen as a process that gives an explanation of the formation of the species without involved of a god, often used as a cornerstone in atheist arguments. So, what is true?

I would like to argue here a few things. One of them is that evolution theory does not necesarily contradict the existence of God - in fact, there are many Christians that do also believe in evolution. In the end, I am unasking the question posed here, replacing it by a different one.


Scientists have placed questionmarks to the creationist view. The biblical story seems hard to believe, and they come up with scientific arguments why it is incorrect. But similar questions can be placed to the evolution theory. It still is not a complete theory, explaining everything there is, with holes and `missing links', even after its many years of existence.

While this is not a scientifical argument, I find the idea that all these different kinds of animals and the humans with the very intricate systems in their and our bodies were just created by a process that mainly is based on chance is something hard to swallow. I sometimes compare the idea to finding a watch on the street, and claiming that this was just created by some molecules that happened to meet each other in some lucky random way. (That would imply that we could just act if it was ours, and not of somebody else. Creation also means that we just borrow this world from God, and should not act as if it was entirely ours, hence we should, for instance, be careful for preserving the species that God created.)

But I am not a biologist (or a theologist), and as a computer scientist, I can not totally judge the scientific value of all arguments given. A question however is: is it necessary to judge these arguments?

Guided evolution

As a teenager, I struggled with these questions, and found my answer to the matter then: an evolution guided by God.

Let me use a metaphore from computer science. There are so called evolutionary programs, or other programs that use in some way a process of random changes to solutions combined with a selection process of better solutions over others. Now, experiments show that these processes sometimes can come up with very good solutions for some problems. However, in some cases, the experiments do not give any good solutions at all. What is needed is that there is a programmer that makes the program, and someone that sets the parameters for the program in the right way.

In the process that is called evolution, similarly there may have been a Programmer. God may have been steering the process and may have caused that essential steps during the evolution went in the direction He planned. I found this idea, at the time, the most plausible. For one thing, I know God exists, and a theory about how the species came into existence that is without God contradicts already that fact, apart from the fact that the idea that all these animals and humans with their most intricate functioning are the result of a truely random process is hard to believe.

Some Christians may object to the idea of `evolution guided by God' by saying that it is in contradiction with the Bible. That depends on how literally one would take the verses in the Bible on creation. Elsewhere it is written that for God, one day is as thousand years. Additionally, we do not know for sure how long days have taken and whether the notion of day in the description of creation reflects literally the same notion as day as we know it.

In any case, I found the idea a liberation: there is no need to choose between science and God. Even if evolution theory is the right model of the genesis of the different species, that still does not mean that God does not exist. And the fact that there are different answers to the question than the two most prominently stated means that the question also loses importance.

Risking your soul for science?

I am not sure that my idea of an evolution guided by God is correct. Perhaps, the more orthodox Christian viewpoint of a creation that took place in a literal week is correct. But, while the question is interesting, it is not a really important question. Our lives won't be better if we know the answer; we will not be more healthier, happier, (or even richer). What is important, however, is that one should not let the question interfere with something that is of utmost importance: our relation with God and our fate in the life after this life.

The Christian faith tells us about God who loves us, and has loved us so much that Jesus died for us on the cross. If we accept that offer, the relation with God can be restored, and we can after our lives live for ever with Him. In contrast, the Christian faith also tells about `hell', and we should take care not to go there after our death. As I also wrote elsewhere, `hell' is not my most popular part of the Christian religion, but it is there. In addition, the Christian faith can also help to have a better life on earth.

I find it very sad that there are people that do not believe in God, with all consequences, just because of a dispute on something that is in the end not more than just a scientific matter. If God exists, then the question how animals and mankind were created is just a scientific question - of scientific interest, but not a matter of life and death. It is asking `how he did it', like wanting to know how a magician did his trick of getting a rabbit out of his hat. Whether God used evolution or a literal creation out of nothing, in all cases we may know that it was His plan to have us on this earth. He loves us and wants a relation with us. And that is infinitely more important than whether we know whether the evolution theory is true, or understand relativety theory, know the proof of Fermats theorem or whether Shakespeare really wrote all those plays himself.

What are we talking about?

One can in any case say that evolution theory does not form a proof of Gods existence. Neither do usually holes in that theory turn people into Christians. Creationists that would give mistaken arguments in favor of creationism however can put people on the wrong track, leading people away from God. If one should fight evolution theory, then the most important is to fight the (as I argued here: unnecessary) atheist parts of the theory. But too often it seems that Christians try to convince others that they are right, while it is much more important to have people know about their Creator. We should not score our point in a scientific debate, but save people from a life and afterlife without God. And remember, being a Christian means something more than just believing that God exists.


Besides the most well known viewpoints on the coming into being of the different species (`atheistic' evolution and creationism), there are others - there is no `dialectic' choice to be made between these two.

In fact, given this, the question loses its importance and one cannot and should not base ones religion or atheism just on the correctness or incorrectness of the scientific theory of evolution.

And, yes, God also created Darwin.

Written by Hans Bodlaender, July 1999. If you want to react, write to, or: Nedercamp 26, 3992 RP Houten, the Netherlands.

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