Evolution

13 Jun

Some of you are aware that I am studying Environmental Science.  We’ve recently been looking at biodiversity, which has taken us down the evolution route. In biology, evolution is the change in the inherited traits of a population from generation to generation. These traits are the expression of genes that are copied and passed on to offspring during reproduction. Mutations, and other random changes in these genes, can produce new or altered traits, resulting in heritable differences (genetic variation) between organisms. New traits can also come from transfer of genes between populations, as in migration or horizontal gene transfer. Evolution occurs when these heritable differences become more common or rare in a population, either nonrandomly through natural selection or randomly through genetic drift.

What do you make of evolution?

Do you think God is in it, or do you think science has it wrong? After all we’ve not witnessed anything evolve.

How do the dinosaurs come into God’s story?

Big questions I know, but I’d be interested in your thoughts.

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6 Responses to “Evolution”

  1. Jim June 13, 2007 at 16:42 #

    I think the whole Creationism/evolution argument is a red herring that takes much of the energy away from where it is important – following Christ and His teachings – and wastes it, creating a bunch of ill will in the process. Every time creationists win election to the state school board in Kansas and want to teach creationism in public schools, they’ve just turned off thousands upon thousands of people worldwide from ever hearing the Good News about Jesus.

    I read the Bible as divinely inspired truth. I believe it is the sole map necessary to find not just salvation, but communion and fellowship with God. However, I do not believe the Earth is only 6,000 or 4,000 years old. Jesus spoke in parables all the time – who’s to say the creation story at the beginning isn’t a parable? Especially since we’re told Christ was the Word that created everything. So maybe we’re just all part of one big parable Jesus is still telling (I like that idea, actually). There’s lots in the Bible that’s mysterious – our triune God leaps to mind. That’s OK. I don’t mind the mystery. Nothing says my tiny little brain would ever be able to hold the whole Truth that is God in it anyway.

    Here’s how I read the God-given truths in Genesis:

    o God created everything. The universe, the Earth, and everything on it.

    o That includes you, too.

    o God provided everything we need. He has a plan for the world, and a plan for us in it.

    o God is active in the world. He did not just create it and let it spin on from there.

    o God gave us free will because he wanted friends, not robots. He wanted to give and receive love, which can only come from choice.

    o With our free will, we created sin.

    o God wants us to reconcile with Him. He didn’t create us to then be angry with us, even as we continue to give him reasons to be (repeat this last point over and over again and you end up with the rest of the Bible).

    Me, personally? I believe evolution (which does not necessarily mean “survival of the fittest” – see Stephen Jay Gould’s writings for how it could actually be more along the lines of “survival of the luckiest”) is probably the mechanism that got the flora and fauna on Earth to the state is at now. That includes us. Doesn’t bother me to be “descended from a monkey”. Because if I believe God made everything (and I do), then I am a lot less worried about the how of it all – after all, He is God, He can do it however He wants to. To me, the real miracle in there is our intelligence and free will. I believe that is divine in origin, an outcome of God’s plan.

    People get hung up on weird points in and about the Bible, and then ignore other parts completely. Nobody I know who had cancer, heart disease or any other serious ailment would go see a “doctor” (shaman) from the time of the Old Testament – they would want the best modern medicine (read as, “science”) could provide. I don’t think people want to see a return to the Mosaic law system, either (shall we stone people for adultery?) Hence, people pick and choose which verses in the Bible they “believe” by showing which verses they’re willing to follow or fight over. And there are a lot of commands we ignore in the New Testament, let alone the Old, and I think those in the New Covenant are much more important. God commanded the world to BE, and it IS. We should leave it at that. Because God commanded us to be, too, and specifically He commanded us to be and do specific things, and we don’t. Isn’t that what’s more important? The world is doing what God commanded it to do. Perhaps we should worry less about it and more about doing what God commanded us to do. Dunno if that makes sense or not.

    “We are stardust
    Billion year old carbon
    We are golden
    Caught in the devil’s bargain
    And we’ve got to get ourselves
    Back to the garden”
    – Joni Mitchell, “Woodstock”

  2. Erin June 13, 2007 at 17:21 #

    Big question. The short version: God created everything, but we’re crazy if we think we could every understand HOW He created. I think evolution could be the process by which God created, but I don’t know that for sure and I don’t think it really matters. It simply distracts us from the real issues, like poverty and slavery.

  3. lynhallewell June 14, 2007 at 20:34 #

    Jim, Erin, thank you for your views. I agree with you both. God did create everything, I don’t want to know how he created. I am in total awe of his creation, and sometimes when I’m feeling down or what have you, I see something, like a butterfly, and I think wow! How awesome is our God. I just like to hear peoples thoughts on things like this now and then! You are right, the real issues are the things we should be focusing on.

  4. Dave June 15, 2007 at 06:53 #

    i agree with you all, and also follow what Jesus and the apostles said about creation v evolution…now where is that lost letter of Pauls!

  5. Lawrence June 20, 2007 at 18:25 #

    hi, your thoughts are very appropriate to what i am working on right now, i am preparing a presentation to a youth group concerning the creation evolution debate. i myself am not decided on the issue, even though i am very put off by the tactics of some creationist institutions and their willingness to use deception to achieve their means. its certainly not promoting the love of christ, of that im sure. so im gonna put both views forward and list the valid criticisms of both. anyway, i agree with jim in that the whole thing is a bit of a red herring.

  6. lynhallewell June 20, 2007 at 19:15 #

    Thanks for commenting Lawrence – you are right, some creationist institutions do have bad tactics. I hope your presentation goes well.

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