Sunday, January 30, 2011

Evolution versus the Story of Creation

     For years, there has been a debate of whether or not God created man...or if we evolved from Apes.  Now please understand that I am a believer in God.  I believe that he created the heavens and earth and that he also created all that lives on this planet.  However, I am also an anthropologist and I can't deny the facts that come from finding AL 288-1 or Lucy in Ethiopia.  She is considered a hominid, from the Ape family, with facial features that are the same as a chimpanzee.  Now the argument is that the bible...(written by a variety of people over a period of time in many different languages and translated many different times again by a new variety of people) claims that God created Adam in his own image...My question...what is God's image?  Do I believe in God?  Yes with all my being!  Do I question his existence?  No, never.  Do I believe that God looks like an old man with a white beard?  Not necessarily.  We don't know what God looks like.  We only have what we are told.  Or what we choose to believe. 
     I took my class of 4 and 5 year old to the Museum of Nature and Science here in Denver.  There was a hominid exhibit in the same area as the Whoolly Mammoth and the Dinosaurs.  A gentleman from the museum was talking to the kids about the different fossils they had uncovered, and how some of these dinosaurs have evolved over time in order to survive their new environments as it changed.  A parent to be that was on the trip with us (a nanny for one of my students) was annoyed at the concept that the children were being taught about evolution.  Yet, she didn't deny that some animals have evolved.  Why is it that we as humans can't have both?  Why can't we see the possibility that God created us a differently based on the environment and the circumstances, and we evolved to what we are today?  Do I believe we once had tails and walked on our knuckles?  Not necessarily.  When it comes to science I like to deal with the facts that are provided to me.  I'm not an expert by any means on either of these subjects...But I can we believe that some animals evolved, but that humans did not and do not and could not evolve.  During our field trip to the museum we also saw a show at the planetarium.  It was called "Journey to the Stars"  The narrator discussed that in 5 billion years the sun will turn into a red giant and die (like many other stars)  the narrator also said that 5 billion years "well after humans have died or evolved in ways that we can't even imagine." 
     So which is it?  Perhaps scientists will uncover more evidence of past hominids that fill in the missing link between apes and humans without a reasonable doubt.  Perhaps they wont, perhaps we have to wait until we move on from this world to know the truth.  My question is...What do you believe?  Can you believe in both evolution and the creation story?  Can you believe in evolution but only in specific cases?  Any thoughts?

Remember...Just living is not enough, one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower!

1 comment:

  1. I think that both views are reconcilable. Evolution is a paradigm established through theoretical models based on physical data. Evolutionary theory changes with every decade. Scholars are still not sure about how it works. Take, for example, the recent findings that showed the Neanderthal DNA can be found in several groups of modern humans, leading scientists to wonder: did Neanderthal's become us? Or, rather, did they breed with Homo Sapiens and thus were 'bred' out? Still, the compatibility of Neanderthal and human, I think, surprised many. The story of creation, as put down in the Torah's Genesis is just that a story. It was never meant to be a scientific model. That isn't the point of any of the authors of the Bible. Scripture is meant to direct humanity toward God's will, and so it acknowledges God's power, but those early authors were not concerned with every minute detail of creation. There is a poetry to Genesis, and poetry, while beautiful, I think we can mostly agree is generally not blatant. It draws you in with simile and metaphor, it holds you with a mystery. That is Genesis. Mysterious, beautiful poetry, about an incredible event that we are only just beginning to scratch the surface of understanding.