Happy Birthday, Dear Darwin

Today we celebrate the 200th birthday of a man who changed the world. When Charles Darwin proposed the idea of evolution, biology was changed forever, and modern science today would not be the same without the foundations laid out by him. Not everything was correct, of course, but not everything was incorrect either.

I am a Christian. I believe God made this world and that he should be worshiped as supreme Creator. Tradition has it, then, that I should be bashing Darwin with all my might and exorcise the apostate teaching of evolution. But I will do no such thing. The war between creationists and evolutionists is clearly self-defeating, and I don’t want to represent either side.

Darwin’s bicentenary should be the occasion where Christians realised that Darwin is not the Antichrist, and evolution is not an enemy of the state. 2009 could be the year when relations between science and religion finally thawed, after too many centuries of misunderstanding each other. I doesn’t matter who cast the first stone. Someone should be the first to let down, and it might as well be the Christians.

Am I saying that creation is untrue? No. Am I saying that evolution is untrue? No. But they can’t both be true, can they? Yes, this is the path I would like to explore. In our postmodern world, different vantage points for viewing the world don’t have to be contradictory. Creation is religion, not science. Evolution is science, not religion. The two operate in different domains, and neither should try to be what it is not. But both should admit that the other may have some valid points from another view. Neither can claim to present a completely accurate picture of all of reality.

There are still issues to deal with, of course. How old is the Earth (but does it really matter)? Was there a literal six-day creation week, as told in Genesis? If so, there are conflicts with palaeontology. If not, what does it mean for, i.e. the teaching of the Sabbath?

Others have made similar calls. In Brian McLaren’s The Story We Find Ourselves In, the sequel to A New Kind of Christian, he explores finding faith in God through the marvels of evolution (and creation). And this post on The Spectrum Blog gives some good starting points for further reading. I will try to follow some of these, if I can find the time.

The Gospel of God’s love does not have to be in conflict with evolution. And telling the world about that love is more important than fighting a seemingly endless war against a perceived threat. It’s time to bury the hatchet. Happy Birthday.

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3 responses to “Happy Birthday, Dear Darwin

  1. These questions will not go away.
    Do you think the adventist church is ready to debate creationism or is it like a fundamental doctrine?

  2. Michael Bo Jensen

    I abosolutely agree that Darwin is not antichrist. On the last page of the final edition of Origin of the Species he writes:Origin of Species, p. 474. Conclusions:

    There is grandeur in this view of life with its several powers, having originally been breathed by the Creator, into a few forms or into one; and that; while this planet has gone on circling according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning, endless forms most beautiful and wonderful have been and are, being evolved.”
    http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/title/959
    Michael

  3. Hey world traveller, you’ve been tagged! 🙂

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