When it comes to evolution, it’s not either/or

This is old news, but I just stumbled upon it. The good folks at Pew are always stirring it up, religiously speaking. Here’s a survey from last year, which wanted to determine the extent to which religious groups agreed that “evolution is the best explanation for the origins of human life.” Among us meek and mild mainline Protestants, a mere 51 percent agreed.

Even as someone who sees no conflict between Christian faith and evolution, I would answer this question “no.” I disagree with its premise, which is: “Either evolution or God explains how we human beings got here. Which is it?” The question reinforces a false, post-Enlightenment dichotomy between science and faith. It’s not either/or; it’s both/and.

God is not one agent among others on the plane of cause and effect on which we live, such that the more evolution “does,” the less God does. God’s engagement with the world is not in competition with natural processes. A transcendent God is above cause-and-effect. In other words, we shouldn’t expect to see God’s fingerprints in Creation in order to strongly affirm that this world was created by God.

When I’m in the office, I’ll find the United Methodist Church’s statement on faith and science, which puts it quite nicely.

Leave a Reply