Because evolution is a challenging subject, many Christians are tempted to simply ignore or reject it. Yet considering evolutionary creation has important benefits for Christians both in our relationship with the Creator, and with our relationships with other people—believers and non-Christians alike. First, Christians should study evolution because (like all the natural sciences) it is the study of God’s creation. Creation itself is a complementary revelation to what is communicated in the Scriptures, and through it God shows how and when he brought about life, to his honor and glory. Studying the creation is also an invitation into a deeper understanding of the attributes and character of Father, Son and Spirit. Second, considering evolutionary creation aids the Church in its gospel mission, supporting young Christians in their faith, helping answer critics, and equipping us to engage effectively in the wider culture. An anti-evolution attitude can harm Christian young people by presenting them with a false choice between pursuing science OR holding to faith. Similarly, a hostile attitude towards evolution can hinder evangelism when seekers hear that they must reject science to follow Christ. On the other hand, studying evolution as a God-ordained process helps Christians refute arguments that science encourages an atheistic worldview. Furthermore, as the church engages front-page issues raised by the rapid growth in science, medicine, and technology, a Christ-centered voice in such areas as bioethics will be stronger if based on a thorough understanding of the natural sciences, including evolution.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind…” Luke 10:27
Evolution is a challenging subject to consider in light of biblical faith, so it is often easier to ignore or reject it than to engage in meaningful discussion about the topic. Yet considering evolutionary creation has important benefits for Christians both in our relationship with the Creator, and in our relationships with other people—both believers and non-believers.
First, Christians should study evolution because, like all the natural sciences, it is the study of God’s creation. Creation itself is a complementary revelation to what God has communicated through Scripture, and through the created order God shows how and when he brought about the life we see today—to his honor and glory. The regular patterns in nature that we call natural laws have their foundation in the regular, faithful governance of God. Thus we believe that God created every species and did it in such a way that we can describe the creation process scientifically. The scientific model of evolution does not replace God as creator any more than the law of gravity replaces God as ruler of the planets.
Second, considering evolutionary creation aids the church in its gospel mission, including discipling young Christians in their faith. An anti-evolution attitude can harm Christian young people by presenting them with a false choice between pursuing science or holding to faith. One recent survey showed that a key factor in the evangelical church’s loss of credibility among young people is its assertion of anti-evolutionary creation models that contradict virtually all of the evidence we find in nature. Similarly, a hostile attitude towards evolution can hinder evangelism if seekers hear that they must reject evolutionary science before they can follow Christ. On the other hand, studying evolution as a God-ordained process helps Christians refute the argument that science leads to an atheistic worldview. By showing that the science of evolution is a description of God’s processes and not a worldview in and of itself, Christians can expose atheism as secular philosophy and not part of science.
Because today’s culture is saturated with science and technology—from the latest communication gadgets to new biomedical advances to discoveries of fundamental particles—engaging culture means engaging science. Since evolutionary science is integral to modern biology, the church must grapple with the evidence and implications of evolution in order to be an effective witness in the public square. Informed Christian voices are critical for leading bioethical discussions on issues such as stem cells and the use of DNA information in caring for the unborn, the aged, and the disabled. Today, evangelical Christians can show that we love God’s work in the created order by taking up full participation in cutting-edge research and advocating for science as a tool to protect rather than prey upon the helpless.
Science is a way of loving God with our minds. When we seek to understand the created order through science we bear witness to the Creator and glorify him through our work.